Harden, Arizona State end Stanford's winning streakFeb 15, 2008 - 7:34 AM TEMPE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Arizona State rallied from a big second-half deficit with freshman James Harden saving his best for last.
Harden scored eight of his team-high 23 points in overtime to go along with five assists and five steals as the Sun Devils snapped No. 7 Stanford's seven-game winning streak with a hard-fought 72-68 victory in Pac-10 Conference action on Thursday.
Freshman Rihards Kuksiks had a season-high 15 points and Jeff Pendergraph added 15 and 12 rebounds before fouling out at the end of regulation for the Sun Devils (16-7, 6-5 Pac-10), who trailed by 14 points with under eight minutes to play before mounting a big comeback.
"It was a hard-fought win," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "It's just remarkable this team found a way go land on its feet. (Harden) put us on his back. James is humble and unassuming, but at the same time he has confidence."
The Sun Devils slowly chipped away and cut the deficit to 59-58 on Harden's dunk with 16 seconds left before Brook Lopez made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Cardinal a two-point lead.
But Harden, who had just 10 points through the first 37 minutes of the contest, again answered with a putback of his own miss to tie the game at 60-60. The Cardinal, who made just 3-of-6 free throws in the final minute, never got a final shot off, sending the game into overtime.
"We had the opportunity to (win) it in regulation, but we missed free throws and didn't block out on rebounds like we've been doing, like we're capable of," Stanford coach Trent Johnson said. "You've got to give Arizona State credit. They played well."
The conference's youngest player, Harden scored Arizona State's first eight points in the extra session to give the Sun Devils a 68-65 lead.
"My teammates are doing a real good job of putting me in that role and putting me in certain situations where I can be productive and score," Harden said. "I'm trying to step up and make some plays. I knew when Jeff (Pendergraph) went out, it was hard for us to get offensive rebounds, so I had to finish or they would have the ball. I had the mind-set of going to the hole strong and finish strong."
Mitch Johnson later cut Stanford's deficit to 69-68 with 35 seconds to play, but the Cardinal missed their last four 3-pointers and Arizona State made three free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
It was the highest-ranked team that Arizona State has beaten since defeating then-No. 4 Stanford on January 31, 1998.
"We've got to keep winning," Pendergraph said. "If we win this game and lose the rest, we're going to be back here like we are every year - so we need to take it a step at a time."
Brook Lopez had 30 points and twin brother Robin added 16 and eight rebounds for Stanford (20-4, 9-3), which had won 18 of its previous 20 meetings with the Sun Devils coming into the game.
Arizona State, which led by 10 points at the half en route to losing the first meeting in Stanford, 67-52, had controlled much of the first half.
The Sun Devils scored the game's first seven points and led for the opening 28 minutes of the contest.
Harden's 3-pointer put Arizona State in front, 19-9, with 11:10 left but Stanford rallied to cut the deficit to 27-23 at the break.
After the Sun Devils pushed its lead to 35-25 three minutes into the second half, Stanford responded with a 26-2 run to take a 51-37 bulge with 7:58 remaining. Brook Lopez scored nine points and Landry Fields had eight during the burst.
Arizona State then answered with an 8-1 burst to close within 52-45 with just over five minutes to play.
"When we got down 14, it wasn't so much me, but that we needed a basket for somebody and it happened to be me," Harden said. "We got some momentum with a couple of shots."
- NCAA BB
FINAL IN 1ST OT 1ST 2ND 1OT TOTAL
--- --- --- -----
STANFORD (7) 23 37 8 68
ARIZONA ST 27 33 12 72 FINAL IN 1ST OT
Feb 15 12:58 AM
- NCAA BB
(7) STANFORD 60
ARIZONA ST 60 END 2ND HALF, GOING INTO OVERTIME
Feb 15 12:36 AM
- NCAA BB
(7) STANFORD 23
ARIZONA ST 27 HALFTIME
Feb 14 11:24 PM
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