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Men's hoops starts fast and wins by 32, 91-59

November 28, 2007

By Matt Storey, ASU Media Relations

The ASU men's basketball team lit up the scoreboard Wednesday night, defeating Florida Gulf Coast 91-59 to improve to 4-1 on the season.

The Sun Devils' 91 points was their highest total since a 98-94 loss to USC on Jan. 15, 2005, and their 54 first-half points was the most since scoring 58 in the first half against USC on Feb. 13, 2003.

Combined with a 34-point win Monday over Cal Poly, this gave ASU its first back-to-back victories of 30 points or more since December 1990.

"I thought our team did a really good job, all in all," head coach Herb Sendek said. "We shot the ball well and continue to play very unselfishly. I thought it was a good win for us."

After getting out to a 19-2 lead Monday against Cal Poly, the Sun Devils had an even better start to this game. They hit their first five 3-point attempts and led 28-6 after just eight minutes of action.

Overall, they made nine 3-pointers in the first half and led by as many as 37 before taking a 28-point lead into the break.

"They were really ready to play at the beginning," Sendek said of his team. "I thought we came out as sharp as we have been all season offensively."

ASU then began the second half by making its first four 3-point attempts, and ending up making 14 total 3-pointers en route to the 32-point victory.

Freshmen guard James Harden led the Sun Devils in scoring for the third time in five games this season. He had 22 points on 8-9 shooting, including making his first two 3-pointers of the year.

"My teammates did a real good job of finding me tonight, and I had the confidence to knock it down," Harden said.

Three other Sun Devils scored in double figures, with sophomore guard Christian Polk and freshman guard Ty Abbott each scoring 15 while junior forward Jeff Pendergraph had 10. In all, ten different Sun Devils scored in the win.

"There are a lot more offensive weapons this year," Polk said. "We've got a lot better shooters, and I think we're real deep."

ASU's two point guards, sophomore Derek Glasser and freshman Jamelle McMillan, combined for 10 assists and just two turnovers.

"Those guys really had a good game tonight," Sendek said. "They really made their teammates better."

The Sun Devils held Florida Gulf Coast to just 38 percent field goal shooting and forced 24 turnovers, but the Eagles did make 13 3-pointers on the night.

"They didn't need a lot of time and space to get their shots," Sendek said of Florida Gulf Coast. "The one thing that we're disappointed in is we didn't guard the 3-point line as well as we needed to for 40 minutes."

ASU will next head to Nebraska for its first road game of the season Sunday.

"It will be a great test for us," Sendek said of that upcoming game. "It will be our first true road test of the year; for many of our guys, their first road game ever. So we have to look forward to that challenge on Sunday."