Arizona St. Rolls Past Jackson St. 81-60

Dec. 4, 2008

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- James Harden had 22 points and eight rebounds as No. 19 Arizona State defeated Jackson State 81-60 on Thursday night.

Harden led the Sun Devils in scoring for the 31st time in 41 career games despite fouling out with 4:10 to play.

Jeff Pendergraph had 19 points and Rihards Kuksiks added 16 for the Sun Devils (6-1), off to their best start since they went 11-1 to open 2004-05.

Harden has scored 86 points in his last 68 minutes. He was 7-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Garrison Johnson scored 21 points and Grant Maxey added 15 for Jackson State (1-7), which visits Kansas on Saturday. The Tigers missed their first nine 3-point shots and finished 2-of-16 from beyond the arc.

The Sun Devils wasted little time taking command against the overmatched Tigers. ASU led 17-14 when Pendergraph scored to launch a 14-0 run, with Harden scoring the last eight points.

Harden hit a 3-pointer from the right wing, then converted a three-point play and made a jumper to put ASU ahead 31-14.

Down 16 at the half, Jackson State began to rally after Harden went to the bench with his fourth foul early in the second half.

The Tigers pulled within 11 points with 13:41 remaining. But Pendergraph dunked on an alley-oop pass from Derek Glasser, then blocked a shot at the other end, and the Sun Devils cruised from there, even with Harden on the bench for most of the second half because of the trouble.

Harden has been one of the nation's hotter players, earning Pac-10 player-of-the-week honors each of the last two weeks.

The sophomore had averaged 30 points and 8.3 rebounds in ASU's last four games -- three of them victories.

Harden is tough to stop when he penetrates, but lately he's been deadly from beyond the arc, hitting 14 of his last 18 3-point attempts.

After playing four of its first six games away from Wells Fargo Arena, Arizona State will spend the rest of the month in the Phoenix area. The Sun Devils host Nebraska on Sunday.

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