Harden, ASU keep Ducks Winless

Eugene, OR - The 24th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (17-5, 6-4) fought off an inspired effort to defeat the Oregon Ducks 66-57 at McArthur Court on Thursday night. The loss keeps the Ducks (6-16, 0-10) winless in Pac-10 conference play. Sophomore sensation James Harden led the Devils with 36 points on 11-21 shooting including 5 three pointers.

"He got in the zone early" said Oregon guard TaJuan Porter of James Harden. We had "nobody with the passion to stop him. Harden took over the game. Nobody stepped up to stop him."

Oregon played hard and with great energy and emotion to start the game and were competitive throughout the first half. The Ducks were aggressive defensively, using a variety of zone defenses against the Sun Devils. Oregon led 25-23 at the 3:44 mark of the first half but ASU closed with a 9-2 run to take a 32-27 lead at the break.

Harden led the Devils with 13 points in the first half, playing the entire 20 minutes. Veteran ASU center Jeff Pendergraf chipped in ten points. Both teams shot the ball well from the field but the Ducks were hurt at the foul line hitting only four of 10 attempts while ASU was 8-8 from the line in the first half.

The second half was a different story as ASU asserted themselves with an 8-0 run to start the half and take a 40-27 lead behind two three pointers from Harden. Oregon would score only five points in the opening 8 minutes of the second half.

However, the Ducks would respond later in the half with a 7-0 run to close to within 49-42. That's as close as they would get as ASU called a timeout and ran a play for Harden who scored on a driving layup and followed that up with yet another three to give the Devils breathing room at 54-42 with seven minutes left to play.

Harden, the Pac-10 leading scorer at 21.9 points per game, was clearly the best player on the floor and controlled the game even hitting a free throw while the Duck mascot was intentionally shaking the basket support. Harden finished with a game high 36 points, just four off his career high and pretty much sealed the game with three pointer with just under four minutes left giving ASU a 62-47 lead.

Oregon was led by Porter who scored 18 points on 6-14 from the floor, the only Duck to reach double figures. The Ducks shot 41.5% from the field and were outrebounded 27-21.

ASU coach Herb Sendek became the 5th active Pac-10 coach to reach 300 wins and the second youngest all-time at 45 years old. Florida coach Billy Donovan reached 300 wins at the age of 43.

ASU junior guard Derek Glasser was hurt with 1:33 to play and lay on the floor motionless for minutes before walking off the court with assistance from the ASU staff.

Oregon next plays Arizona at home on Saturday. The game is scheduled for a 12:30 start.

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