ASU Claims Key Win Over USC, 80-66

March 1, 2008

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona State overcame a career-best 37-point performance by O.J. Mayo and took a big step toward an NCAA tournament bid with a 80-66 victory over USC on Saturday.

James Harden, like Mayo a freshman, had 24 points and Jeff Pendergraph 21 to lead the Sun Devils (18-10, 8-8 Pac-10), who haven't been to the tournament since 2003 and were 2-16 in the conference a year ago.

Arizona State dominated the game at the foul line, going 34-of-39 to 10-of-11 for the Trojans, (18-10, 9-7) who missed a chance to move ahead of Washington State into third in the Pac-10 standings.

Harden made 7-of-8 free throws and was 9-of-10 at the foul line. Pendergraph was 9-of-11 at the line.

The Sun Devils' free-throw deluge included four after technical fouls - the first on USC coach Tim Floyd and the second on freshman Davon Jefferson. Four Trojans fouled out.

Arizona State, which lost by 14 at USC earlier this season, took control with second-half runs of 10-0 and 16-0.

The Sun Devils went ahead for good 33-32 after Floyd drew a technical and Derek Glasser made two free throws. Harden made a 3-pointer, followed by a three-point play to put his team ahead 39-32 with 14:43 to play.

Ty Abbott's 3-pointer ignited a 16-0 run that gave Arizona State a 59-38 lead. The outburst ended with a four-point play when Jefferson fouled Pendergraph, then was called for a technical. Glasser made the technical free throws and Pendergaph the other two, giving Arizona State a 59-38 lead. Jefferson fouled out on the play.

Pendegraph's three-point play gave the Sun Devils their biggest margin of the game, 62-40, with 8 1/2 minutes to play.

Mayo made consecutive 3s in an 8-0 spurt that cut the lead to 71-62 with 2:58 to go, but Arizona State 9-of-10 free throws after that to improve its home record to 13-4.

The game was tied at 25 at the half even though the Sun Devils went nearly nine minutes without a field goal.

Mayo fell one point shy of the record for most points by a freshman in a Pac-10 game. Cliff Robinson of USC scored 39 against Cal in 1978. Don MacLean of UCLA holds the conference record for most points by a freshman in any game - 41 against North Texas State in 1988.

Mayo finished 7-of-10 from 3-point range, missing his last two.

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