Final - OT
  for this game

Arizona State overcomes Harden's struggles to edge IUPUI

Dec 15, 2008 - 3:13 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Although it was not pretty, Arizona State showed it was more than star James Harden.

Jeff Pendergraph scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as No. 18 Arizona State survived a major scare by IUPUI to squeak out a 59-58 overtime win in the Desert Classic on Sunday.

It was a very disappointing effort for the Sun Devils (8-1), who got only nine points from the leading scorer Harden before he fouled out in the extra session.

Arizona State managed only 18 points in the first half, and were trailing, 50-38, following a jumper by IUPUI's Jon Avery with 8:50 to play.

"I think IUPUI played a great game in many respects," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek told The Arizona Republic. "They didn't really lose the game. Our group played two halves. They really outplayed us in every facet. The silver lining was that our guys had a gut check and found a way to win on a day that we were really up against it."

The Sun Devils, however, were able to rally, scoring 17 of the final 22 points in regulation. Rihards Kuksiks connected on his sixth 3-pointer with 2:10 left to knot the score at 55-55.

The Jaguars (5-4) had two chances to seal the upset, including Gary Patterson's jumper that was off the mark with 16 seconds remaining.

In the overtime, Pendergraph put Arizona State ahead, 57-55, on a jumper with 1:43 expired. Moments later, Harden, who averaged 25.5 points coming in, picked up his fifth and final foul.

Despite the loss of their top player, the Sun Devils went up four on Derek Glasser's jumper with 2:14 left.

IUPUI closed within a point on Patterson's 3-pointer with 2:03 left, but he missed another attempt from the arc and Alex Young was off the mark from long range in the closing second.

It was an offensively challenged overtime for both teams, who combined for just seven points on 3-of-9 shooting.

Kuksiks led the big second half for Arizona State, scoring 12 of his 18 points after the intermission. He finished 6-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-11 from the arc.

"I just got a lot of open shots because they were trying to get up on James (Harden)," Kuksiks told the newspaper.

The sophomore swingman also grabbed nine rebounds, including six offensive, handed out four assists and grabbed three steals.

Ty Abbott also had 10 of his 12 points following halftime for the Sun Devils, who shot 52 percent (14-of-27), including 9-of-21 from long range, after intermission.

"To be be able to fight through this and win will help us a lot," Abbott told The Republic.

It was the complete opposite from the first 20 minutes, as Arizona State had as many field goals (seven) as turnovers. Plagued by two fouls, Harden mustered just three points on 1-of-3 shooting.

"We just didn't want to let him get going," IUPUI coach James Hunter told the newspaper about the defense of Harden.

Young and Patterson both scored 19 points for the Jaguars, who dropped to 0-7 all-time against ranked opponents.