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Second half Sun Devil surge the difference vs. Coppin State


December 08, 2007

By Matt Storey, ASU Media Relations

Four Sun Devils scored in double figures to lead the ASU men's basketball team to its fourth consecutive home victory, a 60-43 win over Coppin State Saturday.

Forward Jeff Pendergraph scored 13 points, guard James Harden had 12 and guards Ty Abbott and Jerren Shipp added 11 each in the win.

The Sun Devils shot 55 percent in the second half to pull away from a pesky Eagles squad.

"They really challenge you with their changing zone defenses," head coach Herb Sendek said of Coppin State. "I thought in the first half we were really quick to settle for too many 3's. In the second half, I thought we did a better job of going inside."

Harden scored nine of his 12 points in the second half, and he led the Sun Devils with nine rebounds in the game.

Pendergraph added seven rebounds and three blocks, while Shipp, who scored eight second-half points, led the team with five assists in the victory.

The Sun Devils held Coppin State to 34 percent shooting, the fifth time in eight games this season they have kept their opponent under 40 percent from the field, but Pendergraph said he felt the team still has work to do on the defensive end.

"We just need to get more confidence on defense," Pendergraph said. "We've just got to totally buy into what Coach Sendek is trying to tell us, and get back to that defense that we had last year."

ASU out-rebounded the Eagles 30-24, but Sendek said he felt his team still needs to improve on the glass.

"We gave up 10 offensive rebounds out of 25 missed shots, so we have to do a better job in that area," he said.

The Sun Devils used an early 10-0 run to take a 13-3 lead, but Coppin State cut the lead to two with just under six minutes left in the first half.

However, ASU ended the half with seven unanswered points to take a 26-17 lead, as the Eagles did not score in the final 5:59 of the half.

Shipp's three-pointer to begin the second half extended the Sun Devils' run to ten straight points, and Coppin State never got closer than eight after that.

Harden's three-point play gave ASU a 15-point lead with just under eight minutes left, its biggest lead of the game at that point. The Eagles then went the final seven minutes of the game without making a field goal, as the Sun Devils won their sixth game in the last seven.

ASU will face No. 21 Xavier (7-1) next on Dec. 15 at Wells Fargo Arena.

"I think Xavier right now is playing as well as anyone in the country," Sendek said. "They not only are winning, but they're doing it in resounding fashion. It should be a great opportunity for the people in the Valley to see great college basketball."