Devils humble Hornets

After two straight losses ASU was more than ready to bounce back from that short skid, and Delaware State proved to be the right opponent for the occasion. The Sun Devils dominated the Hornets on both ends of the floor en route to a 76-34 home victory in front of 5,977 at Wells Fargo Arena. This was the lowest ASU-opponent point total since the 1950-51 season.

"I thought our guys played good basketball today," said Head Coach Herb Sendek. "Especially considering exams started. Some of them like Jamelle (McMillan) and Ty (Abbott) came in with little to no sleep the last couple of days. I thought out guys played very unselfishly, especially in the first half.

"I thought our guys did a good job of concentrating. We don't want to read too much into the numbers. We were the better team and sometimes those numbers can be misleading. We did some good things, but they are still things we need to work on and improve, and this week in practice will be especially important to us.

Arizona State (7-3) put an absolute clinic in the first half. They limited Delaware State (4-4) to 12 points and 18.2 percent shooting, while pouring in 42 points and converting at a 55.6 percent clip. Derek Glasser was instrumental in that offensive onslaught as he had seven of his season-high nine assists (and only one turnover) during that period. The senior is now just six assists away from the all-time school record and also scored 14 points on the afternoon.

"Derek Glasser really controlled the game for us," Sendek commented. "I thought he had good presence and energy in everything he did. He really set the tone."

Victor Rudd had the breakout game many were hoping for. The true freshman had a career-high 15 points, in just 13 minutes, to pace the maroon and gold. He is the seventh different player on ASU to lead or tie for the highest scorer honors this year.

Rudd shot 3-4 from the three-point range and 6-7 overall from the field, displaying the scoring prowess that made Rudd a highly recruited player. Just like any freshman, especially in Rudd's case who wasn't able to practice, let along play, until just a few weeks ago, he has been experiencing the painful but natural learning curve.

"It is a transition," Sendek acknowledged. "And in Vic's case, he was on the sideline for the better part of three months. That has been one of our team's challenges early in the season, is just having some level of continuity in practice. You've had different players out for a variety of reasons.

"We played eight games in November, so we played a lot of early games here early in the season. Good practice time is important for us right now."

Aside from Glasser who played 30 minutes, no starter played more than 21 minutes, and six of ASU's bench players played ten minutes or more. Sendek admitted that establishing a rotation has been challenging thus far in the 2009-10 campaign because players have been ready at different levels.

"For example, Vic was cleared the afternoon of the San Francisco game (Nov. 20th)," Sendek explained. "Ty was coming back from his knee surgery and he can play tonight (the second game of the season) but we really can't use him more than 15 minutes.

"Aside from the availability of players in a given time period, I don't know that we have been a very consistent team yet. To help with a consistent rotation I think we need to better establish what we can expect from everybody. Early in the season, rather than have a consistent rotation, I've been more inclined to go with the hot hand than being a slave to a pre-determined rotation. Perhaps at some point that will change."

All of ASU's true freshmen played today, and players such as Rudd, Demetrius Walker and Trent Lockett were inserted into action early in the first half.

"The great thing about today is that we were able to get good minutes for all of our guys," Sendek stated, "and get some important feedback ready from them on tape. The level of detail on both ends of the floor that we will be able to underscore for them will ultimately be very helpful.

"You try to capitalize on opportunities, like today, as much as you can. During the context of any given game, your goal is to win that game."

The Sun Devils limited the visitors to overall 25 percent shooting, and out rebounded the Hornets 36-22. Eric Boateng had six boards to pace ASU. The maroon and gold had seven blocks today which is a season high (and more than any game last season), and Ruslan Pateev had three of those blocks. ASU converted 10-21 shots from beyond the arc and were 10 of 11 from the charity stripe.

Despite those impressive numbers, Sendek said that he wasn't even close to being content with the state of his team at this juncture of the season, as his squad has just three games left before Pac-10 season starts on December 31st.

"Completely uncomfortable," Sendek remarked considering the state of his team. "I don't mean that jokingly. I have a great edge. I have a very unsettled feeling. I have a sense of desperation that we have to get much better every minute of every day."


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