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Arizona State jolts No. 17 Xavier

Dec 16, 2007 - 12:43 AM By Bob Huhn PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

TEMPE, Arizona (Ticker) -- It was teacher against student when No. 17 Xavier faced Arizona State. The teacher won.

Freshman Ty Abbott scored 19 points to lift the Sun Devils to a 77-55 upset of the Musketeers on Saturday.

Jerren Shipp added a season-high 17 points and freshman James Harden had 16 for Arizona State (7-2), which recorded its first win over a ranked non-conference opponent at home since December 20, 1980.

After losing 22 straight games to ranked teams, Arizona State now has won two in a row. The Sun Devils defeated No. 22 USC in their last game of the 2006-07 season.

"It certainly is a good day for us," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "We played great defensively. It is a good win against a really good program but it would be foolish to break our arm patting ourselves on the back. We had a good day today but the next game will be here before we realize it."

The Sun Devils shot a blistering 59.5 percent (25-of-42) to win for the seventh time in their last eight games under Sendek in snapping Xavier's seven-game winning streak.

Musketeers coach Sean Miller was an assistant under Sendek for two seasons at Miami of Ohio and five seasons at North Carolina State before joining the staff at Xavier for the 2001-02 season. He took over the program in the 2004-05 season.

The Sun Devils took a 33-28 advantage into the intermission after shooting 62 percent from the field. It was the first time the Musketeers (8-2) trailed at the half this season.

Arizona State (7-2) confused Xavier with its zone defense and opened the second half with a 13-5 run capped by Shipp's 3-point shot to open a 46-33 cushion at the 15:39 mark.

"We played them a year ago and to say they are much improved is an understatement," Miller said. "I am not going to say we missed a bunch of open shots because I thought their defense was a real reflection of the shots we got. We didn't make them and they had a lot to do with that."

The Musketeers got as close as 50-40 but Shipp and Harden buried 3-pointers as the Sun Devils pushed the lead to 61-44 with just over 6 1/2 minutes to play en route to improving to 6-0 at home.

"We did a good job when we had to. We did a good job knocking down shots," Shipp said. "We did a good job moving the ball and spreading it around and hitting the shots."

Arizona State hit 10-of-19 3-pointers led by Abbott's 5-of-8 performance.

"Coach did a great job during the week to prepare us so we knew what they were going to run zone-wise," Abbott said. "During halftime, Coach told us not to let up. We got some quick stops and were able to hit our shots."

Xavier opened the game with an 8-0 run, hitting its first four shots and going 3-for-3 from the arc, but the Sun Devils, who started four freshmen, came right back with a 9-0 run to take a 12-11 lead.

Xavier responded by taking an 18-12 lead but Arizona State answered with a 15-2 run for a 27-20 lead with 6:32 remaining in the half.

Stanley Burrell scored 11 points for Xavier, which shot 31 percent (19-of-62) in falling to 0-2 on the road this season.

"It was because of a combination of both their defense and our offense," Musketeers point guard Drew Lavender said. "We had some nice looks but they didn't fall and the other shots were contested by their players."

Senior Josh Duncan re-injured his left knee in the contest and played just five scoreless minutes for the Musketeers.