Thursday, March 12, 2009

Final: Arizona State 68, Arizona 56

What was expected to be a highly competitive war turned into a dude as Arizona ran out of gas and interim coach Russ Pennell likely wrote his ticket out of Tucson. The Arizona coaching job is officially open.

The Wildcats shot 26 percent in the second half and produced 22 points. Their offense was stymied by Arizona State's physical style and they were relegated to launching 3-pointers. Jordan Hill and Nic Wise combined for 38 of the 56 points and 15-for-35 shooting. The rest of the team: 7-for-27.

The biggest disappointment was Chase Budinger, who keeps getting tabbed as a solid NBA prospect but his play has never reflected that. He finished with eight points on 3-for-15 shooting and he took nine 3-pointers, hitting one. Perhaps he should stay in school and work on his game, because he may be another Casey Jacobsen, a scorer whose game can't translate to the NBA.

As for the Sun Devils, a very solid performance, shooting 52 percent for the game, led by 27 points from the bearded one, James Harden. He needs to stop taking 3-pointers (1-for-7) but with his left-handed, unorthodox game, he is difficult to stop in the paint. And remember, he is a legitimate 6-foot-5, so he is an NBA shooting guard waiting to blossom.

Jeff Pendergraph, whom I believe will be on an NBA squad next season (maybe as a D-Leaguer) finished with 10 points and nine rebounds and did want he needed to do. He took just six shots, making four, a testament why he is leading the nation in field goal percentage.

Said Harden: "Until they call our name we are not in the tournament, yet, so we have to keep winning games."

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