Scores

Final

Alabama State 53

(20-11, 15-3 SWAC)

Arizona State 64

(20-12, 9-9 Pac-12)

    11:00 PM ET, March 18, 2008

    Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Arizona

    1 2 T
    ALST 21 3253
    ASU 39 2564

    Top Performers

    Alabama St: B. Brooks 10 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Arizona St: J. Harden 25 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Arizona St. 64, Alabama St. 53

    Associated Press

    TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- James Harden had 25 points and a season-best 13 rebounds, and Arizona State defeated Alabama State 64-53 in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night.

    Harden's fellow freshman Ty Abbott added 15 points on five first-half 3-pointers.

    The Sun Devils (20-12), snubbed by the NCAAs, reached the 20-win mark for just the fourth time in 27 years. They will play at home against Southern Illinois in a second-round matchup Thursday night.

    Eric Boateng had eight points and a career-best 10 rebounds for Arizona State in front of a homecourt crowd of 4,358.

    Andrew Hayles scored 12 and Brandon Brooks 10 for the Hornets (20-11), the SWAC regular season champions who shot just 32 percent (19-of-59). Arizona State shot only 41 percent overall, 32 percent (7-of-22) in the second half.

    Arizona State blew open early leads of 18-3 and 30-9 against the cold-shooting Hornets and were up 43-21 early in the second half.

    But Alabama State rallied with a 15-4 run that cut the lead to 47-36 on Brandon Brooks' three free throws with 14:09 to play.

    Harden's fallaway 3-pointer made it 59-44 but the Hornets scored the next seven to make it 59-51 after Richard Lott's rebound basket with 3:06 left. He was fouled on the play but missed the layup. Harden followed with a driving layup, and Alabama State never got it to single digits again.

    Alabama State started the game 1-for-16 shooting and Abbott made three 3-pointers in a 3 1/2-minute stretch to put Arizona State up 30-9 with 5:33 left in the half. The Hornets settled down in a 12-3 run that cut the lead to 33-21 when Rashad Provitt made one of three free throws at 1:53 before the break.

    But the Sun Devils ended the half with a 9-0 spurt, including another 3 by Abbott and a rebound dunk by Boateng at the buzzer, to go up 39-21 at the half.

    Harden scored four to start the second half to give the Sun Devils their biggest lead at 43-21.

    Alabama State shot 25 percent (8-for-32) in the first half, compared with 48 percent (14-for-29). Abbott made 5-of-7 3s for his 15 first-half points.

    Hayles, the SWAC player of the year, was 1-for-7 shooting, 1-for-5 on 3s, for three first-half points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    ALST
    ASU
    Points 53 64
    FG Made-Attempted 19-59 (.322) 21-51 (.412)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-23 (.304) 8-22 (.364)
    FT Made-Attempted 8-13 (.615) 14-22 (.636)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 13 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 22

    Series

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Mar 18, 2008 @ASU 64, ALST 53Recap