Devils impressive in season opener

Albeit versus an inferior opponent, it was hard not to come away delighted from ASU's 87-35 win over Western Illinois. This 52-point victory, in front of 8,992 in attendance at Wells Fargo Arena, is the highest one for the Sun Devils in the Herb Sendek era and the largest margin of any win since the 1996-97 season.

"I was really pleased with our energy and effort tonight," said Arizona State Head Coach Herb Sendek. "Our guys dove on the floor for loose balls, drew charges, they scrambled, they tried to cover for each other and I very much liked the energy and the effort.

"That was a good way to start the season."

The Sun Devils (1-0) had four players in double figures, with Jamelle McMillan (4-5 from beyond the arc) and freshman Demetrius Walker leading the way with 12 points each. Derek Glasser and Rihards Kuksiks each had 10.

More importantly, the veterans were able to rest for long stretches (Glasser logged the most paying time with 24 minutes), while freshmen such as Walker, Ruslan Pateev and Trent Lockett each played 18 or more minutes.

Glasser, who averaged 33 minutes a game last season, joked that it felt as if he had the night off on Friday. "That's the least (minutes) since my freshman year," he said. "I don't have a problem playing as many minutes as long as we win."

Back to back three pointers by McMillan gave the hosts a 15-2 lead at the 15:01 mark of the first half. After inserting three freshmen in the lineup, ASU scored just one point in five minutes. Kuksiks was interested back in the game and his six straight points put the Sun Devils on top 24-8 with just over nine minutes left in the half, and along with Glasser's 10 points helped ASU go down to the locker room with a 39-15 advantage.

In the second stanza, McMillan continued his barrage of three pointers, and Walker scored all of his 12 points in the last 14 plus minutes of the game. All in all 11 players saw playing time for ASU as they cruised for their first victory of the 2009-10 season.

The Leathernecks were led by Matt Lander who paced all players on the floor with 14 points.

The maroon and gold's trademark suffocating zone defense held Western Illinois (0-1) to 23.1% shooting, and forced 18 turnovers. The Sun Devils shot 56 percent from the field, including 8 of 16 three pointers.

ASU had a 38-28 advantage on the boards, with Pateev and Eric Boateng each grabbing nine boards.

Surprisingly, Pateev took the most shots (seven) of any of his teammates.

Next for the Sun Devils is the NIT Season Tip-Off and home game against Texas State on Monday at 9:00 pm. The first half of that bracket will feature TCU and Cal State Northridge, with both game winners and game losers meeting each other the next night.


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