Men's Hoops Hosts Pepperdine Sunday At 2 p.m.
Nov. 21, 2008
ASU MEETS WAVES: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, 21-13 and 9-9 in the Pac-10 last year and 2-0 this season under third-year head coach Herb Sendek, plays host to the Pepperdine Waves on Sunday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m. MT. Fox Sports Arizona has the television broadcast while ESPN 860 AM has the radio call. ASU, ranked in the national preseason polls for the first time since 1991-92, won the earliest road game in school history (and just its fourth true road game in November in the past 26 seasons) 59-52 at San Diego State on Tuesday (Nov. 18) by making 9-of-13 (.692) field goals and 13-of-16 (.813) free throws in the second half. ASU posted a 20-win season for just the fourth time in 27 years last year after being picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 preseason media poll. The Sun Devils return their top seven scorers and 94.6 percent of their scoring in 2008-2009 led by All-Pac-10 selections James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph. ASU notched wins over RPI top-60 teams Xavier (9), Stanford (14), USC (28), Arizona (twice, 37) and Oregon (58). Freshmen made a league-leading and school record 96 starts, played more than 47 percent of the minutes and scored more than 52 percent of the points. ASU plays Pepperdine for the first time since a 101-83 Sun Devil win on Dec. 4, 1967. Pepperdine leads the series 10-6, but ASU has won the last four.
SUN DEVIL THREE-DOT DATA: In Herb Sendek's 66 games as ASU's coach, the Sun Devils are giving up just 61.7 points per game...Ty Abbott has grabbed eight rebounds in both games this year. Last year, he grabbed eight rebounds in two games all season. He had eight at Oregon State on March 8, 2008, and had a career-best nine in a double-overtime win at Cal on Jan. 17, 2008...ASU now 8-4 in the past two seasons in games of 10 points or less under Herb Sendek after going 4-17 in his first year...Derek Glasser is 103-of-124 (.831) from the free throw line in his career...sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging nine points a game in his past 14 games dating to last season. He is 31-of-85 (.364) from the three point stripe in that time, averaging 27.6 minutes per game...ASU's win at San Diego State was just the fourth road-opening win in the past 17 seasons (and just second in past 10 seasons), with others coming in 2004-05 (at Temple), at Texas A & M (1998-99) and at Cincinnati (1997-98).
QUICK NOTES FROM SDSU GAME: ASU fell behind San Diego State (20-13 in 2007-08), which had gone 38-7 at home since 2005-06 and had won its past two games against ranked teams in Cox Arena, 15-2 at the 12:46 mark...ASU was down 44-41 but outscored the Aztecs 18-8 in the final six minutes...ASU shot .571 from the field (20-of-35) after shooting .578 (26-of-45) against Mississippi Valley State, the first time since Jan. 11-16, 2003 it had shot at least 57 percent in back-to-back games...ASU trailed 24-23 at the half, it was 10-29 in Herb Sendek's first two seasons when trailing at the half...ASU had 35 field goal attempts, its fewest since Jan. 27, 1991, when it was 19-of-33 in a 58-47 win at Stanford...ASU is now 2-1 in road games when playing as a ranked team under Herb Sendek. It entered the rankings last year in mid-January at No. 22 and beat California 99-90 in double overtime on Jan. 17 before falling at Stanford 67-52 on Jan. 19, 2008...the win was ASU's second in the past 12 tries in a November or December non-conference road game.
THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD NOTE LAST YEAR, BUT WE MISSED IT, BUT IT IS STILL SOLID: ASU became just the second team in the 30-year history of the Pac-10 to lose at least 20 games one year (ASU was 8-22 in 2006-07) and then win at least 20 the next season (ASU was 21-13 in 2007-08). Only California in 1988-89 can match the feat, as it was 9-20 in 1987-88 and 20-13 in 1988-89. Miami (Fla.) also notched the feat last year, going 22-10 after going 12-20 in 2006-07, the first time in the ACC's 55 seasons that has happened. Texas A&M is the only team to do it in the 12-year history of the Big 12 , as it was 7-21 in 2003-04 and went 21-10 in 2004-05. Among the other major conferences, this manufactured note has never happened in the Big East (28 seasons), Big Ten (103 seasons) or the SEC (76 seasons).
