Men's Hoops Hosts Oregon State Saturday At 2 p.m.
Jan. 4, 2008
SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State's men's hoops team (11-2; 1-0), under second-year coach Herb Sendek, plays host to the Oregon State Beavers (6-7; 0-1) on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. MT (KTAR 620 AM/FSN) as it tries to go 2-0 in Pac-10 play for the just the second time in its 30 years of Pac-10 play and first time since 1987-88. ASU is on a seven-game win streak for the first time since a nine-game streak from Nov. 27-Dec. 29, 2004, and for just the second time in the past in the past 26 seasons (1981-82 to present). ASU's 11-2 mark is tied for its best mark through 13 games in the past 27 seasons (2004-05 went 11-2 en route to 13-2 while ASU also was 11-2 in 1994-95). Also, ASU is 9-0 at home this year after going 7-11 (.389) last year in Tempe.
REAL DEAL: ASU is led by the Pac-10's youngest player, freshman James Harden (born Aug. 26, 1989), who leads the team in scoring (17.2 ppg.), steals (25) and minutes per game (30.7) and is shooting .553 from the field (73-of-132) and .818 from the free throw line (63-of-77).
OREGON GAME: ASU won its Pac-10 opener for the fourth time in 20 seasons and just the second time in 10 seasons with its 62-54 win over the Ducks, holding Oregon to more than 30 points below its average (85.8) and to its fewest points in the past 54 contests. ASU trailed at the half 30-26 but shot 11-of-22 (.500) in the second half from the field and held the Ducks to 9-of-24 (.375). Oregon was just 2-of-17 (.118) from the three-point stripe in the game. James Harden posted his sixth 20-point game with 20 points and seven boards while Jeff Pendergraph had 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Derek Glasser had 10 points, seven boards and seven assists.
HARDEN UPDATE: Freshman James Harden has been all that was advertised early in the year. The first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out of high school since 1984 (it was Chris Sandle before you ask), he leads the team in scoring (17.2), minutes (30.7) and steals (25). The long-armed wing already has six 20-point games (already third-most by a freshman in ASU history), one double-double (15 points and 10 boards vs. Cal Poly) and is averaging 5.4 boards per game and is shooting .553 from the field (73-of-132). Entering league play he was the only player in the league in the top of the three shooting categories in the Pac-10, as he was eighth in FG%, fifth in FT% and ninth in three-point percentage.
PENDERGRAPH NOTES: With nine of the Sun Devil games being margins of at least 15 points, Jeff Pendergraph is averaging just 26.5 minutes per game but he already has 15 blocks and is shooting .670 from the field and .788 from the free throw line. His best outing this year was a 25-point, 10-board scene stealer against LSU's long front line in the third game of Maui Invitational. In his past five games he is averaging 17.6 points and 9.0 boards. He is 25-of-32 (.625) from the field in the past four games and has made 25-of-29 (.862) free throws in the past three games. He has three double-doubles this year and 16 in his career.
TAKE IT: ASU was one of four teams who had more wins prior to Christmas than it did all of 2006-2007. The list included ASU (9-2 after 8-22 last year), Iona (5-7 after 2-28 last year), Northern Colorado (5-6 after 4-24 last year) and UNC-Wilmington (8-4 after 7-22 last year).
QUICK NOTES: Derek Glasser has made 20-of-25 (.800) free throws this year and is 55-of-70 (.786) in his 43-game career. After shooting 34.5 percent from the field last year, Glasser is shooting 47.1 percent (24-of-51) this year. He had a career-high nine assists against Idaho on Dec. 22, the most by a Sun Devil since Antwi Atuahene had 10 vs. Oregon on Feb. 11, 2006 (most in past 49 games)...sophomore Jerren Shipp is 20-of-45 (.444) from the three-point stripe this year after going 36-of-107 (.336) last year. He had a career-best nine boards vs. Idaho...sophomore Christian Polk is 43-of-54 (.796) from the foul line in his 43-game career...freshman Ty Abbott is averaging 14.2 points in his past five games.
FRESHMEN: ASU freshmen accounted for 69 of 150 starts in Herb Sendek's rookie 30-game season. Through 13 games, the numbers have jumped to 106 out of 215 starts in his 43-game tenure with at least three freshmen starting in the first eight games. That means in his two years, ASU's starting lineup has had freshmen make 49.3 percent of the starts. Sophomores have made 47 starts (.219), juniors 30 (.140) and seniors 32 (.149). Against Xavier on Dec. 15, ASU started four freshmen for the first time in school history.
