Men's Hoops Game Notes For Wednesday Game With Arizona

Jan. 7, 2008

************************************************************************************************************************SUN DEVILS (12-2; 2-0) HOSTS ARIZONA ON EIGHT-GAME WIN STREAKWed., Jan. 9 - Arizona (10-4; 1-1) 7:30 p.m. MT (FSN AZ) Ned WulkCourt/Wells Fargo ArenaThe Arizona State's men's hoops team, under second-yearcoach Herb Sendek, plays host to the Arizona Wildcats (10-4; 1-1) onWednesday, Jan. 9, at 7:30 p.m. MT (KKNT 960 AM/FSN Arizona). ASU is 2-0 inthe Pac-10 for the first time since 1987-88 (4-0) and just the third time inits 30 years of Pac-10 play (other time was 6-0 in 1979-80) and is on aneight-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 26seasons (1981-82 to present). After starting 6-19 last year, ASU is 14-5 inits past 19 games as its roster has an interesting mix as it includes onesenior, five freshmen, three sophomores who played 87.3 minutes per gamelast year (with Pac-10 leading 69 freshmen starts) and one of college hoopsrising players in 6-9 junior Jeff Pendergraph. A preseason Wooden AwardTop-50 candidate, Pendergraph led the team in scoring (12.1) and rebounding(9.1) last year, as his rebounding average matched the second-best mark by aSun Devil in the past 26 seasons. ASU ranks first in the league inassist/turnover ratio (1.28) and steals (7.57 per game) and turnover marginand second in turnover margin (+2.93), field goal percentage (.503) and freethrow percentage (.756). ASU is 10-0 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(turned 18 on Aug. 26), who leads the team in scoring (17.6 ppg.), steals(25 which leads Pac-10) and minutes per game (31.0) and is shooting .559from the field (ninth in Pac-10), .802 from the free throw line (eighth inthe Pac-10) and .471 from the three-point stripe (eighth in Pac-10). Hardenis the first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out of high schoolsince 1984 (it was Chris Sandle before you ask).

IN THE MIDDLE: With 10 of the Sun Devil games being margins of at least 15points, Jeff Pendergraph is averaging just 26.3 minutes per game but healready has 19 blocks and is shooting .684 from the field (tops in thePac-10) and .806 from the free throw line (seventh in the league). His bestouting this year was a 25-point, 10-board scene stealer against LSU's longfront line in the third game of Maui Invitational. In his past five games heis averaging 19.4 points and 8.4 boards and is 31-of-39 (.795) from thefield and 35-of-42 (.833) from the foul line. He has three double-doublesthis year and 16 in his career.

QUICK NOTES: ASU held Pac-10 scoring leader Oregon to 54 points on Jan. 3,UO's fewest points in the past 55 games. Last year ASU fell at No. 13 Oregon55-51 on Feb. 8, 2007, as the 55 points was a Duck season-low lastyear...ASU's 72-53 win over on Jan. 5 over Oregon State was its biggestmargin of victory in the Pac-10 since a 108-78 win over USC on Feb. 13,2003...sophomore Derek Glasser has made 26-of-31 (.839) free throws this year and is61-of-76 (.803) in his 44-game career. After shooting 34.5 percent from thefield last year, Glasser is shooting 46.5 percent (25-of-54) this year. Hehad a career-high nine assists against Idaho on Dec. 22, the most by a SunDevil since Antwi Atuahene had 10 vs. Oregon on Feb. 11, 2006 (most in past50 games). Glasser has 47 assists and just 10 turnovers in the past eightgames...sophomore Jerren Shipp is 20-of-49 (.408) from the three-point stripe thisyear after going 36-of-107 (.336) last year. He had a career-best nineboards vs. Idaho...sophomore Christian Polk is 43-of-54 (.796) from the foul line inhis 43-game career...freshman Ty Abbott has 34 three-pointers, tied for ninth-best bya freshman in ASU history, and is tied for fourth in the Pac-10 at 2.43three-pointers per game...ASU has reached 70-points eight times in 14 games,last year it reached 70 points three times ...James Harden has seven20-point games, tied for most in the league and first amongfreshmen...Coach Sendek has 31 career wins against ranked teams (14 overtop-10 and eight over top-five). He notched his first at ASU in the finalchance last year as ASU topped No. 22 USC 68-58 on Feb. 18, 2007, and wonhis first attempt this year with the 77-55 win over No. 17 Xavier on Dec.15, the largest win over a ranked team in ASU history.

