Sun Devils Hand Stanford First Loss
Jan. 2, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Jeff Pendergraph scored 21 of his career-high 31 points in the first half and No. 17 Arizona State handed Stanford its first loss of the season, 90-60 on Friday night in the Pac-10 opener for both teams.
Pendergraph's strong play inside helped the Sun Devils (12-1) overcome a scoreless first half by Pac-10 scoring leader James Harden and extend the best start for the school since going 15-1 in 1974-75.
Harden, who came into the game averaging 23.7 points, missed his first five shots but ended up with 17 points to go with a career-high tying 10 assists.
The Cardinal (10-1) came into the game as one of six unbeaten teams remaining in Division I, but their soft nonconference schedule raised questions as to whether undefeated or untested was a better description for Stanford heading into the Pac-10 season. Arizona State answered that question quickly.
Facing their first ranked opponent of the season, the Cardinal couldn't handle the step up in competition and suffered their most lopsided loss ever in the series and biggest Pac-10 loss since a 90-58 defeat to Arizona in 1998.
That leaves No. 1 North Carolina, No. 3 Pittsburgh, No. 6 Wake Forest, No. 20 Clemson and Illinois State as the only undefeated teams in the country.
Lacking a dominant post presence following the decision by the Lopez twins to leave school early and enter the NBA draft last year, Stanford and had no answer inside for Pendergraph and lost for the first time under new coach Johnny Dawkins.
Pendergraph scored the first basket of the game and didn't slow down the rest of the half. In one stretch, he scored all 13 points for Arizona State during a 13-4 run. He got two dunks off nice feeds from Harden, who played in a distributor role, and also had an impressive alley-oop from Derek Glasser to give the Sun Devils a 34-18 lead late in the first half.
The Sun Devils led 43-30 at the half, shooting 60 percent while holding the Cardinal to just 38.7 percent from the filed and 1-of-11 from 3-point range. The deficit didn't get below double-figures the rest of the way.
Glasser scored 13 points for the Sun Devils, who have won eight straight since an early season loss to Baylor. Pendergraph added 11 rebounds and finished 14-for-19 from the field.
Arizona State won for just the second time in its last 11 trips to Maples Pavilion and has now won two straight overall in the series after losing 18 of 20 to the Cardinal.
Lawrence Hill led Stanford with 14 points. The Cardinal shot just 37.5 percent for the game, including 2-for-18 from 3-point range.