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Harden, Arizona State hammer Jackson State

Dec 5, 2008 - 5:26 AM TEMPE, Arizona (Ticker) -- James Harden scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds as Arizona State crushed Jackson State, 81-60, on Thursday.

The 19th-ranked Sun Devils (6-1) broke the game open with a 26-8 spurt that made it 34-16 with 4:51 left in the half and cruised from there.

Harden went 7-of-10 from the field en route to another strong offensive effort.

"The first couple games, it was minor adjustments with my form," Harden told The Arizona Republic. "All of them felt real good. They'd rattle in and out. Some of them were at the end of the shot clock. I wasn't really worried. Once I got an open look, I was confident in knocking it down."

Jeff Pendergraph had 19 points and Rihards Kuksiks added 16.

The closest the Tigers came was 54-43 shortly after Harden was saddled with his fourth personal foul.

The rest of the Sun Devils picked up the slack, however, as Pendergraph jammed home a feed from Derek Glasser, Kuksiks hit a 3-pointer, and Eric Boateng and Jeren Shipp added jumpers to complete a 9-0 run that made it 63-43 with nine minutes left.

"That was a real silver lining tonight," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek told The Republic. "That was a real positive for us. Not that we want to be in that position where we have to have him on the bench in foul trouble."

The Sun Devils shot 57 percent from the field (28-of-49) while holding Jackson State to 39 percent (22-of-57).

The Tigers (1-7) were led by Garrison Johnson with 21 points. Jackson State is winless in its last eight road games and has lost 12 straight non-conference contests.

Still, Sendek sees room for improvement for Arizona State.

"Once again, our basketball team has a tremendous amount of work to do," he told the paper.