Men's Hoops Off To Los Angeles This Week

Jan. 12, 2009

NOTE: A PDF version of the notes will be available on Tuesday afternoon at this link.

SUN DEVILS FACE TROJANS AND BRUINS: The No. 16/15 (Associated Press/ESPNCoaches' Poll) Arizona State's men's hoops team, 21-13 and 9-9 in the Pac-10last year and 14-2/3-1 this season under third-year head coach Herb Sendek,traves back to southern California for the third time this year to face theUSC Trojans on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m. PT and then playsninth-ranked UCLA on Saturday, Jan. 17, at 12:45 p.m. on CBS, with VerneLundquist and Clark Kellogg on the call. ASU has won 10 of its past 11,including a pair of wins over 10-0 teams (vs. BYU and at Stanford). ThreeSun Devils are in double digits: James Harden (23.1, which leads the Pac-10and is tenth nationally), Jeff Pendergraph (13.6 and is fourth nationally infield goal percentage at .664), Rihards Kuksiks (10.9 and officially tops inthe NCAA rankings at 52.9 three-point percentage) with Ty Abbott (9.3) closebehind, as Kuksiks is 18-of-27 (.667) from the three-point stripe in thepast six games. ASU, ranked 15th in the nation in scoring defense at 58.3points per game, started 12-1 for first time in 34 seasons (1974-75 SunDevil squad started 15-1), is second in the nation in field goal shooting(5.19) and leads the Pac-10 and is 26th in the nation in free throw shootingat 73.9 percent (just short of school-record pace), but no player is in thenational top 85 (Jeff Pendergraph is 89th at 83.5 percent). ASU's startingfive is shooting 77.4 percent from the free throw line (205-of-265). Aftergoing 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year, the Sun Devils are 35-15(.700).

HITTING FREEBIES: ASU shot .739 from the free throw line last year, thefifth-best mark in ASU history and second-best in past 21 seasons, and isshooting at that pace this year. In his 10 seasons at NC State, CoachSendek's teams led the ACC four times in FT percentage (including threestraight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004 NC State led the nation and set the ACCrecord by shooting .799 from the charity stripe. While at NC State, hissquads shot 71.3 percent. One good note on his 2003-04 NC State team is inthe past nine seasons, that squad's .799 FT percentage is tied for the bestin the NCAA with St. Joseph in 2005-06. ASU has led the league twice in freethrow percentage, in 1997-98 and in 1986-87, shooting 74.6 percent bothyears. Two Sun Devils have led the league as Alex Austin was 69-of-80 (.863)in 1988-89 and Chris Beasley was 112-of-128 (.875) in 1983-84.ASU FREE THROW PERCENTAGE1. 1977-78 (13-14/6-8 in WAC) 75.6
2. 1954-55 (10-14/8-4 in Border) 75.4
3. 1997-98 (18-14/8-10 in Pac-10) 74.6
3. 1986-87 (11-17/6-12 in Pac-10) 74.6
5. 2008-09 (14-2/3-1 in Pac-10) (238-322) 73.9
5. 2007-08 (21-13/9-9 in Pac-10) 73.9

SHOOTING IT: ASU is averaging 9.4 three-pointers made in the past 11 games(103-of-244/.422). It leads the Pac-10 in three-pointers made per game at8.6 (19th in the nation) and is 13th in three-point shooting (.400), one ofjust six schools to be in the top 20 in both long-range bomb categories(Oklahoma State, Iowa, Creighton, Marist and Notre Dame)...ASU had fiveplayers in double digits in back-to-back games (Dec. 23 vs. Idaho State andDec. 29 vs. Central Connecticut State) for first time since February of 2004and also had five against Oregon on Jan. 10...ASU shot 16-of-18 (.889) fromthe field in the second half against Oregon State...ASU shot 65.3 percentfrom the field in its Dec. 29 win over Central Connecticut State, including14-of-14 from inside the three-point arc in the first half...ASU hit aschool-record 17 three-pointers in its 90-55 Dec. 23 win over IdahoState...ASU also leads the Pac-10 and is 17th in the nation at 17.6 assistsper game.

SUN DEVIL DATA: James Harden has four 30-point games on the year, the mostby a Sun Devil since Ike Diogu had six in 2004-2005. ASU is now 21-5 whenHarden scores at least 21 (7-2 this year). After starting the season 2-of-14(.143) from the three-point stripe in the first four games, he is 28-of-58(.483) in the past 12 games...ASU is 10-6 in the past two seasons in 10points or less games after going 4-17 in Herb Sendek's first year...aftergoing 10-29 in Herb Sendek's first two seasons when trailing at the half,ASU is 3-0 this year as it trailed at San Diego State and vs. IUPUI andBYU...ASU has now won five straight overtime games under Herb Sendek afterits 59-58 overtime win over IUPUI on Dec. 14. Last year ASU was 4-0 inovertime, beating LSU in Maui 87-84 (Nov. 21), topping Arizona at home 64-59(Jan. 9), winning at Cal in double overtime 99-90 (Jan. 17) and beatingseventh-ranked Stanford 72-68 in Tempe (Feb. 14)...after losing its first 10away from home (neutral or road games) in the Herb Sendek era, ASU is 13-11since, and is 6-6 in Pac-10 road games after losing its first eight...in theJan. 8 69-38 victory over Oregon State, ASU held the Huskers to 15first-half points, ASU's best first-half defensive effort since it ledOregon State 33-13 on Feb. 25, 1995...the Sun Devils are giving up 61.2points per game in Coach Sendek's 80 games...Ty Abbott has threeeight-rebound games this year, he grabbed eight rebounds in two games all oflast year...Derek Glasser is 123-of-151 (.815) from the free throw line inhis career.

