Defense-minded Sun Devils take early Pac-10 lead

Posted: Updated:
By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Midway through his 8-22 debut season at Arizona State, Herb Sendek figured it was time to try something new.

How about a matchup zone defense? It was a big change for a coach raised on man-to-man principles.

Three years after Sendek's brainstorm, the Sun Devils have honed the zone and become the nation's stingiest scoring defense, conceding 54.68 points per game.

Defense is the biggest reason the Sun Devils (14-5, 4-2 Pac-10) have won four in a row and vaulted atop the Pac-10.