NATIONALLY: ASU ranks high nationally in a few categories, as it is eighthin scoring defense (56.5 points per game), eighth in field goal percentage(.503), 11th in turnovers per game (11.9 per game) and 13th in free throwpercentage (.756). Sophomore point guard Derek Glasser leads the Pac-10 andranks eighth in the nation in assist/turnover ratio at 3.15 per game.

TAKE IT: ASU was one of four teams who had more wins prior to Christmas thanit 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 lastyear) and UNC-Wilmington (8-4 after 7-22 last year).

FRESHMEN: ASU freshmen accounted for 69 of 150 starts in Herb Sendek'srookie 30-game season. Through 14 games, the numbers have jumped to 108 outof 220 starts in his 44-games. That means in his two years, ASU's has hadfreshmen make 49.1 percent of the starts. Sophomores have made 49 starts(.223), juniors 31 (.141) and seniors 32 (.145). 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 headcoaches: Jim Christian, Kent State, Miami Assistant (1994-96); CharlieColes, Miami (Ohio), Miami Assistant (1994-96); Larry Hunter, WesternCarolina, NC State Assistant (2001-05); Ron Hunter, IUPUI, Miami Assistant(1993-94); Thad Matta, Ohio State, Miami Assistant (1994-95) and SeanMiller, 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 .756 from the free throwline (217-of-287), as James Harden already is 69-of-86 (.802). Each of thesix Sun Devils averaging more than 15 minutes are shooting at least 73percent, and five of them are shooting better than 80 percent. In his 10seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in FTpercentage (including three straight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004 NC State ledthe 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 shootingteam was his first year (1996-97/.649). ASU is second in the league in FTshooting while Jeff Pendergraph is seventh (.806) and James Harden is eighth(.802).

ACADEMICALLY SPEAKING: The men's basketball team had another strong outingin the classroom this fall, as it posted a 2.91 grade point average and itscumulative GPA for the roster is now 2.95. In addition, two more former SunDevils finished their degrees, as Bruno Claudino (2005-2007/B.I.S) and ShawnRedhage (1999-2003/B.S. in Construction) both finished their degrees inDecember of 2007. Since 2004, 13 Sun Devil men's basketball players havegraduated.

QUICKIES: ASU set a school record by making 73.3 percent of itsthree-pointers (11-of-15) against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 29. It alsoshot 72.1 percent from the field for the game (31-of-43), secon-best inschool history...James Harden, Ty Abbott and Jamelle McMillan startedagainst Illinois on Nov. 19, the first time in school history that threefreshmen started the opener...after averaging 58.5 points per game lastyear, 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 CalPoly by 29 on Nov. 26 (52-23), its best rebounding margin since a 49-19output vs. American-Puerto Rico on Nov. 26, 1997...ASU also held Cal Poly to14-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 ledthe team in charges taken with 19 last year.

NICE CARRY OVER: ASU won two of its final five last year, beating #22 USC68-58 on Feb. 18 and then winning 42-41 at Cal March 3 in the regular seasonfinale, matching the best defensive performance in ASU's 522-game Pac-10history (ASU beat UW 53-41 on Jan. 31, 1991) and the best in a Pac-10 roadgame. ASU improved throughout last year as in the second half of the Pac-10season, its scoring margin was less than a three-pointer (-2.5 per game).Although ASU went 8-22 last year and started 6-19, it is 14-5 in its past 19games.

HE HAS DONE IT BEFORE: A 32-year old head coach led Miami (Ohio) to a 71-62first-round NCAA Tournament upset of the No. 15 Arizona Wildcats in Daytonin the 59th game of his coaching career. Nearly 13 years and 397 gameslater, that former Miami head coach is ASU's head coach, Herb Sendek. That12th-seeded Miami squad was 22-6 entering NCAA Tournament action, as theRedskins were one of four teams seeded 12th or lower to win a first-roundgame in 1995.

