Monday, January 21, 2008

Devils Handed Tough Loss

ASU's 10 game win streak was finally snapped Saturday night at Stanford. After leading by 10 at halftime, ASU faced foul trouble and poor shooting in the second half to pick up the first conference loss of the season.

This loss showed the importance of Jeff Pendergraph to this young Sun Devil team as he picked up his fourth foul with 17 minutes left in the game and ASU was outrebounded 26-9 in the second half. The story of the second half was the 10 minute absence of Pendergraph and the Devils' inability to score for long periods of time. Giving up several runs to a talented Stanford team created problems for ASU as Brook Lopez was able to dominate the post without Pendergraph in the game. ASU also shot only 26.3% percent in the second half which is a pretty good indicator of how the second half unfolded.

In this type of game when one of the stars is limited in playing time, the Devils really need the role players like Jerren Shipp to step up and perform. On that note, James Harden injured his groin on Saturday night and from what I hear, the injury is pretty serious and his availability for Thursday night's game is questionable. Without Harden, scoring will be tougher and will need to come from Pendergraph, Abbott, and someone like Shipp. The trouble with groin injuries is that if you come back too soon they tend to linger for a long period of time. If he can't go on Thursday night, hopefully he can make it against the tougher Washington State on Saturday. Either way, Harden's health later in the season is more important that rushing him back for a couple of games now.

ASU plays Washington at home on Thursday at 7pm and can be heard on 620AM. The Devils play #6 Washington State at home on Saturday at 5pm and can be seen on FSN AZ or heard on 620AM. The Washington State game marks the beginning of 10 straight televised games for the Devils.

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