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Hot shooting helps Sun Devils to 91-71 exhibition win over Western New Mexico University

November 07, 2007

Tempe, Ariz. - By Matt Storey, ASU Media Relations

ASU rolled to a 91-71 win over Western New Mexico in its second and final exhibition game Wednesday.

The Sun Devils shot 63 percent from the field in the win, including going 10-22 on their 3-point attempts.

"I think we have continued to make good progress on the offensive end," head coach Herb Sendek said. "Our guys are doing a pretty good job of picking up some of our concepts."

Freshman guard James Harden led the way with 21 points, finishing 9-11 from the field and making three of his four shots from outside the arc, and his eight rebounds led the team for the second straight game.

"He's a talented young man," Sendek said of Harden. "He's explosive. He's one of those guys who just has the ability to score. He does it in any number of ways."

Sophomore guard Christian Polk was a perfect 6-6 from the field, including two 3-pointers, to finish with 14 points off the bench, and senior guard Antwi Atuahene scored 13 points and shot 5-6 from the floor.

"We have a little more firepower," Sendek said. "We shot well today, but you can't become a team that just relies on your shooting. It's good to shoot well. You've got to be able to win different ways."

Junior forward Jeff Pendergraph had 10 points and six rebounds, while Atuahene, sophomore Derek Glasser and freshman Jamelle McMillan had four assists each.

Defensively, the Sun Devils had 13 steals and forced 19 Western New Mexico turnovers, but Sendek said the team still has work to do on that side of the ball.

"[I'm] very disappointed in our defensive effort, especially in the second half, tonight," he said. "So we're going to certainly have to seize every opportunity to get better before we head to Hawaii."

ASU jumped on the Mustangs quickly in this game, using an early 13-2 run to open up a 15-6 lead. The Sun Devils would lead by as many as 18 in the first half, and they held a 45-31 advantage at the break.

They then began the second half with a 10-0 run and stretched their lead to as many as 28 before finishing out a 20-point victory.

The Sun Devils will hit the court next in their regular season opener against Illinois Nov. 19 in the first round of the Maui Invitational. That game will tip at 9:30 p.m. Arizona time and can be seen on ESPN2.