NOT TAKING IT FOR FOR GRANTED: ASU had an eight-game win-streak from Nov.30-Jan. 2, its third-longest in the past 28 seasons. Last year's team won 10straight and the 2004-05 team won nine straight.

FIVE IN DOUBLES: The Dec. 23 Idaho State and Dec. 29 Central ConnecticutState games marked the first time ASU posted five players in double-digitsin back-to-back games since the 2000-2001 season. ASU won at Oregon State73-58 on Feb. 1, 2001, with Awvee Storey (17), Donnell Knight (13), AltonMason (12), Tommy Smith (10) and Chad Prewitt (10) leading the way. OnSunday, Feb. 4 at Oregon, Storey led six players in double digits with 23 ina 99-72 win. Mason (17), Smith (15), Prewitt (15), Knight (10) and Redhage(10). ASU also placed five in double digits in the 76-58 Oregon win on Jan.10.

STEADY JEFF: Jeff Pendergraph, who earned his B.S. in Economics in Decemberin just three and a half years and has 101 career starts, is shooting .767from the free throw line in his career (300-of-391) and is 47-of-57 (.825)on the year. He has 1,296 points in 107 career games (12.1 points per game)and 769 career rebounds (7.2 per game). He has 22 career double-doubles(four this year). Pendergraph is fourth in the nation shooting at 66.4percent. That means he has taken 128 field goals (made 85) and 57 freethrows (made 47) and has missed just 53 shots.

SHOOT IT KUKSIKS: In ASU's past 10 games, sophomore Rihards Kuksiks, whoranks first in the nation in three-point percentage at 52.9, is averaging12.9 points and 4.8 boards, including 33-of-58 (.569) from the three-pointstripe. He has 279 points and 17 double-figure scoring games in his past 28contests (9.9 ppg.) dating to last year after scoring 42 points in the first22 games last season. The sophomore had the best game of his career on Dec.14 in ASU's one-point overtime win over IUPUI. He matched his career highwith 18 points (set previous game on Dec. 8 against Nebraska after settingthen-career high with 16 vs. Jackson State on Dec. 4, so yes, that was threestraight career-highs), made a career-high six three pointers, grabbed acareer-best nine boards (after a then career-high six boards againstNebraska), matched a career-high with four assists and had a career-highthree steals. He has posted double digits in eight of his past nine games.

ONE-POINT GAMES: The Dec. 20 BYU and Dec. 14 IUPUI contests marked for thefirst back-to-back one-point games for ASU since 2005-2006, as ASU lost to#7 UCLA 61-60 on Jan. 7 just two days after losing 66-65 to USC. Prior tothat, the last back-to-back one-point games were an 87-86 loss at #6 UCLA onJan. 10, 1983, which was followed by a 75-74 loss at Washington State onJan. 13, 1983. The BYU and IUPUI tilts marked the first-time in ASU historythe Sun Devils posted back-to-back one-point wins. ASU is now 3-2 under HerbSendek in one-point games.

BIG ROAD WIN: ASU's 30-point win (90-60) at Stanford on Jan. 2 is thethird-largest Pac-10 road win in ASU's 31 Pac-10 seasons (272 road games)and largest since a 33-point win at Washington State (87-54) on Feb. 6,2003.ASU'S BIGGEST ROAD WINS IN PAC-10 HISTORY (31st SEASON)
36--ASU 91, Cal 55 (Feb. 3, 1979)
33--ASU 87, Washington State 54 (Feb. 6, 2003)
30--ASU 90, Stanford 60 (Jan. 2, 2009)
28--ASU 90, Washington 62 (Jan. 10, 1981)
27-ASU 99, Oregon 72 (Feb. 4, 2001)

BIG GAME JAMES: James Harden, the most heralded Sun Devil southpaw sincePhil Mickelson became the first player to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week inback-to-back weeks (Nov. 24 and Dec. 1) since Washington's Brandon Roynotched the feat in February of 2006 in three straight weeks...first SunDevil to score 40 points (against UTEP on Nov. 30) since Eddie House had 40vs. UCLA on Feb. 17, 2000, and just the third Sun Devil to notch 40 points(six occasions). Through 50 career games, Harden has led ASU in scoring 38times, rebounding 17 times and led it in assists in 21 games�has 26 career20-point games and 10 this year (ASU is 21-5/8-2)...has four 30 +point gamesthis year (33 vs. Pepperdine, 32 vs. Baylor, 40 vs. UTEP, 30 vs.BYU)�11-of-11 from the foul line vs. Charlotte and is 270-of-357 (.756) inhis career...the 19-year old Harden (born August of 1989) was the youngestplayer in the Pac-10 in 2007-08 and he led the Pac-10 with 73 steals...ASUis 7-4 in Pac-10 home games with Harden, in the prevous four years, it was9-27.

