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Harden shoots and scores and scores.

Byline: Steve Mims The Register-Guard

James Harden's stat line looked different over the course of five days, but it was not intentional.

Coming off a loss to Washington where Harden took only nine shots, the ASU star bounced back with 36 points - the most by any player in a Pac-10 game this year - to lead the Sun Devils to a 66-57 victory over Oregon on Thursday night at McArthur Court.

Whether nine shots on Saturday or the 21 he took on Thursday, the Sun Devils always look to the Pac-10's leading scorer.

"We never fail to emphasize his importance, believe me," ASU coach Herb Sendek said.

"It's not like last game we didn't realize he's important. He just stepped up and played well tonight."

Harden, who raised his average to 22.5 points per game, was scoreless for the first 17 minutes in last weekend's loss to Washington, but he never seemed to go more than a minute or two without finding a bucket against the Ducks.

"I was more aggressive," Harden said. "When I'm more aggressive. that allows my teammates to get open shots as well. That's the major key, be more aggressive and take good, open shots."

Following the loss to Washington that completed a winless weekend at home against the Washington schools, ASU post Jeff Pendergraph said the Sun Devils' shooters had to keep shooting whether shots were falling or not.

Harden said that has always been the goal.

"That's our mind-set. If you are open, shoot the ball," he said. "It's the same for me, or Derek (Glasser), or (Rihards) Kuksiks. If you are open, shoot the ball, and if not, make another guy better with your passing. That's what we did today."

Harden missed six of his first nine shots, and ASU held a 28-27 lead with a minute left in the first half before the lefty made a couple of free throws and a layup to give the Sun Devils a 32-27 halftime lead.

Harden, who was 1-for-5 on three-pointers in the first half, opened the second half with back-to-back three-pointers and then passed to Jerren Shipp for a layup that gave the Sun Devils a 40-27 lead. During that 12-0 run by ASU, Harden had 10 points and assisted on the other hoop.

"I was trying to step up and make big plays tonight," Harden said.

The closest Oregon got the rest of the way was 49-42 with 8:49 left, but Harden answered with a bucket in the lane and a three-pointer to put the Sun Devils ahead 54-42.

Harden finished 11-for-21 from the field, including 5-for-10 on three-pointers, and made 9-of-10 free throws. He exceeded 30 points for the fifth time this season

"There's no question we're a better team when James plays like he did tonight," said Sendek, who earned his 300th career victory.

"I don't think that's unique to us. You can go across the league or the country: When your best player plays well for any team, you are better. If they have an off-night, then that team isn't as good."

The Sun Devils experienced both extremes in one week.

GAME REPORT: Oregon Men vs. Arizona State

Key stat: ASU's James Harden scored 23 of his 36 points in the second half.

Notes: Tajuan Porter is now 16th on Oregon's career scoring list with 1,276 points. He moved past Maarty Leunen (1,259) and Terrell Brandon (1,263). a Porter's four three-pointers give him 252 for his career and eighth on the Pac-10 list, moving past ASU's Eddie House (250). Porter (638) also passed former Duck Terik Brown (629) for ninth in the Pac-10 in career three-point attempts. a In the second half, the Ducks were 5-of-10 on three-point shots and 2-of-11 on two-pointers. a Former UO women's coach Jody Runge was in attendance.

Next: Ducks host Arizona at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. It will be televised regionally on ABC.

ARIZONA STATE 66, OREGON 57

FG FT Reb

Arizona St. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Harden 40- 11-21 9-10 1-5 2 2 36

Shipp 26 3-5 0-0 0-1 0 5 7

Pendergraph 25 4-6 5-5 4-8 1 5 13

Abbott 38 1-5 0-0 1-4 2 1 3

Glasser 36 0-3 2-2 0-0 7 0 2

Boateng 14 0-0 0-0 1-5 0 5 0

McMillan 19 2-5 0-0 1-2 1 2 5

Woods 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Rohde 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 200 21-45 16-17 8-27 13 20 66

Percentages: FG .467, FT .941. 3-Point Goals: 8-23, .348 (Harden 5-10, Abbott 1-4, Shipp 1-3, McMillan 1-3, Glasser 0-3). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 5 (Harden 3, Shipp, Abbott). Turnovers: 11 (Glasser 5, Harden 3, Shipp, Boateng, McMillan). Steals: 5 (Harden 2, Shipp 2, Glasser).

FG FT Reb

Oregon Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Longmire 17 1-3 3-4 1-1 0 3 5

Catron 28 3-3 2-4 3-6 1 1 9

Crittle 21 1-4 1-4 0-2 1 2 3

Sim 25 1-6 2-2 1-3 2 0 5

Porter 36 6-14 2-2 0-1 0 3 18

Odia 9 0-1 1-2 0-0 0 0 1

Humphrey 17 2-3 0-0 0-0 2 4 6

Wiley 19 0-1 0-0 1-3 1 1 0

Dunigan 17 2-5 4-5 1-4 0 1 8

Brown 11 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2

Totals 200 17-41 15-23 8-21 8 16 57

Percentages: FG .415, FT .652. 3-Point Goals: 8-18, .444 (Porter 4-10, Humphrey 2-2, Sim 1-4, Catron 1-1, Longmire 0-1). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 3 (Crittle, Sim, Dunigan). Turnovers: 11 (Sim 3, Catron 2, Porter 2, Crittle, Odia, Humphrey). Steals: 7 (Sim 3, Catron, Humphrey, Wiley).

Arizona State 32 34 -66

Oregon 27 30 -57

A-7,670. Officials-Michael Irving, Chris Rastatter, Mark Reischling.
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Title Annotation:Basketball Oregon Men
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 6, 2009
Words:958
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