WHEN YOU PUT IT THIS WAY, IT REALLY IS IMPRESSIVE: Herb Sendek took NC Stateto the five straight NCAA Tournaments (2002-2006) prior to ASU. To compareit to the Pac-10, only three schools can match that in the 29 seasons sinceASU and Arizona joined the league in 1978-79. Arizona (currently 23), UCLA(14 straight from 1989-2002) and Stanford (11 straight from 1995-2005) havehad NCAA Tournaments streaks of more than five, but none of the other sevenPac-10 schools have gone to the NCAAs more than three straight times sincethe league expanded to 10 teams. In fact, Cal (2001-2003), Oregon State(1980-82 and 1988-90) and Washington (1984-86 and 2004-06) are the onlyschools to have made three straight in that time frame.

'THIS' CLOSE: ASU was in 14 games decided by five points or less, the mostby an ASU squad in 23 years (1982-83 team had 17 of 33 games of fivepoints). Fifteen of ASU's games were two-possession games (six points orless). ASU was in 21 games of 10 points or less, which led the Pac-10 andwas in just nine games of 11+ point final margins, fewest in the loop.After losing five straight games by 20 total points (including three againstranked teams), ASU posted a 68-58 win over No. 22 USC on Feb. 18, its firstwin over a ranked team since March 20, 2003.

INTRIGUING SECOND HALF: In the final nine regular season games last year(second half of Pac-10) ASU was outscored by just 22 points and its sevenlosses were by one, three, four (twice), five, six and ten points. It allstarted vs. Washington on Feb. 1, when ASU fell behind 44-21 at the half butthen outscored the Huskies 40-22 in the second half and held UW to just5-of-21 (.238) from the those nine games, ASU outscored itsopponents 281-227 (31.2 to 25.7) in the second half and held them to70-of-203 (.344) from the field and 18-of-76 (.236) from the three-pointstripe...held Cal on March 3 to just 5-of-18 (.278) shooting and 16 pointsin the second half...outscored USC 47-32 in the second half on Feb. 18...ASUoutscored eventual Pac-10 Tournament champion and Elite Eight participantOregon 30-22 in the second half and just 6-of-21 (.286) shooting...ASUoutscored WSU 23-12 on Feb. 3 and held it to 4-of-20 (.200) from thefloor...14 of ASU's final 15 games were decided by 10 points or less,including its final 10.

THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 15th season as a head coach and hasaveraged 18.7 wins per season. He led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAAappearances from 2002-06 and is now 274-182 (.601) in 15 seasons and was191-132 (.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 onlysecond-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU. Only Duke posted more ACC wins(regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from2002-2006. Coach Sendek also led NC State to five 20-win seasons in hisfinal 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 in1978-79, only five coaches have coached at their schools for at least 10years: Lute Olson (24 at Arizona), Ralph Miller (19 at Oregon State), MikeMontgomery (18 at Stanford), Ben Braun (12th at California) and Ernie Kent(11th at Oregon).

FROSH STARTS: ASU freshmen made 69 starts in 2006-2007 -- Christian Polk(26), Jerren Shipp (22) and Derek Glasser (21). The 69 starts was the mostin the Pac-10, ahead of Washington (68) and USC (65). Stanford (49), Cal(48), Arizona and Oregon State (43 including redshirt freshman Josh Tarver's32 starts), Oregon (33), Washington State (4) and UCLA (1) complete theleague's 423 freshmen starts. ASU freshmen have made 39 starts this year.

D IS GOOD: The Sun Devils finished third in Pac-10 games in scoring defenseat 61.7 ppg., and the other teams in the top seven were NCAA Tournamentsquads. And it is not just a result of slowing the game down, as ASU rankedfourth in FG percentage defense (.437) in league games, despite blockingjust 23 shots in 18 games (ninth in the loop). ASU gave up just 61.8 pointsper game overall (fourth-best mark in ASU history), the lowest since 1949-50(59.8). In 44 games under Herb Sendek, ASU is giving up just 60.2 points pergame.

EXAMPLES OF THE D LAST YEAR: ASU held Oregon, who averaged 75.9 ppg., to aseason-low 55 points on Feb. 8 in Eugene and held Washington State, whoaveraging 66.9 points, to its second-lowest point total on the season in a48-47 loss on Feb. 3. On Feb. 25 against Arizona, ASU held the Pac-10's topscoring team (78.0) to 61 points. The 61 points was the fewest by UA againstASU since a 53-52 ASU win on Jan. 5, 1995. ASU held Cal (69.5 ppg.) to 41points on Mar. 3, the fewest by the Golden Bears since a 59-37 loss toWashington State on Jan. 14, 1988.

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