Men's Hoops Travels To Los Angeles With 4-3 Pac-10 Record

Jan. 28, 2008

(Note: The full ASU release will be posted Tuesday afternoon at this site. If you would like the PDF e-mailed to you, please e-mail tammaro@asu.edu.)

SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, 14-5 and 4-3 in thePac-10 under second-year coach Herb Sendek, hits the road to take on two ofthe hottest teams in the nation this weekend as it plays at fifth-rankedUCLA on Thursday, Jan. 31, and then battles USC on Saturday, Feb. 2 (7:30p.m. PT for both games). ASU fell out of the rankings this week afterdropping three straight. Before the three-game skid, ASU had won 10straight, including wins over Xavier, Arizona, Oregon and at California, theprogram's best streak since an 11-game run in 1980-81. After starting lastyear 6-19, ASU is 16-8 in its past 24 games. The Sun Devils will try to improve onCoach Sendek's 31 career wins against ranked teams, including sevenvictories over top-five opponents, and he has posted 13 wins vs. rankedteams in the past five seasons. The UCLA game will mark just the second timein school history the Sun Devils will play back-to-back games against top 10opponents during the regular season (ASU fell to sixth-ranked WashingtonState Saturday). The only other time ASU played back-to-back games againsttop-10 teams in the regular season was in 2003-2004, when ASU fell tofourth-ranked Arizona 93-74 on Jan. 3 and then fell to fourth-rankedStanford after the rankings came out a week later 63-62 on Jan. 8. Prior tothat the last time ASU played back-to-back games against top-10 teams waswhen it won at top-ranked Oregon State 87-67 on March 7, 1981, and then fellto fifth-ranked Kansas, 88-71, on March 14 in the NCAA Tournament.

HOW TO WATCH AND LISTEN: FSN Prime Ticket (653 on Direct TV) will have thelive broadcast of the ASU-UCLA game on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. PT, and FSNArizona will replay the game at 11:30 p.m. MT. FSN Arizona will televise theUSC game live Saturday at 7:30 p.m./8:30 p.m. MT. The radio call will be onFM News/Talk 92.3 FM on Thursday and on Sports 620 KTAR-AM on Saturday.

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 (18.8 ppg./fifth inPac-10), steals (1.89 per game/first in Pac-10) and minutes per game (33.1).He is shooting .546 from the field, .765 from the free throw line (10th inPac-10) and .420 from the three-point stripe. Harden is the first McDonald'sAll-American to sign with ASU out of high school since 1984 (it was ChrisSandle before you ask). He has 10 20-point games, including five straightgames from Dec. 29-Jan. 17 which is a first for an ASU freshman. He isaveraging 22.1 points and 5.4 boards in Pac-10 games and is the only playerin the league to lead his team in scoring in each Pac-10 game. He was namedas a top 30 midseason finalist for the Wooden Award, one of just sixfreshmen on the list and one of seven Pac-10 players noted. He is trying tobecome just the fifth freshman to lead the Pac-10 in steals. The others areJason Kidd of California (3.8 spg/1993), Baron Davis of UCLA (2.4 spg/1998)and USC's Errick Craven (2.1 spg/2002) and Gabe Pruitt (1.9 spg/2005).

IN THE MIDDLE: Junior Jeff Pendergraph already has 31 blocks (he had 45total in his first two seasons) and is shooting .622 from the field (secondin the Pac-10) and .805 from the free throw line (sixth in the league). Hehas three double-doubles this year and 16 in his career. A preseason WoodenAward Top-50 candidate, Pendergraph led the team in scoring (12.1) andrebounding (9.1) last year, as his rebounding average matched thesecond-best mark by a Sun Devil in the past 26 seasons.

RANKINGS NOTE: For the first time since the final poll of the 1995 season(March 13) the Sun Devils hit the Associated Press rankings, as they wereNo. 22 and also No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches' poll on Jan. 14. ASU wasranked No. 24 in the Jan. 21 AP poll. Coach Sendek had the Sun Devils in therankings in his second year, two years prior to his rebuilding effort at NCState that resulted in five straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2002-06).

