Men's Hoops Travels To Minnesota For Early Tip On Saturday

Nov. 30, 2006

SUN DEVIL DATA: A young Arizona State University basketball team under first-year coach Herb Sendek hits the road for the first time as it travels to Williams Arena to battle the Minnesota Golden Gophers at noon CT (11 a.m. Arizona Time) on Saturday, Dec. 2. FSN Arizona will broadcast the game in the desert, with Trey Bender and Tom Kuyper calling the game on the tube and Tim Healey and Russ Pennell making the call for the Sun Devil Network. After starting the season 1-2, ASU has put together three straight wins, including a 67-64 comeback win over defending Big Ten Tournament champion Iowa on Sat., Nov. 25. The Sun Devils trailed 60-48 with under six minutes left but had four players hit three-pointers and outscored the Hawkeyes 19-4 down the stretch. The Pac-10 has won its past 28 games (all 19 last week and 8-0 this week) and is 2-0 against the Big Ten this year heading into play this weekend.

YOUNG GUYS: Youth is being served this year for ASU, as four true freshmen are combining to average 86.8 minutes and ASU's top four players in minutes and points per game are freshmen and second-year players. Freshman Jerren Shipp (32.3 minutes per game/12.0 points per game) and sophomore Jeff Pendergraph (27.8 mpg./10.5 ppg.) are the only two players to start each of the six games, while junior and second-year player Antwi Atuahene (26.5 mpg./7.3 ppg.) has started four games. In addition to that trio, freshman Christian Polk leads the team in scoring (18.0 points per contest) and is second in minutes per game (29.0). Expect different players to step up and get opportunities, as Coach Sendek already has started four lineups and has had four Sun Devils (Shipp, Steve Jones, Pendergraph and Polk) lead the team in scoring.

HOW YOUNG, YOU ASK?: The Sun Devils top two minutes-per-game leaders are both freshmen, as Jerren Shipp (32.3) and Christian Polk (29.0 minutes per game) both have been on the court a lot through the six games-in-16 days slate that began the season. Although season records are tough to compare this early, it is probably worth noting that Byron Scott set the ASU freshman record at 32.3 minutes per game in 1979-80. Other notable ASU freshmen minutes per game numbers include Ike Diogu (32.2 in 2002-03), Eddie House (29.5 in 1996-97) and Jamal Faulkner (29.1 in 1990-91). Faulkner, Scott and Diogu were all named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year while House was an All-Freshmen Team selection. ASU has seven players averaging at least 11 minutes, and four of them are in their first year of D-I compeition. In addition to Shipp and Polk, Steve Jones (who did not play last year but was on the team) is averaging 11.0 minutes while true freshmen Derek Glasser is averaging 19.8 minutes (24.3 minutes in his past three games).

COACH Herb Sendek: Former NC State and Miami (Ohio) leader Herb Sendek is in his 14th season as a head coach as he led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06. Coach Sendek is 258-160 (.617) in 14 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 43-year old Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the second-youngest coach in the Pac-10 behind only first-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU, yet his 254 career wins and six NCAA Tournament wins entering this year were fourth in the league. In the previous five seasons only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories. Coach Sendek also led NC State to five 20-win seasons in the past seven years. Another overlooked note on Coach Sendek is his longevity at NC State. To compare it to the Pac-10, since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79, only five coaches have coached at their schools for at least 10 years: Lute Olson (Arizona), Mike Montgomery (Stanford), Ralph Miller (Oregon State) and Ben Braun (California), while Ernie Kent (Oregon) is in his 10th season in 2006-2007.

NOTES ON THE COMEBACK WIN OVER IOWA: A couple of good notes from the Iowa comeback win include ASU winning a close game, as in the past decade the Sun Devils were 21-30 in games decided by three points or less and 8-13 in the past four seasons. Also, after sending Portland State to the foul line 36 times and being whistled for 27 fouls just a week earlier (Nov. 18), ASU committed 13 fouls against Iowa and the Hawkeyes shot just five free throws. In its 19-4 run in the final 5:35 (ASU was down 60-48), ASU had four players make a three-pointer (Shipp, Polk, Glasser and Serge Angounou) and also manufactured a pair of hoops from Jeff Pendergraph. On the final six buckets, ASU had four players notch assists.

EVERYONE CAN SHOOT IT: After shooting 6-of-33 (.182) from the three-point stripe in his first three seasons, Serge Angounou is 6-of-14 (.429) from beyond the arc. Antwi Atuahene is 3-of-9 (.333) after shooting 3-of-12 (.250) all of last season.

GOOD NOTE: When Jerren Shipp (23) and Christian Polk (22) each scored 20 points against NAU on Nov. 13, it marked only the second time in ASU history two freshmen scored 20 points. The other time was last season when Jeff Pendergraph and Sylvester Seay each scored 21 points vs. Oregon on Feb. 11, 2006.

FRESHMEN NOTE AGAIN: Against Iowa on Nov. 25, ASU started three freshmen (Jerren Shipp, Christian Polk and Derek Glasser) for the first time since Feb. 12, 2000, when Kyle Dodd, Shawn Redhage and Tommy Smith did the trick in an 81-67 win at Washington. It was just the second time in 15 seasons three freshmen started for ASU.

