Using a balanced attack and gathering points from players who usually do not score has become a reoccurring theme with Coach Herb Sendek's squad and the trend continued against the Wildcats.
"It is good, the last three games, to see greater balance with our team. Tonight we were three points short of having five guys in double figures, against SC I think we were a point short of having five guys in double figures and UCLA we actually did have five players in double figures and that's really good." Said Sendek.
"I think a lot of that is a function of James (Harden). Teams are doing a variety of things to attend to him very carefully and in his unselfish, playmaking way he is setting the table for his other players and tonight Jamelle (McMillan) in the first half, Rick (Kuksiks) down the stretch and Derek (Glasser) as we went into the locker room. We had a number of guys step up and make plays."
Not to be outdone by Harden, senior center Jeff Pendergraph played a whale of game recording sixteen points, twelve rebounds, and three blocks.
"I couldn't be prouder of Jeff. Once again he had a double double, played all forty minutes, stayed out of foul trouble and really was monumental in our effort tonight." Added Sendek.
Although the Sun Devils carried a ten point lead into halftime and led by as much as seventeen in the second half, the Wildcats wouldn't disappear quietly and slowly crept back into the game before taking a two point lead with four minutes to play.
"Nic Wise was penetrating and doing unbelievable things," Commented Harden. "Chase and guys like Fogg and Horne were knocking down big shots. They're a great team. They had a seven game winning streak for a reason."
Sendek remained tranquil and confident when talking about the seventeen-point lead that his team let slip away.
"Basketball in general is a game of runs," Remarked Sendek. "In the first half, we were able to take the lead because we were making shots. We went 10-16 from three in the first half. Then the tide turned and Arizona was making shots."
Arizona State regained the lead on a pair of three-pointers from Kuksiks and sealed the deal with two free throws from Pendergraph. It was the team's fifth straight win and their tenth win overall in conference play.
Up next for the Sun Devils is Pac-10 leading Washington in Seattle.
"(The Schedule) doesn't, it really doesn't (get any easier). The Pac 10 is really good. The nation and everyone needs to know that. It's really good. They're all good teams in our league."