At 9:33 on Saturday night, Arizona State coach Herb Sendek told his players to enjoy their 67-64 upset of Iowa until midnight. Since then, the players’ focus presumably has been on tonight’s contest against Northern Colorado.
It would be hard to blame them for enjoying the victory a bit past midnight, though. It was the team’s first big win and it came in unlikely fashion as the Sun Devils rallied from a late deficit to win on Christian Polk’s circus shot with 12.7 seconds remaining.
“I have to be completely frank with you. Any way we win is good for us,” Sendek said. “But I understand exactly what you’re saying. The fact we were down 12 (points with less than six minutes to play) and were able to come back and win the game was very significant.”
One of the keys for ASU was the play of Serge Angounou, who had his best game of the season. With Jeff Pendergraph limited to just 10 second-half minutes by foul trouble, Angounou played a career-high 31 minutes and came through with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The points and rebounds were season highs for the fifth-year senior who suffered a career-threatening knee injury in November 2002. Though he had started 59 consecutive games coming into this season, he had not played more than 25 minutes in a game until Saturday.
“The young man has a lot of miles on his tires, everyone knows about the injury he suffered,” Sendek said. “It’s amazing that he’s able to continue to do what he does. I can’t say enough for the kind of person he is or the kind of heart he has.”
For the first time since the 1999-2000 season and second time in 15 seasons, ASU started three freshmen Saturday as Derek Glasser, Christian Polk and Jerren Shipp were each on the floor at tip-off. In five games this season, Sendek has used four different starting lineups. However, he doesn’t put much stock in whether a player is on the floor or on the bench to begin a game.
“Starts are far more important to moms and girlfriends, grandmas and aunts, than they are to the coach.”
Northern Colorado at ASU
When: 6:30 p.m. today
Where: Wells Fargo Arena
TV: FSN Arizona
Radio: ESPN 860 AM
Records: Northern Colorado 1-5; ASU 3-2