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Evan Gordon, Sun Devils win big to move to 6-1

December 03, 2012

The Sun Devils scored 27 points in the first half against Arkansas-Pine Bluff Wednesday night. Saturday night they surpassed that with 7:22 to go in the first period.

Shot after shot rained in for Arizona State against Sacramento State at Wells Fargo Arena, who also came into Saturday's tilt with ASU sharing a 5-1 record. The Hornets could not keep up with the Devils, though, who improved to 6-1 on the season with their 90-70 victory.

ASU's 90 points scored ranks tied for 6th-most under Coach Sendek. The most an ASU team has put up under his leadership is 104 against San Francisco on Nov. 20, 2009. The Sun Devils had a record first half, too, scoring 46 total points, 7th-best all time for ASU during the Coach Sendek era. ASU led 46-30 going into the locker room. In 201 contests, this marks the ninth time one of Coach Sendek's teams scored at least 46 points at the half. Last season the Sun Devils averaged 27.1 points in the first half, while this year they currently average 37.0, a significant improvement.

The scoring began quickly as senior Carrick Felix hit a three-pointer on the first Sun Devil possession, followed by another three on the next possession by Evan Gordon. Gordon was just getting started. Jonathan Gilling then made the squad 3-3 to start the game, hitting a turnaround fade-away from the elbow to begin the game on an 8-0 run.

Gordon, who struggled shooting in his first handful of games as a Sun Devil, hit his first three shots and ended the first half with 14 points, leading all scorers. He went 6-6 from the free throw line to go along with his 2-4 shooting from behind the arc in the period.

Gilling, who entered the game tied for second in the league with 35.7 minutes played per game, came out wearing a knee brace due to swelling after he banged it in practice Friday. It provided no source of harm, though, as he still played 28 minutes before being subbed out once the win was already in tact.

Sacramento State pulled the first half lead to within four points with just under eight minutes to go, but that was as close as they would come, as Gilling and Carson hit back-to-back three-pointers to re-extend the lead to ten. Carson's three came from about three feet behind the arc.

The first half didn't go so well for Sacramento State, and likewise for their head coach, Brian Katz. Katz received a technical foul after arguing a charging call on his player, which led to a Gordon free throw and the official timeout under four minutes. Coming out of the timeout, though, Katz was hit with another technical for arguing, ejecting him from the game with his team down. Gordon once again cashed in and hit the ensuing two free throws bringing the lead to 41-26.

An unexpected bright spot for the Sun Devils came in the form of freshman center Eric Jacobsen, whose hustle and ability to do the dirty work paid off in the first half. Jacobsen finished the half with four points, six rebounds and a block in eight minutes of action.

ASU shot 48 percent from the field (14-29) in the first half to Sacramento State's 34 percent (10-29). ASU also got to the free throw line an astounding 20 times in the first 20 minutes, making 13 of them.

The second half got off to a quick start as the Devils came out running, leading to two layups by Felix. Gordon's shooting hand also stayed hot, hitting his third and fourth three-pointers on his first two attempts of the half, but Sacramento State continued to grind, hitting a variety of shots to pull within ten at 60-50 with 13:29 to play. However, ASU once again countered, as Carson and Gordon combined for back-to-back three's, extending the lead to 16.

The game was all but wrapped up when Chris Colvin found a streaking Felix down court in transition, a perfect pass which led to a powerful slam by Felix, extending the lead to 21 points at 80-59 with 6:10 to play. If that wasn't the wrap, then the point guard Colvin's put-back slam dunk shortly after probably was, sending fans headed toward the exits.

Evan Gordon's 29 points on 8-16 shooting are the most he has ever scored in a college game, boosted by his five made three-pointers. He tallied eight games of at least 20 points at Liberty in two seasons, his previous high coming twice as he scored 26 points against Coastal Carolina and Winthrop.

ASU completed the game shooting 48 percent (31-64), while Sacramento State finished at 40 percent (24-60). The Sun Devils had 30 points in the paint, 21 points off nine turnovers, and 15 offensive rebounds.