Men's Hoops Plays Host To Cal Saturday At 8 p.m.

Dec. 29, 2006

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SUN DEVIL DATA: A young Arizona State University basketball team (6-6; 0-1) under first-year coach Herb Sendek plays the California Golden Bears (8-5; 0-1) on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 8 p.m. on FSN Arizona. ASU fell to Stanford 71-60 in its Pac-10 opener on Thursday. Jeff Pendergraph led all scorers with 17 points and posted his sixth double-double with 11 boards while Christian Polk added 11 points. Stanford went to the line 35 times (made 24) and ASU shot just 10-of-26 (.385) from the field in the first half as the Cardinal jumped out to a 33-24 halftime lead. ASU is 20-8 (.714) vs. California in Tempe, its best record against any Pac-10 team.

PENDERGRAPH UPDATE: Sophomore Sun Devil Jeff Pendergraph is averaging a double-double in the past six games (13.7 points and 11.5 boards) while making 56 percent of his field goals (28-of-51). He grabbed 19 boards vs. Colgate on Dec. 19, the most by a Sun Devil since Mike Batiste had 20 vs. Wagner on Nov. 19, 1997.

PAC-10 NOTE: The Pac-10 is off to a good start as four league teams are ranked in the AP poll for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. UCLA (No. 1), Arizona (9), Washington (14) and Oregon (20) are all ranked and the league was 91-22 (.805) in non-league action in the first two months. Each Pac-10 team posted a winning non-conference record for just the second time since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79 and for the only time since 1988-89.

DEJA VU: As Herb Sendek enters Pac-10 play with four league teams ranked for the first time since 2001-2002 and every team posting a winning non-conference mark for just the second time in Pac-10 history, this is nothing new to him. In his first year at NC State (1996-1997), the ACC had six of its nine teams ranked at some time during the year and each posted 20 wins. North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson and Maryland all reached the top 10. The beauty of that season for Sendek is his team beat #7 Clemson on Feb. 1, won at #4 Wake Forest on Feb. 17, and then beat #7 Duke (March 7) and #22 Maryland (March 8) in the ACC Tournament. That squad won seven of its final nine games on the year en route to a NIT appearance and played 14 of its 32 games against ranked opponents.

OLD FOES: This marks the first meeting of Herb Sendek and Ben Braun in the Pac-10, but the two have met nine times before as head coaches with Coach Sendek's squads winning six. Last year, NC State topped California 58-52 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Dallas. On March 20, 2003, California topped NC State 76-74 also in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City, where ASU also was playing Memphis and Kansas. In the three seasons from 1993-1996, Coach Sendek's Miami (Ohio) squad went 5-2 against Ben Braun's Eastern Michigan teams, a solid record especially considering Braun's teams were 15-12 (10-8 in the MAC), 20-10 (12-6 in the MAC) and 25-6 (14-4 and MAC champions) those three seasons.

CAL SERIES: ASU leads the Cal series 32-29 as the home team has won 21 of the past 30 games...the Golden Bears won in Tempe on Jan. 19 88-58 in a game that was somewhat closer than the final score would indicate...ASU led 9-0 at the 15:55 mark and 16-5 at the 13:49 mark but then a close game went bad in the final 6:23, as Cal led 64-56 at the 6:23 mark but went on a 24-2 run to finish the game...ASU topped Cal 65-64 in double-overtime last year in Berkeley on Feb. 18, as the Bears entered the game 16-6 and 10-3 in league play.

SURGING: Serge Angounou tied a career high with 23 points at Xavier on Dec. 16, the fourth 20-point game of his career, including a career-best five three-pointers. After shooting 6-of-33 (.182) from the three-point stripe in his first three seasons, Angounou is 21-of-43 (.488) from beyond the arc and is averaging 12.8 points and 9.4 rebounds in the past seven games, including a 18-of-36 (.500) mark from beyond the arc with three double-doubles on the year.

YOUNG GUYS: Four true freshmen Sun Devils are combining to average 84.7 minutes and ASU's top four players in minutes and points per game are freshmen and second-year players. Freshman Jerren Shipp (29.5 minutes per game/ points per game) and sophomore Jeff Pendergraph (30.6 mpg./12.1 ppg.) lead the team in minutes per game, while junior and second-year player Antwi Atuahene (28.7 mpg./8.4 ppg.) has started 10 games. In addition to that trio, freshman Christian Polk leads the team in scoring (14.4 ppg.) and is third in minutes per game (28.8). Coach Sendek has started five lineups and has had six Sun Devils (Shipp, Steve Jones, Pendergraph, Angounou, Atuahene and Polk) lead the team in scoring.

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 260-164 (.613) 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 10-year stay 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.

FREE THROW SHOOTING WILL GET BETTER: In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in free throw percentage, including a stretch of three straight seasons from 2002-2004. In 2004 his NC State squad led the nation and set the ACC record by shooting .799 from the charity stripe. His team last year shot .751 (second in the ACC to Duke) and was 16th in the nation. His poorest free throw shooting team was his first year (1996-97) when they shot 64.9 percent. While at NC State, his Wolfpack squads shot 71.3 percent.

DEVIL DATA: No ASU opponent has scored 100 points in Wells Fargo Arena since Feb. 27, 1988, when third-ranked Arizona topped ASU 101-73, a span of the past 311 home games...with Allen Morill earning his degree this December, ASU now has three players on its roster who already have graduated as Robby Alridge and Serge Angounou each earned their diplomas last spring...Christian Polk has four 20-point games and already has made 28 three-pointers, matching Tanner Shell (2002-2003) for eighth place on the ASU freshman three-pointer list. Ron Riley (1992-93) holds the ASU freshmen record with 66.

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