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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State got off to a slow start, not exactly surprising for the first game after a holiday break.
Once the Sun Devils shook out the cobwebs, they rolled to a second straight impressive win.
Shaquielle McKissic scored 13 points, Gerry Blakes added 12 and Arizona State pulled away for a 56-46 victory over Harvard on Sunday.
"We've just got to keep playing through things," McKissic said.
Arizona State (8-5) followed up a blowout win over Detroit on Tuesday with a bit of a sluggish start after the Christmas break.
The Sun Devils took control by overpowering Harvard inside, both in the post and on hard drives to the basket. The Sun Devils had a 34-14 advantage in the paint and dominated the glass, outrebounding the Crimson 40-23.
Roosevelt Scott and Savon Goodman had 10 points each for Arizona State.
"We did a good job of going inside," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "I think we can do a little better at finishing, but I thought our guys did a good job getting the ball inside."
Harvard (7-3) had an awful first half while being blown out by No. 6 Virginia in its last game. The Crimson struggled in the second half this time to lose their second straight following a six-game winning streak.
The Crimson weren't nearly as bad as they were against the Cavaliers, but hitting 6 of 23 shots in the second half quashed any hopes of catching the Sun Devils.
Wesley Saunders had 15 points and Siyani Chambers added 10 for Harvard, which went 9 for 15 on free throws and had 14 turnovers with seven assists.
"I'm sure it was their game plan to go at us in there (the paint)," Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. "And they drove it in there, not just with the post players. They got the ball to the rim, attacked the paint and we didn't do a good enough job defending them."
The Crimson had a week off to work out the kinks after one of the worst halves in Division I basketball.
Harvard matched an NCAA record with one field goal in the first half against Virginia (1 for 20) and went nearly 20 minutes without a field goal. The Crimson shot 16 percent overall and scored 27 points in the 49-point loss.
Harvard topped its first-half output with two field goals 76 seconds in against Arizona State and made 10 shots in the first half, two more than it did the entire game against the Cavaliers.
Saunders was on target after missing all seven of his shots against Virginia, scoring 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the first half. Chambers made 3 of his 4 to score 10 points in the first half after going 0 for 10 against Virginia.
The Sun Devils bounced back from a triple-overtime loss to Lehigh by routing Detroit by 39 points on Tuesday and continued to play well against Harvard.
Arizona State led 32-28 at halftime and pushed the lead to eight early in the second half.
The Sun Devils kept the Crimson at arm's length from there behind their defense, particularly on Saunders and Chambers, who went a combined 1 for 11 in the second half.
"It's obvious we're struggling," Amaker said. "We have to do better in those little areas. We didn't finish around the rim, had some layups we could have made and didn't."
Harvard: The Crimson played their second game in 20 days because of exams and the holiday break. ... Corbin Miller had a four-point play after being fouled on a 3-pointer early in the second half. ... Harvard, typically one of the nation's best free-throw shooting teams, is 18 for 37 its past two games.
Arizona State: Shaquielle McKissic hit 2 of 5 from 3-point range and is 16 for 40 on the season after going 22 for 67 last year. ... Savon Goodman also had eight rebounds in his fourth game since becoming eligible after transferring from UNLV.
Harvard plays at Grand Canyon on Tuesday.
Arizona State opens the Pac-12 season at No. 3 Arizona on Saturday.
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