Harden Leads Sun Devils to 80-53 Exhibition Victory Over Grand Canyon University

Nov. 3, 2007

Tempe, Ariz. - With freshman guard James Harden leading the way with 19 points, the ASU men's basketball team defeated Grand Canyon 80-53 in an exhibition contest Saturday.

'Today was really important for us, after three weeks of practice, to have a chance to take inventory against some outside competition,' head coach Herb Sendek said. 'What we'll do now is take this film and be able to give our guys some really valuable feedback.'

Harden, the first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out of high school in more than 20 years, was 4-6 from the field, including making his only two 3-point attempts.

He also led the team with nine rebounds, and he drew numerous fouls attacking the basket, as he shot 16 free throws in the game.

'James was very aggressive on offense, which is good for us.' Sendek said. 'He made a lot of things happen, not just for himself, but also I thought he really made some terrific passes to his teammates.'

Harden was one of three freshmen to start the game, as Ty Abbott and Jamelle McMillan joined him in the starting lineup.

Abbott and McMillan combined for 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and they had three steals each.

In total, the Sun Devils had 15 steals, with 11 coming in the second half, and they held the Antelopes to just 37 percent shooting from the field.

'I thought we were good at times on defense, but clearly nowhere near where we need to be,' Sendek said of his team's defensive performance. 'We're still learning our defense. It's something that we're going to have to grow with and learn as we go.'

Sophomore Christian Polk added eight points off the bench, as 11 different Sun Devils scored in the game.

'Guys were sharing the ball and playing well together,' McMillan said. 'Nobody had any long faces [or] selfishness, which is a great thing about this team. Everybody is just looking for a W in the end.'

Fellow sophomore Derek Glasser led the team with six assists, and junior Jeff Pendergraph had six rebounds and three steals.

ASU jumped out to an early lead at 11-5, but the Antelopes responded with a 19-5 run to take an eight-point lead. However, the Sun Devils took control with a 17-0 run to end the first half that gave them a nine-point lead at the break.

Their lead never slipped below eight points after that, as Grand Canyon made only seven of its 21 shots and turned the ball over 16 times in the second half.

The Sun Devils return to action Wednesday, when they will host Western New Mexico in another exhibition game at Wells Fargo Arena at 7 p.m.

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