Blistering Bears' Offense Downs Devils

In recent games Arizona State displayed a sharp shooting offense. Tonight in Berkeley they had the misfortune of being on the other side of the fence. California, led by Jerome Randle's 26 points and ten assists upset the No.17 Sun Devils 81-71 and shot 58 percent from the field.

Unlike the game against Stanford on Friday, James Harden scored early and often and following a three-point play gave Arizona State (12-2, 1-1 Pac-10) a 10-7 lead at the 16:31 mark of the first half. California (13-2, 2-0) mounted a 16-0 run to give the hosts a 29-17 edge with 9:32 left in the half.

Some of that run was done with James Pendergraph on the bench. The ASU senior didn't practice on Saturday with a sore left heel suffered in Friday's victory, and sprained his right knee tonight against the Bears playing just ten minutes in the first half.

Nonetheless, Rihards Kuksiks scored eight points in the last seven minutes, as the visitors enjoyed a 20-8 run to tie the game at 37 apiece at the half. The sophomore beat the shot clock with two seconds left on the game to clock to tie the score.

Pendergraph returned to the game in the second half, and scored 12 points in this stanza. However, the Bears captured the lead back after just three and half minutes, and had a 47-45 advantage. The Bears missed just six field goal attempts in the first 16 minutes of the second half, but ASU hung in there trailing just 69-97 with 4:23 to go.

The play that may have sealed the contest's fate occurred with 2:13 left in the game, when Randle completed a four-point play after being fouled by Ty Abbott on a successful three-point attempt. That gave Cal a 75-69 lead and that margin just continued to increase from there until the final buzzer.

The loss snapped ASU's four-game winning streak in Haas Pavilion, as the Sun Devils split their first road series of the 2009 Pac-10 season. Harden had 26 points and eight rebounds to lead his team, but was just 9-22 from the field. Pendergraph and Kuksiks had 16 apiece.

ASU had a 29-25 advantage on the glass, but couldn't contain the torrid shooting hosts who were 9-17 beyond the arc.

The maroon and gold will begin their first two-game Pac-10 home stand this week when they host Oregon State on Thursday at 8:30 pm MT.

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