IUPUI Almost Upsets #18 Arizona St, Loses in OT

December 14th, 2008

PHOENIX - The IUPUI Jaguars gave No. 20/18 Arizona State all it could handle, but came up on the short end of a 59-58 overtime decision at the 2008 Desert Classic inside U.S. Airways Arena on Sunday. Senior Gary Patterson and freshman Alex Young scored 19 each for game-high honors in defeat.

Young misfired on a 25-footer from the right wing as time expired, ending IUPUI's upset bid.

"I couldn't be more proud of my kids," IUPUI Head Coach
Ron Hunter said. "We weren't here for moral victories, we wanted to win this game. We're upset, we wanted this one, but I think we earned a lot of respect today. People out here hadn't even heard of IUPUI, so for us to come in here and play the way we did meant a lot.

"We didn't get the result we wanted, but we improved as a basketball team today. That's all I can ask for."

Defensively, the Jaguars limited ASU All-America candidate James Harden to a season-low nine points as Rihards Kuksiks led four Sun Devils (8-1) in double-digits with 18 points. Harden went just 3-of-5 from the floor before fouling out midway through the overtime session.

IUPUI (5-4) led the entire second half until a Kuksiks trey tied the game at 55 all with 2:08 to play. From there, neither team scored the rest of the way in regulation and both teams had chances to win before overtime. Junior
Billy Pettiford helped IUPUI get the final possession in regulation when he drew a charge from Harden with 43 seconds to play.

At the other end, the Jaguars melted the shot clock down under five, but Pettiford missed an open trey from the top of the key. Junior
Jon Avery snared the offensive rebound, allowing the Jaguars to take the final shot, but Patterson missed a running 12-footer as the horn sounded. 

ASU built a 59-55 lead with 2:12 left on a Derek Glasser runner, but Patterson responded with a step-back three on the next possession in overtime. The Jaguars got a steal from
Leroy Nobles at the other end, but Patterson's three from the right wing rattled out with 49 seconds left. 

John Ashworth steal gave IUPUI the ball with under 12 second left, but Young came up empty after a timeout. 

Young hit 7-of-12 shots, including 4-of-8 from three-point range, in 27 minutes work. He and Patterson helped stake IUPUI to an 18-point first half lead. The Jaguars still led 34-18 at intermission, but ASU came out hot in the second half. 

ASU got four threes in in succession to cut IUPUI's lead to 46-40 with 10:53 left. A mini 6-0 run, capped by back-to-back
Jon Avery layups pushed the lead back to 12, but the Sun Devils responded by outscoring IUPUI 15-3 over the final eight-plus minutes. 

Kuksiks' 18 points came on 6-of-11 shooting from three-point range. Ty Abbott added 12 and Jeff Pendergraph finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds. 

As a team, ASU hit 12-of-30 (40.0 percent) from three and 43 percent from the floor. IUPUI shot 48 percent overall and 39 percent from three. The Jags outscored ASU 24-18 in the paint, keyed by Avery's nine points and seven rebounds in a career-high 45 minutes.

The loss dropped IUPUI to 0-7 all-time against ranked opponents and 0-2 against teams from the Pac-10 Conference.  

The Jaguars return to action next Saturday when they head to New Jersey to take on Seton Hall.


by Ed Holdaway - IUPUI