The Sun Devils picked up another exhibition win on Wednesday night with a 91-71 win over Western New Mexico. Eric Boateng was missing from the lineup with a minor foot injury but should be back for the ASU's season opener in the Maui Invitational. James Harden once again led the Devils with 21 points and 8 boards, including 9-of-11 shooting.
While any success in cupcake exhibition games must be taken with a grain of salt, it is worth noting that ASU's offense looks particularly improved and the defense has produced double digit turnovers in each game. With perennial powers like Michigan State and Kentucky going down in the preseason to relatively unknown programs, it is nice to see ASU taking care of business. One thing that the Devils must improve quickly and drastically is free throw shooting. The team shot 51.4% from the foul line against Grand Canyon University and 54.2% against Western New Mexico. These numbers must go up if we want to have a chance against quality opponents.
ASU's real season begins on Monday, November 19 against Illinois in the Maui Invitational. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Of Note: Jeff Pendergraph was named as one of the top 50 preseason candidates for the Wooden Award, college basketball's top individual award. 10 of the top 50 are from the incredibly deep Pac-10. For the entire list: http://woodenaward.cstv.com/ot/08-m-baskbl-pre-candidates.html