FIRST GAME NOTES: James Harden's 10 assists vs. Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 14 is the most by a Sun Devil in the Herb Sendek era (now 66 games) and the most by a Sun Devil since Antwi Atuahene had 10 vs. Oregon on Feb. 11, 2006 (past 72 games)...the MVSU game was the first time that ASU didn't have a freshman in the starting lineup since Dec. 10, 2005, a 75-71 loss to Utah Valley State, a span of the past 87 games. In the previous three years nine freshman had earned 198 starts and 165 out of 320 in the Herb Sendek 64 game-era entering MVSU contest. In his first two years, ASU had freshmen make 51.6 percent of the starts...James Harden's 24 points is the most by a Sun Devil in an opener since Ike Diogu also had 24 vs. Jackson State on Nov. 21, 2004.
76 CLASSIC AT ANAHEIM: ASU travels to Anaheim for the 76 Classic Nov. 27-30 and will meet Charlotte (20-14 last year with a 68 RPI) on Turkey Day (Nov. 27) at 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT on ESPNU. ASU and Charlotte have met once, with ASU winning a 91-78 decision on Dec. 30, 2000, over a Charlotte team that would eventually make the NCAA Tournament...Herb Sendek is 1-1 vs. Charlotte, losing 95-78 on Nov. 18, 2000, and then notching a 75-63 NCAA Tournament win in Oklahoma City on March 18, 2005.
AP PRESEASON RANKING NOTE: The Associated Press ranked ASU 15th in its preseason poll (Oct. 31), its first preseason AP ranking since 1991-92 (24th), the second-highest preseason ranking in school history (1963-64 team was sixth), and fourth time overall (other time was 18th in 1975-76). Last year, for the first time since the final poll of 1994-95 (March 13) ASU grabbed a spot in the Associated Press rankings, as it was No. 22 (No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches' poll) on Jan. 14. Coach Sendek had the Sun Devils in the rankings in his second year, two years prior to his rebuilding effort at NC State that resulted in five straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2002-06).
USA TODAY #15 PRESEASON RANKING NOTE: ASU is 15th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll (announced Oct. 30). USA Today started the poll in 1991-92 and that is the only year ASU has been in the preseason top 25, when it was No. 22.
POPULAR ON THE TUBE: According to Nielsen Media Research, ASU's television ratings in 2007-08 on FSN Arizona enjoyed an increase of 196% over its average rating for the previous season. The 15 Sun Devil games on FSN AZ averaged a 1.5 rating/3 share in the Phoenix market. That figure means that an average of 27,039 households in the Valley were tuning into a game. In 2006-07, the Sun Devils averaged a 0.5 rating. A rating is the percentage of all television households in a market, while the share is the percentage of those television households that actually have their sets on during the particular time. One ratings point equal 18.026 households in the Phoenix market.
OTHER RANKINGS: ASU has hit the preseason rankings and here they are...13th by Lindy's...14th by ESPN's Andy Katz...15th by Sporting News and Blue Ribbon...16th by Sports Illustrated, FoxSports.com and Athlon...18th by Dick Vitale and CBS Sports...25th by Rivals.com.
STEADY JEFF: Jeff Pendergraph had 56 blocks last year (he had 45 in his first two seasons) and shot .593 from the field (third in the Pac-10) and .799 from the free throw line (tenth in Pac-10). He has 18 double-doubles in his career. He is shooting .760 from the free throw line in his career (257-of-338). His 101 career blocks is sixth in ASU history. He became the 30th member of the ASU 1,000-point club against USC on March 1. He has 1,097 points in 93 career games (11.8 points per game) and 662 career rebounds (7.1 per game).
