Thursday, January 10, 2008

Arizona @ Arizona St

In what was really a very important game for an up-and-coming Sun Devil team, they trailed the vast majority of the game, by as much as 10 in the 2nd half, before coming back to tie the game at 55 with just over a minute remaining, getting into overtime, then getting some key plays by their freshman leader, James Harden, who wound up with an impressive 26 points in the Devils eventual 64-59 overtime win.

For a team that thinks it is a tournament caliber squad, this was an important game, not just because it was against the in-state rival, but because this was going to be ASU's best chance to get the Wildcat off its back: at home against a rival missing their freshman PG, Jarryd Bayless.

Harden was instrumental throughout the 2nd half, repeatedly driving to his left, getting in the lane and creating scoring opportunities. However, the Devils will certainly have to diversify their offense a bit as they move deeper into conference play. Big-man Jeff Pendergraph was rarely fed the ball in the post during the second half (which can partially be attributed to his foul troubles), Jeren Shipp was largely absent from the offense, and the Devils failed to get any serious scoring contributions from ancillary players.

Those are issues that will need to be addressed down the conference road, but in the meantime, a big win for Arizona State.

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