Harden's 40 Points Pushes Sun Devils Past UTEP
Nov. 30, 2008
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)--From the outside and from the inside, James Harden took control for No. 14 Arizona State.
Harden scored a tournament-record and career-high 40 points to lead Arizona State's 88-58 rout of Texas El Paso in the third-place game of the 76 Classic on Sunday night.
Harden made 14 of 25 shots, six of seven from 3-point range, and added eight rebounds and four assists for the Sun Devils (5-1).
'James had a remarkable game,' Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. 'It was mesmerizing to watch.'
Harden surpassed the tournament's single-game scoring record for the second consecutive game; he amassed 32 points against Baylor on Friday night. The sophomore also set a record for most tournament points, 87, and attributed his success to his team's defense.
'We had to maintain (focus) on the defensive end because I'm going to get my buckets in transition,' Harden said. 'That was the most important thing. My teammates did a wonderful job of getting the pass on target.'
Randy Culpepper scored 24 points for the Miners (3-3), who shot a season-low 30.2 percent. Stefon Jackson added 13 points. Culpepper scored 14 points in the first 5:16 to lead Texas El Paso to an 18-11 lead. But Arizona State responded with a 13-0 spree to move ahead 24-18 with 11:01 left in the first half.
The Miners made only one basket and three free throws in a span of 7:30.
Harden then scored 14 points in 3:35 to extend the Sun Devils' advantage to 41-27 with 6:10 left before halftime. The sophomore made seven of 11 shots, including all four from 3-point range, to score 19 points in the first half.
'It was an ugly game,' Miners coach Tony Barbee said. 'Our transition defense killed us. We didn't identify the shooters early and we gave up way too many easy buckets.'
In the second half, Texas El Paso scored only six points on free throws in a span of 10:55.
Arizona State made a season-high 13 shots from 3-point range.