Final - OT
  for this game

Harden helps Arizona State get rare win over Arizona

Jan 10, 2008 - 5:52 AM By Jonathan Dalton PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

TEMPE, Arizona (Ticker) -- The Pac-10 Conference's youngest player carried Arizona State into rare territory Wednesday night.

Freshman James Harden scored 22 of his season-high 26 points in the second half and overtime as Arizona State rallied from a late five-point deficit to beat No. 24 Arizona, 64-59, for its ninth consecutive victory.

The win was also the Sun Devils' second in their last 26 meetings against their instate rival, including the first in the last 13.

"In the first half we were looking for the easy way out," Harden said. "In the second half we picked it up and started to fight."

Arizona State (13-2, 3-0 Pac-10) also remained undefeated in the conference, surpassing last season's win total of two. The 3-0 record is also just the third time the Sun Devils have achieved the feat since the school joined the conference in 1978 and first since the 1987-88 campaign.

"We happened to win tonight's game," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "No more. No less."

Arizona (10-5, 1-2) led, 55-50, with 1:37 left in regulation until Ty Abbott sank a 3-pointer from the right wing to cut Arizona State's deficit to two. After Wildcats sophomore Jordan Hill was called for traveling, Harden drove into the lane for easy layup to tie the score at 55-55 with 61 seconds left.

That would be the score heading into the extra session, as Arizona could not come up with anything in its final two possessions.

Hill's second basket of overtime put the Wildcats ahead 59-58 with 1:49 left. But Harden scored on another drive into the lane and Jeff Pendergraph added a tip-in off a miss by Harden with 13.0 seconds left.

Chase Budinger had a shot from the arc to force another tie for the Wildcats with under three seconds to play, but was off the mark. Pendergraph added two free throws down the stretch to secure the win.

"Finally," Pendergraph said. "If I leave here at least I can say I got (Arizona) once."

Pendergraph finished with 14 points and seven rebounds for Arizona State. Hill led Arizona with 18 points and 14 rebounds, including the Wildcats' only points in overtime.

"We led for most of the game and had great opportunities to win it," Arizona coach Kevin O'Neill said. "We led in overtime as well. We didn't finish."

Budinger ignited a 16-4 run with a 12-foot jump shot and then a 3-pointer from the right wing as the Wildcats opened an 18-8 lead with 6:08 left in the first half.

Harden made just 1-of-6 shots in the first half but was 7-of-11 after intermission to go along with a team-high nine rebounds.

"He (Harden) got off to a tough start in the first half but he was able to turn it around," Sendek said.

Arizona extended the lead to as many as 12 points but Christian Polk hit a long 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in the first half to pull Arizona State within 28-21 at the intermission.

Budinger finished with 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting and Jawann McClellan added 10 for the Wildcats, who dropped to 1-3 without leading scorer Jerryd Bayliss, who remains out since December 29 with an injured right knee.

"When Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger shoot like that, especially with our injuries, its going to be hard for us to score and win," O'Neill said.