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IUPUI nearly knocks off No. 20 Arizona State

Sunday, December 14, 2008


AP Sports Writer

PHOENIX -- Playing in front of a sparse crowd in an NBA arena, Arizona State looked lost for most of the game.

The Sun Devils found themselves just in time.

Rallying behind a flurry of 3-pointers by Rihards Kuksiks, No. 20 Arizona State overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to defeat IUPUI 59-58 in overtime on Sunday.

"Down 16, our guys had a real gut-check and found a way to win," said Arizona State coach Herb Sendek, whose team improved to 5-0 in overtime the last two seasons. "We were really up against it."

Kuksiks matched his career high with 18 points, all on 3-pointers, to lead the Sun Devils (8-1), who trailed 39-23 in the early minutes of the second half.

Jeff Pendergraph and Derek Glasser scored all of Arizona State's four points in overtime as the Sun Devils relied on their defense to avert a headline-grabbing upset.

IUPUI scored two points in the final 7 minutes of regulation and three in overtime -- all by guard Gary Patterson, who had 19 points.

Arizona State turned the ball over on its final possession of overtime, but IUPUI freshman Alex Young missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"It was a good look, and I'll live with him taking it again," said Patterson, who missed a running 12-footer that would have won the game at the buzzer in regulation.

Young had 19 points for the Jaguars (5-4), who fell to 0-7 all-time against ranked opponents.

"We were disappointed," said IUPUI coach Ron Hunter, who served on Sendek's staff at Miami of Ohio in the 1990s. "We didn't come here to get a moral victory. We came in here with a chip on our shoulder that we were going to play well."

The Jaguars played very well -- for a half.

IUPUI led 34-18 at halftime, and the Jaguars ran off the floor to the wild cheers of a throng of Arizona fans who had arrived early for the Wildcats' game against No. 4 Gonzaga in the nightcap of the doubleheader at U.S. Airways Center, home of the Phoenix Suns.

The game was played in downtown Phoenix, only a few miles from Arizona State's campus in Tempe. But it felt like a true neutral court, with perhaps 1,000 fans in the stands at tipoff. One fan was Phoenix Suns star Amare Stoudemire, who watched from a courtside seat.

Neither the crowd nor the Sun Devils had much energy in the first half.

In its worst half of the season, Arizona State had as many turnovers (7) as baskets. The Sun Devils shot 31.8 percent and often appeared listless.

Arizona State star James Harden, averaging 25.5 points per game, had three in the first half -- on one field goal attempt, which he made.

The Sun Devils' rally began when Sendek switched, for the first time this season, from a matchup zone to man-to-man defense. The Jaguars had riddled the zone in the first half, shooting 54.5 percent, but they struggled against the man-to-man.

"Herb made a great decision going to the man," Hunter said.

Sendek downplayed the move.

"Honestly, I don't think it's a function of man-to-man or zone," he said. "I think it was a function of we turned up the voltage."

Neither team scored again in regulation after Kuksiks hit his sixth 3-pointer to tie it at 55-55 with 2:04 to go.

Both teams continued to struggled to score in overtime. The first points came on a putback by Pendergraph 2:43 to play.

Moments later, Harden fouled out. He finished with a season-low nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field.

The Jaguars stopped Harden. But they couldn't stop Kuksiks -- or even find him. Most of his 3s seemed to be wide open.

Down 52-40 with about 9 minutes to go, the Sun Devils closed regulation with a 15-3 run, with Kuksiks hitting from beyond the arc to spark the run and finish it.

"I played good on the offensive end, but I look at the turnovers," said Kuksiks, who had nine rebounds and four assists, both season highs. "I had four turnovers, and that balances it out."

Asked if he had a green light to fire from beyond the arc, Kuksiks laughed and replied, "Green light for good shots."

No. 20 ARIZONA ST. 59, IUPUI 58, OT

IUPUI (5-4)

Patterson 6-12 4-4 19, Young 7-12 1-1 19, Pettiford 2-6 0-0 4, Ashworth 1-6 0-0 2, Avery 4-6 1-2 9, Nobles 2-4 1-2 5, Glenn 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-46 7-9 58.


Pendergraph 5-11 0-0 10, Kuksiks 6-13 0-0 18, Abbott 5-15 0-0 12, Glasser 4-7 0-0 10, Harden 3-5 1-2 9, McMillan 0-2 0-0 0, Shipp 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 1-2 59.

Halftime--IUPUI 34-18. End Of Regulation--Tied 55. 3-Point Goals--IUPUI 7-18 (Young 4-8, Patterson 3-6, Pettiford 0-1, Ashworth 0-1, Nobles 0-2), Arizona St. 12-30 (Kuksiks 6-11, Harden 2-3, Glasser 2-4, Abbott 2-10, McMillan 0-2). Fouled Out--Harden. Rebounds--IUPUI 24 (Avery 7), Arizona St. 31 (Pendergraph 11). Assists--IUPUI 14 (Avery 4), Arizona St. 12 (Glasser 5). Total Fouls--IUPUI 11, Arizona St. 13. A--NA. A--NA.

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