BUSY 12 MONTHS: Sophomore Jeff Pendergraph, who has increased his weight to 230 after being listed at 195 last year, posted 10 offensive boards against Portland State (most by a Sun Devil in more than a decade) en route to a career-high 13 boards. Not only did he gain weight, but he has become stronger (improved bench press from 185 to 280) and maintained his conditioning level with a recent mile run of 5:47. Worth noting on Pendergraph is that last year at this time, he had just started playing, as he missed fall conditioning and most of November due to surgery to remove a benign tumor in his left leg, and did not play until Nov. 26. He finished fourth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (league games) shooting 51.5 percent (87-of-169). Among Pac-10 freshmen, he was second in the league in points (10.9 pg), third in rebounds (6.1), third in field goal percentage (.494) and first in blocks (0.85). Pendergraph has 17 double-figure scoring games in his 33-game career (10 of past 15) and is averaging 11.8 points and 8.1 boards in his past 12 outings dating to last season. He matched his career-high with 21 points vs. Portland State and has six career double-doubles (two this year).

FRESHMEN NUMBERS: ASU's four true freshmen are averaging 86.8 minutes per game (21.7 per player), currently the third-most among a class in ASU history. In 1999-2000, ASU had six freshmen average 96.8 minutes per game (16.1 minutes per freshmen). In 1983-84, six freshmen combined for 88 minutes per game (14.7 per Sun Devil), while in 1990-91 ASU's four freshmen averaged 80.6 minutes (20.2 per player).

YOUTH MOVEMENT: With ASU losing its top two scorers from last season in guards Kevin Kruger (15.0 ppg.) and Bryson Krueger (12.3 ppg.) in the middle of the summer, ASU's three true freshmen perimeter players (Christian Polk, Jerren Shipp and Derek Glasser) are getting their chances for quality playing time. Both Shipp and Polk started the season opener, becoming just the fifth and sixth freshmen to start a season opener in 14 seasons, joining Tron Smith and Keith Wooden (2003-2004), Ike Diogu (2002-2003) and Donnell Knight (1999-2000). It marked just the second time two Sun Devil freshmen had started an opener in the past 15 seasons.

FRESHMEN STARTERS ON OPENING NIGHTIN PAST 20 SEASONS (1987-88 to 2006-07)YEAR	FRESHMAN OPENING DAY STARTERS1990-1991:	Jamal Faulkner, Stevin Smith1991-1992:	Mario Bennett, Tony Ronaldson1992-1993:	Ron Riley1999-2000:	Donnell Knight2002-2003:	Ike Diogu2003-2004:	Tron Smith, Keith Wooden2006-2007:	Christian Polk, Jerren Shipp

LAST YEAR AGAINST MINNESOTA: In the Dec. 5, 2005, matchup last year against Minnesota, ASU posted season-highs in field goal attempts (72) and offensive boards (18) but also set a season-high with 32 fouls in an 85-79 overtime loss to the Gophers. Minnesota got 37 bench points from Dan Coleman (23) and Jamal Abu-Shamalu (14) while Adam Boone led the way with 28 points. Kevin Kruger led ASU with a career-high 27 points in 44 minutes, including a three-point bank shot from near the ASU bench as the buzzer sounded to tie the game and send it to overtime. Serge Angounou did not play in the contest due to a bone bruise of his left knee. Four of ASU's five starters from last year's game (Craig Austin, Bryson Krueger, Kevin Kruger and Tyrone Jackson) are gone from the Sun Devil roster. Five players fouled out for ASU.

SERIES NOTES: ASU is 1-3 against Minnesota counting last year's loss...the prior meeting was a 69-37 Minnesota win on Nov. 27, 1991, in the Maui Invitational...ASU beat Minnesota in Tempe 98-79 on Dec. 22, 1962, while Minnesota notched a 70-68 home win over tenth-ranked ASU on Dec. 20, 1961...ASU is 5-3 against Big Ten teams since the 1999-2000 season...this year's Minnesota contest is just ASU's third game at a Big Ten school since an 88-77 defeat at Ohio State on Dec. 18, 1982, joining the defeat at Northwestern on Dec. 17, 2003, and last year's Iowa loss...last year ASU was the first Pac-10 team to visit Iowa since the Hawkeyes defeated UCLA 88-71 on Dec. 22, 1990.

ARIZONA STATE VS. BIG TEN OPPONENTS (1999-PRESENT)ASU 67, Iowa 64	Nov. 25, 2006@#22 Iowa 62, ASU 43	Dec. 17, 2005Minnesota 85, ASU 79 (OT)	Dec. 5, 2005ASU 90, Northwestern 55	Dec. 20, 2004@Northwestern 63, ASU 61	Dec. 17, 2003ASU 70, Purdue 53 (Las Vegas)	Dec. 21, 2002ASU 77, Northwestern 60	Dec. 29, 2001ASU 93, Penn State 85	Dec. 29, 1999
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