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Harden powers Arizona State past winless Oregon

Feb 6, 2009 - 7:20 AM EUGENE, Oregon (Ticker) -- James Harden would not allow Arizona State's losing streak to continue.

The sophomore swingman scored 23 of his 36 points in the second half as the 23rd-ranked Sun Devils halted a two-game skid with a 66-57 victory over Oregon on Thursday.

Harden, the Pac-10 Conference's leading scorer, finished 11-of-21 from the floor, including 5-of-10 from the arc to record his fifth 30-point game of the season. Jeff Pendergraph was the only other Sun Devils player in double figures with 13 points.

"I tried to step up my game as much as I could," Harden said. "I don't keep track of my points when I am on the court. We won at Oregon and I am satisfied. The whole team did well tonight."

Arizona State (17-5, 6-4 Pac-10) was coming off back-to-back home losses to Washington State and Washington last week but responded to get coach Herb Sendek win No. 300 for his career.

After the teams went back-and-forth for the majority of the first half, the Sun Devils closed the session on a 9-2 run - capped by a driving layup from Harden - to take a 32-27 lead into the locker rooms. The advantage matched the largest lead of the opening 20 minutes.

Arizona State carried the momentum into the second half as Harden made back-to-back 3-pointers and later found Jerren Shipp for a layup to give the Sun Devils a 40-27 bulge with 16:46 to play.

"We just didn't have an answer for (Harden)," Ducks coach Ernie Kent said. "He was controlling the whole game. He is a great basketball player and will be an outstanding pro player."

Oregon closed within 49-42 with under nine minutes to play but Harden answered with a layup and a 3-pointer to push the lead back up to 12 with 7:46 remaining. The Ducks never threatened again.

"There wasn't any brilliant tactic. We just kept playing," Sendek said. "Oregon had their plays for the certain time, but there is no question we were a better team tonight."

Arizona State had a scary moment late in the game when point guard Derek Glasser was knocked to the floor on a pick set by Joevan Catron with 1:33 to play. Glasser lied motionless for several minutes before the training staff helped him gingerly off the court.

Tajuan Porter scored 18 points to pace the Ducks (6-16, 0-10), who have not won since an 86-74 triumph over Long Beach State on December 29.

Oregon shot 33 percent (7-of-21) from the floor in the second half and is off to its worst conference start since opening 0-11 during the 1992-93 campaign.

"It's disappointing," Porter said. "We have been practicing the whole week. Tonight no one stepped up and Arizona State took advantage of it."