QUICK TEAM STUFF: ASU's 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 who is second in the league infield goal percentage (.622) and sixth in free throw percentage (.805)...ASUranks first in the league in steals (7.05) and second in turnover margin(+2.26) and turnovers per game (11.9/12th in nation)...the Sun Devils alsorank 21st in scoring defense (59.7 ppg.)...last year ASU won at California42-41 on the last day of the regular season. This year it almost doubled thepoints as the game was tied 81-81 at the end of regulation before ASU won99-90 in double overtime.

NATIONALLY: ASU nationally is 21st in scoring defense (59.7 ppg.), 26th infield goal percentage (.483), 12th in turnovers per game (11.9 per game) and30th in free throw percentage (.744). Sophomore Derek Glasser leads thePac-10 and ranks second in the nation in assist/turnover ratio at 3.59 pergame.

FRESHMEN: Freshmen accounted for 69 of 150 starts in Herb Sendek's rookie30-game season. Through 19 games, the numbers read 122 out of 245 starts inhis 49-games. That means in his two years, ASU's has had freshmen make 49.8percent of the starts. Sophomores have made 53 starts (.217), juniors 36(.146) and seniors 34 (.147). Against Xavier on Dec. 15, ASU started fourfreshmen for the first time in school history.

RECAPPING WSU: ASU jumped out to a 20-9 lead and was up 29-20 butsixth-ranked WSU went on an 18-0 run over two halves in the 56-55 Cougarwin, which saw ASU battle back from 10-point deficit with under eightminutes left...ASU had the ball in James Harden's hand with eight secondsleft but his contested running shot did not connect...Harden led all scorerswith 25 points and had five boards, four assists, three steals and twoblocks in 39 minutes...ASU matched its season high with seven blocks, fourby Jeff Pendergraph...ASU had a season-low two three-pointers and aseason-low percentage from beyond the arc at .143 (2-of-14)...ASU had justeight turnovers and had 15 assists.

RECAPPING UW: ASU allowed Washington to get to the line 28 times and grab 13offensive rebounds and the Sun Devils shot a season-low 17-of-53 (.321) fromthe floor in a 72-61 loss. ASU held a 24-15 lead but the Huskies came badkand led 32-30 at the break and ASU never tied the game after that. JamesHarden, slowed by a groin injury that didn't allow him to practice at allduring the week, led ASU with 17 as the Sun Devils lost their 11th straightto Washington.

QUICK NOTES: ASU held Pac-10 scoring leader Oregon (80.4 ppg.) to 54 pointson Jan. 3, UO's fewest points in the past 61 games. Last year ASU fell atNo. 13 Oregon 55-51 on Feb. 8, 2007, as the 55 points was a Duck season-lowlast year...ASU's 72-53 win 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...Derek Glasser has made 33-of-40 (.825) free throws this year and is68-of-85 (.800) in his 49-game career. He had a career-high nine assistsagainst Idaho on Dec. 22, the most by a Sun Devil since Antwi Atuahene had10 vs. Oregon on Feb. 11, 2006 (most in past 55 games). Glasser has 63assists and just 12 turnovers in the past 13 games and has 29 assists andfour turnovers in Pac-10 play...Jerren Shipp matched a career-best with nineboards at California and played a career-best 42 minutes against Arizona onJan. 9...Christian Polk is 43-of-54 (.796) from the foul line in his 46-gamecareer...Ty Abbott has 48 three-pointers, fourth-best by a freshman in ASUhistory, and is tied for second in the Pac-10 at 2.65 three-pointers pergame...ASU has reached 70-points nine times in 19 games, last year itreached 70 points three times...James Harden has 10 20-point games,second-most in the league and tied for first among freshmen...Coach Sendekhas 31 career wins against ranked teams (14 over top-10 and eight overtop-five). He notched his first at ASU in the final chance last year as ASUtopped No. 22 USC 68-58 on Feb. 18, 2007, and won his first attempt thisyear with the 77-55 win over No. 17 Xavier on Dec. 15, the largest win overa ranked team in ASU history...against UCLA, ASU will be trying for a winover its highest ranked opponent since its 90-87 overtime win atfourth-ranked Stanford on Jan. 31, 1998. It also will be trying for itsfirst road win over a ranked team since a 69-68 victory at No. 20 UCLA onFeb. 16, 2002...ASU¹s last win over a top-10 team was Jan. 23, 2002, an88-72 win over tenth-ranked Arizona...ASU set a school record by making 73.3percent 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 McMillanstarted against Illinois on Nov. 19, the first time in school history thatthree freshmen started the opener...after averaging 58.5 points per gamelast year, ASU scored 54 in the first half against Florida Gulf Coast onNov. 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 outreboundedCal Poly 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.