THE TREE: Herb Sendek has six former assistants who are currently D-I head coaches: Jim Christian, Kent State, Miami Assistant (1994-96); Charlie Coles, Miami (Ohio), Miami Assistant (1994-96); Larry Hunter, Western Carolina, NC State Assistant (2001-05); Ron Hunter, IUPUI, Miami Assistant (1993-94); Thad Matta, Ohio State, Miami Assistant (1994-95) and Sean Miller, Xavier, Miami (1994-96) and NC State Assistant (1996-2000). Coles, Miller and Matta all led their teams to the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
EXPECT THIS TO BE A STAPLE AT ASU: ASU is shooting .753 from the free throw line (192-of-255), as James Harden already is 63-of-77 (.818). Each of the six Sun Devils averaging more than 15 minutes are shooting at least 73 percent, and four of them are shooting better than 80 percent. In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in FT percentage (including three straight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004 NC State led the nation and set the ACC record by shooting .799 from the charity stripe. While at NC State, his squads shot 71.3 percent, as his poorest FT shooting team was his first year (1996-97/.649).
ACADEMICALLY SPEAKING: The men's basketball team had another strong outing in the classroom this past fall, as it posted a 2.91 semester grade point average and its cumulative GPA for the roster is now 2.95. In addition, two more former Sun Devils finished their degrees, as Bruno Claudino (2005-2007/B.I.S) and Shawn Redhage (1999-2003/B.S. in Construction) both finished their degrees in December of 2007. Since 2004, 13 Sun Devil men's basketball players have graduated.
QUICKIES: ASU is now 5-8 Pac-10 opening games in Tempe after Thursday's win...Ty Abbott's 34 three-pointers already is tied for ninth on ASU freshmen list...ASU set a school record by making 73.3 percent of its three-pointers (11-of-15) against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 29. It also shot 72.1 percent from the field for the game (31-of-43), second-best in school history...James Harden, Ty Abbott and Jamelle McMillan started against Illinois on Nov. 19, the first time in school history that three freshmen started the opener...after averaging 58.5 points per game last year, ASU scored 54 in the first half against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 28. The 54 first-half points (most since 58-30 lead against USC on Feb. 13, 2003) was more than it scored in 10 games last year...ASU outrebounded Cal Poly by 29 on Nov. 26 (52-23), its best rebounding margin since a 49-19 output vs. American-Puerto Rico on Nov. 26, 1997...ASU also held Cal Poly to 14-of-55 (.255) from the floor, its best defensive effort since Dec. 2, 2000, when it held eventual NCAA Tournament bound BYU to 15-of-59 (.254), then held Delaware State to .208 shooting (11-of-53)...Jeff Pendergraph led the team in charges taken with 19 last year.
OSU VS. ASU: OSU leads the series 38-31 and has won three straight as they swept the season series last year for the first time since 1991-92...ASU had won its past eight against Oregon State in Tempe before the Beaver win last January, its first in Tempe since Jan. 22, 1998...against Oregon State last year in a 67-59 loss in Tempe on Jan. 13, Jeff Pendergraph had 19 points and 10 boards but had two fouls within the first four minutes of the game which limited his playing time to 28 minutes...ASU led 35-27 early in the second half but went 10-of-33 (.303) from the field in the second half...ASU had a season-high 23 offensive rebounds, its most in a Pac-10 game since it had 24 at Washington in a 70-68 overtime loss on Jan. 11, 2001...OSU posted 40 second-half points, the most against ASU last year, and also had eight blocks while ASU had none...in Corvallis on Feb. 10, ASU led 48-45 at the 8:56 mark but was outscored 14-7 the rest of the way in a 59-55 Beaver win...there were 10 ties and 10 lead changes...OSU was the Pac-10's worst free throw shooting team last year, but it was 32-of-42 (.762) against ASU and 154-of-285 (.540) in its other 16 league games.
NICE CARRY OVER: ASU won two of its final five last year, beating #22 USC 68-58 on Feb. 18 and then winning 42-41 at Cal March 3 in the regular season finale, matching the best defensive performance in ASU's 522-game Pac-10 history (ASU beat UW 53-41 on Jan. 31, 1991) and the best in a Pac-10 road game. ASU improved throughout last year as in the second half of the Pac-10 season, its scoring margin was less than a three-pointer (-2.5 per game). Although ASU went 8-22 last year, it is 13-5 in its past 18 games.
D IS GOOD: The Sun Devils finished third in Pac-10 games in scoring defense at 61.7 ppg., and the other teams in the top seven were NCAA Tournament squads. And it is not just a result of slowing the game down, as ASU ranked fourth in FG percentage defense (.437) in league games, despite blocking just 23 shots in 18 games (ninth in the loop). ASU gave up just 61.8 points per game overall (fourth-best mark in ASU history), the lowest since 1949-50 (59.8). In 43 games under Herb Sendek, ASU is giving up just 60.4 ppg.
THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 15th season as a head coach and has averaged 18.7 wins per season. He led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 273-182 (.600) in 15 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 44-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the second-youngest coach in the Pac-10 behind only second-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU. Only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from 2002-2006. Coach Sendek also led NC State to five 20-win seasons in his final seven years. Another overlooked note 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 (24 at Arizona), Ralph Miller (19 at Oregon State), Mike Montgomery (18 at Stanford), Ben Braun (12th at California) and Ernie Kent (11th at Oregon).