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Harden, Arizona State hold off Arizona

Jan 22, 2009 - 6:33 AM TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- In years past, Arizona State would have been the team to find a way to lose its matchup with Arizona. Times may be starting to change.

James Harden scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half as No. 16 Arizona State shook off some cold shooting to defeat intra-state rival Arizona, 53-47, on Wednesday.

Derek Glasser scored 13 points and Jeff Pendergraph added 11 and 14 rebounds for the Sun Devils (16-3, 5-2 Pac-10), who won their third straight meeting with the Wildcats.

In a nip-and-tuck contest throughout, Jordan Hill converted a three-point play to tie the game at 40-40 with 2:03 to play.

Glasser answered on the Sun Devils' next possession, drilling a 3-pointer from the left corner to give the Sun Devils the lead for good at 43-40 with 1:37 remaining.

The teams traded free throws before Zane Johnson's 3-pointer cut the Wildcats deficit to 46-45 with 22 seconds to play.

Glasser made one of two from the line to make it a two-point game, but Hill was called for an illegal screen on the Wildcats' next possession and the Arizona bench was assessed a technical foul for arguing. Harden and Glasser each made a pair from the line to give the Sun Devils a 51-45 lead with 11 seconds remaining.

"I don't think it was a foul, but the refs called it and you have to do what they say," Hill said. "I just went out there and tried to finish strong. I played my heart out."

Hill had 16 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Wildcats (11-8, 2-5), who have lost three straight games. Chase Budinger had 14 and eight.

"No one is going to feel sorry for you," Arizona interim coach Russ Pennell said. "We have to just go out there tomorrow and get better for a good Houston team this weekend. The team has to rally around each other and pull together to get a win."

Arizona State shot 29 percent (16-of-56) from the floor, while Arizona was 14-of-47 (30 percent) from the field. The teams combined to shoot 7-of-44 from the arc.

Nic Wise capped a 10-0 Arizona run to give the Wildcats a 15-7 lead with 10:13 remaining.

Arizona stayed in front for the remainder of the half but Arizona State scored the final four points and Harden's dunk pulled the Sun Devils within 21-18 at the break.

The defenses continued to dominate but Arizona State went up 32-28 on Harden's 3-pointer from the right wing with 11:41 to play. The shot was the Sun Devils' third 3-pointer of the game in 22 attempts.

Arizona went back in front briefly, but Arizona State came back and Harden made a pair of free throws to give the Sun Devils a 38-37 lead with 3:39 remaining.

"In the first half both teams were playing poorly and shooting poorly," Budinger said. "We missed opportunities during the first half to grab a larger lead and get some momentum going into the second half."

The meeting marked the first time since 1981 that a ranked Arizona State team took on an unranked Arizona squad.