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.

COACH SENDEK¹S SEVEN WINS AGAINST TOP-FIVE TEAMS
NC State 81, #3 Wake Forest 65 (ACC Tournament at Greensboro), March 11,2005
NC State 78, #1 Duke 74, Feb. 15, 2004
NC State 80, #3 Duke 71, Jan. 22, 2003
NC State 86, #2 Maryland 82 (ACC Tournament at Charlotte), March 9, 2002
NC State 81, @#4 Virginia 74, Jan. 5, 2002
NC State 86, @#1 North Carolina 72, Feb. 21, 1998
NC State 60, @#4 Wake Forest 59 (OT), Feb. 17, 1997

EXPECT THIS TO BE A STAPLE AT ASU: ASU is shooting .744 from the free throwline. In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC fourtimes in FT percentage (including three straight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004NC State led the nation and set the ACC record by shooting .799 from thecharity stripe. While at NC State, his squads shot 71.3 percent, as hispoorest FT shooting team was his first year (1996-97/.649). One good note onCoach Herb Sendek and his 2003-04 NC State team is that in the past nineseasons, that NC State team's .799 final free throw percentage is tied forthe best in the NCAA, along with St. Joseph in 2005-06.

SOLID WIN: ASU has hosted the likes of Final Four-bound Kansas in 1990-91,Final-Four bound Oklahoma State in 1994-95, Texas, Georgia, KerryKittles-led Villanova, Kenny Thomas-led New Mexico, BYU, 2006 defending BigTen Tournament champ Iowa and Louisville since 1990, but No. 17 Xavier wasthe highest ranked non-conference foe to visit ASU since No. 14 ASU beat No.7 Ohio State 71-58 on Dec. 20, 1980. Xavier also was the firstnon-conference ranked foe to visit Tempe since No. 18 UTEP topped ASU 60-55on Dec. 18, 1983. ASU's 77-55 win over the Musketeers is the largest over aranked team in ASU history, topping ASU's only win over the nation'stop-ranked team, an 87-67 win at Oregon State on March 7, 1981. It wasASU's highest-ranked non-conference win since Nov. 23, 1994 (97-90 win overseventh-ranked Maryland in Maui) and Xavier's worst defeat since an 80-49loss to La Salle in the 1999-2000 season. ASU's 59.5 shooting percentage isthe best against Xavier since Elite Eight-bound St. Joseph's in 2003-2004shot 60 percent. St. Joseph's went undefeated in the regular season.

ASU LARGEST MARGINS OVER A RANKED TEAM
(22)--ASU 77, #17 Xavier 55 (Dec. 15, 2007)
(20)--#5 ASU 87, @#1 Oregon State 67 (March 7, 1981)
(19)--ASU 89, #5 San Francisco 70 (Dec. 3, 1977)
(18)--ASU 71, #6 Colorado 53 (Dec. 21, 1962)
(17)--ASU 79, #13 Michigan 62 (Nov. 22, 1994)
(17)--ASU 95, #3 USC 78 (Dec. 1, 1971)

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 276-185 (.599) 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).

FRESH(MEN) STARTS: ASU freshmen made 69 starts in 2006-2007 -- ChristianPolk (26), Jerren Shipp (22) and Derek Glasser (21). The 69 starts was themost in the Pac-10, ahead of Washington (68) and USC (65). Stanford (49),Cal (48), Arizona and Oregon State (43 ), Oregon (33), Washington State (4)and UCLA (1) complete the league's 423 freshmen starts. ASU freshmen havemade 53 starts this year.

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