Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Threes, threes and more threes.

That was the formula the No. 14 ASU men’s basketball team used Sunday to defeat the University of Texas-El Paso in the third-place game of the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif.

The Sun Devils (5-1) nailed 13 shots from behind the arc — including nine in the first half — to pace them to the 88-58 victory.

Sophomore guard James Harden made six of seven 3-point attempts en route to scoring a career-high 40 points, the most by a Sun Devil since Eddie House had 40 against UCLA on Feb. 17, 2000.

ASU found itself in an 18-11 hole after the game’s first six minutes, but used five 3-pointers over the next four minutes to rattle off a 19-2 run.

The Sun Devils entered halftime with a 46-37 lead and poured it on the second period.

They closed the game out on a 24-7 run, allowing UTEP to convert just six second-half field goals.

Aside from Harden and sophomore guard Ty Abbott (12 points), no other Sun Devil managed to score double-digit points. However, five different players did knock down a 3-pointer.

The victory was a bittersweet end to what could have been a benchmark tournament for the Sun Devils nonconference schedule.

ASU fell short of expectations Friday with its 87-78 loss to unranked Baylor, keeping it out of the tournament’s championship game against No. 19 Wake Forest.

The Bears played a great second half, knocking down 16 of 28 shots to capture the contest that was tied 31-31 at halftime.

Baylor received a huge boost from sophomore guard LaceDarius Dunn, who contributed 27 points off the bench.

Dunn hit six of his team’s 11 3-pointers, while senior guard Curtis Jerrells added 22 points.

The teams traded buckets to start the second half before Baylor unloaded on ASU for a 14-0 run. ASU called a timeout after Dunn hit a 3-pointer to give his team a 53-38 with 14:17 remaining.

A bucket from senior guard Henry Dugat gave Baylor a 74-59 lead with 5:31 left, but the Bears would only convert one field goal the rest of the game.

Harden tried to rally ASU with his late-game magic but eventually ran out of tricks. His 3-pointer with 56 seconds left cut the deficit to 82-78 but the Sun Devils couldn’t inch any closer than that.

Harden finished with 32 points and nine rebounds.

The Sun Devils were uncharacteristically porous on defense, allowing 56 second-half points. By comparison, ASU had given up an average of 53 points per game in their previous four contests this season.

ASU senior forward Jeff Pendergraph turned in his second consecutive strong performance against the Bears, notching 19 points and 10 rebounds.

He finished with 23 points 10 rebounds in the team’s 84-56 win against Charlotte on Thanksgiving day.

The tilt against Charlotte was far less dramatic, as ASU led from start to finish. The Sun Devils were very efficient on the offensive end of the floor, converting 25 of 41 field goal attempts (61 percent).

Harden was relatively held in check, with just 15 points. Though he was perfect from the free throw line (11 of 11), Harden made just two of his five shots from the field.

Not that the Sun Devils needed a big performance from him on Thursday.

ASU’s defense picked up the slack by holding Charlotte to just 34.4 percent shooting and forcing 21 turnovers.

Reach the reporter at

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.