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November 4, 2007

ASU easily handles Grand Canyon in first exhibition

Arizona State used a 20-3 run at the end of the first half to turn a 24-16 deficit into a 36-27 lead at intermission, before putting together a dominant second half in its first exhibition game of the 2007-08 season, a 80-53 win over Division II Grand Canyon University at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday afternoon.

"Today was really important for us, after three weeks of practice, to have a chance to take inventory against some outside competition," Sun Devil coach Herb Sendek said. "What we'll do now is take this film and be able to give our guys some really valuable feedback."

All 11 scholarship players saw at least 10 minutes of action for the Sun Devils, which were led by freshman guard James Harden's 19 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes.

Harden went 4-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-2 from the 3-point line, but he seemingly made it to the free throw line at will, where he went 9-of-16.

All told, the Sun Devils converted on just 19-of-37 foul shot attempts.

"James was very aggressive on offense, which is good for us." Sendek said. "He made a lot of things happen, not just for himself, but also I thought he really made some terrific passes to his teammates."

ASU started three true freshmen in the backcourt, with Jamelle McMillan at the point guard spot, joined by Harden and Ty Abbott on the wing.

McMillan had two early 3-point shots and finished with eight points, four assists and three steals against two turnovers. Abbott went 3-of-10 from the field and 3-of-7 from the 3-point line to finish second on the team with nine points.

Derek Glasser had six assists against no turnovers in 18 minutes off the bench. All five of his points came at the foul line.

In the frontcourt, the Sun Devils started Jeff Pendergraph and Eric Boateng. The two combined to go 5-of-8 from the field but just 1-of-7 from the free throw line. Boateng had seven points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.

Defenively, the Sun Devils started in a zone defense, but abandoned it mid-way through the first half, as Grand Canyon's Rudy Bogan was shooting well from the 3-point line. Bogan finished with 16 points, including 4-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line to pace the visitors. Ty Morrison had eight points and 10 rebounds, but turned the ball over six times.

Once ASU went to its man-to-man defense it had much more success, and held the Antelopes to just 37 percent shooting from the field, including 7-of-21 in the second half.

Christian Polk had eight points off the bench for ASU, and Jerren Shipp had seven points.

ASU made 11-of-25 of its 3-point attempts, for 44 percent on the night.

The Sun Devils will play their second and final exhibition game on Wednesday against Western New Mexico at Wells Fargo Areana at 7 p.m.


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