for this game

Arizona State hangs on to end Arizona's win streak

Feb 23, 2009 - 7:15 AM TEMPE, Arizona (Ticker) -- For the second straight year, Arizona State owns the bragging rights for men's basketball in "The Grand Canyon" state.

James Harden had 18 points and nine rebounds and Rihards Kuksiks scored 17 as No. 11 Arizona State edged rival Arizona, 70-68, on Sunday.

Jeff Pendergraph added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Sun Devils (21-5, 10-4 Pac-10), who swept the season series with the Wildcats for the second straight year.

Arizona State, which was 5-of-28 from the arc in the first meeting, made 10-of-16 3-pointers in the first half as it took a 44-34 advantage at the break. Kuksiks, who leads the Sun Devils in 3-point shooting at 47 percent, made three consecutive outside shots late in the first half.

"They were giving me open looks, the sophomore told the Arizona Republic. "I thought, 'Why don't I try to make them pay?' It's like disrespect."

The Sun Devils pushed the lead to as many as 17 early in the second half but the Wildcats stormed back.

Trailing by 11 with just over seven minutes to play, Arizona surged ahead with a 13-0 run - capped by Jamelle Horne's 3-pointer - to take a 62-60 edge with 4:13 remaining. The Wildcats made five straight shots during the burst.

"I just have never sensed these guys are going to mail it in, and I hope it's because they care about each other and they respect our staff enough to know that we would never take that approach," Arizona interim coach Russ Pennell told the newspaper. "That's one of the things I've enjoyed the most coaching these guys. I think our chemistry right now is really good."

The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes and, with Arizona leading by one, Kuksiks' fifth 3-pointer of the game put Arizona State in front, 68-66, with 1:15 left. Jordan Hill tied the score with a putback off Nic Wise's miss with 55 seconds to play.

The Sun Devils regained the lead at 70-68 as Pendergraph made a pair of free throws with 25.6 ticks on the clock. Pendergraph collected the rebound and was fouled after Hill blocked Harden's floater in the lane.

Arizona (18-9, 8-6) had a golden chance to tie the contest again, but Hill's layup in traffic missed and Zane Johnson's wide-open putback attempt also rolled off the rim.

Derek Glasser missed the front-end of a one-and-one with five seconds to play, but the Wildcats failed to advance the ball past halfcourt before losing control. Time expired before either team could gain possession.

Wise scored 17 points and Hill and Kyle Fogg each added 14 for the Wildcats, who had their seven-game winning streak snapped.

"We fought back, showed a lot of heart," Wise told the Arizona Republic. "We're still good, it's just a bump in the road. We have to forget about this game and get ready for Washington State on Thursday."

The win moved Arizona State within one-half game of Washington (11-4) in the Pac-10. The Sun Devils visit the Huskies on Thursday.

"We have an incredibly tough weekend ahead of us," ASU coach Herb Sendek told the newspaper.