Saturday, December 23, 2006

Article from ASU's site

Sun Devils Fall Short Despite Late Surge
By Garrett Cleverly

It was like a sequel to a movie that included the same jokes, same themes but in this case a much different ending. The Davidson Wildcats scratched and pawed away their prey for a 75-70 victory over the Maroon and Gold in the Sleep America ASU Classic Tournament.

After Thursday’s sluggish offensive performance against North Carolina A&T the Devils (6-5) looked to come out and create a more balanced offensive attack. However, the team became so one dimensional relying on Jeff Pendergraph in the first half, and found themselves down early and having to dig themselves out of a big hole. “We came out flat and let them get ahead of us and instead of preventing them of getting a lead we had to come back,” Pendergraph said.

The Devils are now becoming somewhat of a Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. One game their offense will show up and another just their defense. In this case it was the former. As much as ASU kept it interesting in the first half, much to them out rebounding the Wildcats 23-7, they still allowed Davidson to shoot a 52% from the field. Much of the damage inflicted on the home team, was due to numerous pick and roles and drives to the basket that created scoring opportunities, and gave Davidson a 36-31 lead at halftime.

ASU biggest bright spot thus far this season has to be their second half performance in games that include their extreme perseverance to overcome huge deficits. “If you want to look at the positive,” said Coach Herb Sendek, “our team showed tremendous competitive spirit to battle and fight and kick to get back in the game.”

Nonetheless, the Wildcats had a different plan in mind jumping out to a 6-0 run one minute into the half, and the onslaught didn’t end there. The visitors had a 20-point lead with 8 minutes remaining in the game. The Sun Devil started their comeback, tanks to freshman Christian Polk, who helped reduce the deficit to only five points three minutes later.

But overall the Devils’ inexperience, as well as their struggles shooting crucial free throws late in the game, eventually doomed them Friday afternoon. The team’s freshmen shot 8 out of 34, while the rest of the team was 15-23. The maroon and gold finished a respectful 73% from the charity strip, but missed six attempts late in the game that could have had netted the Devils a win in the Sleep America ASU Hoops Classic.

Jeff Pendergraph and Serge Angounou registered identical numbers with 17 points and 12 rebounds apiece. Christian Polk scored 16, but only shot 20% from beyond the arc. Jason Richards of Davidson led all scorers with 25 including 80% from the three point line.

The Devils will take off a few days for Christmas vacation and come back on Christmas night to start and prepare for their first conference game at home on December 28th against Stanford.

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