COACHING TREE: Herb Sendek now has eight former assistants who are D-I head coaches as 12-year sidekick Mark Phelps earned the Drake top spot last spring after serving for 10 years on Coach Sendek's staff at NC State and for two years at ASU. Former NC State sidekick also John Groce earned the Ohio University position. The others are Jim Christian, formerly at Kent State and now at TCU (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Charlie Coles at Miami of Ohio (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Larry Hunter at Western Carolina (NC State assistant from 2001-05), Ron Hunter of IUPUI (Miami assistant from 1993-94), Ohio State's Thad Matta (Miami assistant in 1994-95) and Xavier's Sean Miller (assistant at both Miami from 1994-96 and at NC State from 1996-2000). Coles, Miller and Matta all led their teams to the 2007 NCAA Tournament, then last year Christian led Kent State to the NCAAs, Miller led Xavier to the Elite Eight and Matta's Buckeye squad won the NIT a year after going to the Final Four.
STUFF TO KNOW: ASU was led in scoring by the most famous Sun Devil southpaw since Phil Mickelson, James Harden, who had an ASU freshman record 16 20-point games (seventh-best in school history and tied for third-best in the Pac-10). The 19-year old Harden (born August of 1989) was the youngest player in the Pac-10 in 2007-08 as his 17.8 points per game is second-best in ASU freshman history and he led the Pac-10 with 73 steals, fifth-best by a freshman in Pac-10 history...ASU was 5-4 at home in Pac-10 games after going 9-27 in Tempe the previous four seasons...ASU has gone 25-16 (.609) after starting Herb Sendek's first year 6-19.
THIEF: James Harden set the Pac-10 tournament record with seven steals against USC (March 13). It is the most steals by a Sun Devil since Eddie House had seven vs. Kansas State on Nov. 24, 1998, in the Maui Invitational. It marked just the ninth time a Sun Devil had at least seven steals. Harden's 73 steals is tied for fourth-best in school history and was just three shy of the ASU record of 76 set by Fat Lever in 1981-82. He is averaging 3.3 steals in in his past seven contests dating to last year.
SLICK RICK (RIHARDS): Rihards Kuksiks averaged 26.6 minutes and 8.7 points in the final 12 games last year and made 25 three pointers, and then posted 12 points and four three-pointers in the season opener vs. MVSU on Nov. 14 and 10 points and two big three-pointers in the win at San Diego State on Nov. 18. He had 15 points in the win over seventh-ranked Stanford on Feb. 14, 15 at Washington on Feb. 23 and 10 in March 1 win vs. USC. He has 126 points in his past 13 games (9.0 ppg.) dating to last year after scoring 42 in the first 22 games.
AT HOME: ASU won 15 home games for first time in the 32-year history of Wells Fargo Arena last year, as it is was15-5 with wins over NCAA Tournament teams Arizona, Xavier, Stanford, USC, Oregon and Coppin State. ASU previously won 14 home games in 1974-75 (14-0), 1979-80 (14-3), 1980-81 (14-1), 1990-91 (14-4), 1994-95 (14-3), 1997-98 (14-4), and 1999-2000 (14-3).
NO FRESHMAN STARTING: With ASU having some experience and returning starters this year, the opening game was the first time that ASU didn't have a freshman in the starting lineup since Dec. 10, 2005, a 75-71 loss to Utah Valley State, a span of 86 games. In Coach Sendek's first two seasons, freshmen made 165 out of 320 starts in the 64 games. In his first two years, ASU freshmen made 51.6 percent of the starts.ASU FRESHMEN STARTS
DON'T COUNT THEM OUT: ASU trailed San Diego State 15-2 at the 12:46 mark but outscored the Aztecs 57-37 to win. The comeback is nothing new. The Sun Devils came back from double-digit deficits in two big wins in 2007-08, as it put the brakes on a five-game losing skid in dramatic fashion on Feb. 10 in Tucson, falling behind 22-6 but coming back to take a 13-point second-half lead and winning 59-54 to sweep Arizona for the first time since 1994-95 (and notch first win in Tucson since March 11, 1995). On Feb. 14 against seventh-ranked Stanford, ASU was down by 14 in the second half and by seven with 1:49 left before a rally put the game into overtime as ASU won 72-68. On Feb. 16 against Cal, ASU made seven three-pointers in the final 1:11 to chop an 11-point deficit to three before falling 76-73.