AT THE POINT: Derek Glasser is 123-of-151 (.815) from the free throw lineand has played 15 turnover free games in his 80-game career. He had acareer-high 11 assists vs. Oregon on Jan. 10 and has 85 assists and just 35turnovers on the year (2.42-to-1 ratio). He also has 316 career assists(3.95 per game), on pace to break the ASU career record of 454 set by BobbyThompson from 1983-87. Glasser is tenth on the ASU career list. In the fourconference games he is 10-of-16 (.625) from the floor, 5-of-7 (.714) fromthe three-point stripe and 9-of-10 (.900) at the free throw line. His 11assists vs. Oregon on Saturday was the most by a Sun Devil since JasonBraxton had 12 at USC on Jan. 17, 2004, a span of the past 153 games.

WAY TOO EARLY TO TALK ABOUT THIS, BUT SO WHAT: James Harden enters play thisweek tenth in the nation in scoring (23.1 points per game). Since the leagueexpanded to 10 teams in 1978-79, six Pac-10 players (seven occasions) havefinished in the national top ten in scoring, with the most recent being SunDevils (Eddie House in 1999-2000 and Ike Diogu in both 2003-2004 and2004-2005). Diogu and House both led the Pac-10 in scoring those years, asdid Sun Devil Jeremy Veal (20.8 in 1997-98) and Byron Scott (21.6 in1982-83).

VS. USC: ASU and USC met three times last year, with the Trojans winning twoincluding a 59-55 win on March 13 in the Pac-10 Tournament...James Hardenwas 21-of-30 (.700) from the floor, 6-of-11 (.545) from the three-pointstripe and 18-of-20 (.900) from the free throw line against the Trojans lastyear and averaged 22 points...in the game at the Galen Center on Feb. 2, ASUtook a 36-32 lead on five points by James Harden, but the freshman, who hadzero fouls at the half, picked up four in a span of 2:20 and USC went on an11-0 run over a 4:24 stretch with him sitting...the game had seven ties andsix lead changes in the first half...USC shot 60 percent from the field inthe second half...Harden had 24 points and Pendergraph had 21 and nineboards in the 80-66 win in Tempe on March 1 as ASU made 34-of-39 (.871) freethrows...ASU led 33-32 but went on a 29-8 run as it made 12 straight freethrows in the run...USC leads the series 46-31 and the teams have split thepast four meetings...ASU is 2-10 in its past 12 trips to USC and is 0-2 atthe Galen Center.

VS. UCLA: ASU shot just 39.6 percent in its two losses to UCLA last year,including just 13-of-37 (.351) from the three-point stripe...James Hardenwas the only Sun Devil to average in double digits against UCLA last year(10.0 points per game)...UCLA outrebounded ASU by 30 in the two games(70-40)...UCLA leads the series 56-14...ASU's last win in Pauley was on Jan.16, 2003, a 75-64 win.

RALLY CAPS: ASU has fallen behind three times this year but rallied to win.On Dec. 20 against previously undefeated BYU in Glendale, ASU was down 66-56at the 9:31 mark before outscoring BYU 20-9 for a 76-75 victory...againstIUPUI on Dec. 14, ASU was down 18 early and 34-18 at the half but came backto win 59-58 in overtime. ASU outscored the Jaguars 15-3 in the final 8:27to tie the game, as it matched the largest halftime deficit overcome in 15years as ASU came back from 45-29 against New Mexico State in Tempe (NIT) onMarch 15, 2000...ASU also trailed at San Diego State 15-2 at the 12:46 markbut outscored the Aztecs 57-37...ASU came back from double-digit deficits intwo big wins in 2007-08, as it put the brakes on a five-game losing skid indramatic fashion on Feb. 10 in Tucson, falling behind 22-6 but coming backto take a 13-point second-half lead and winning 59-54 to sweep Arizona forthe first time since 1994-95 (its first win in Tucson since March 11,1995)...on Feb. 14 against seventh-ranked Stanford, ASU was down 14 in thesecond half and seven with 1:49 left before winning 72-68 in overtime.

THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD NOTE LAST YEAR, BUT WE MISSED IT, BUT IT ISSTILL SOLID: ASU became just the second team in the 30-year history of thePac-10 to lose at least 20 games one year (ASU was 8-22 in 2006-07) and thenwin at least 20 the next season (ASU was 21-13 in 2007-08). Only Californiain 1988-89 can match the feat, as it was 9-20 in 1987-88 and 20-13 in1988-89. Miami (Fla.) also notched the feat last year, going 22-10 aftergoing 12-20 in 2006-07, the first time in the ACC's 55 seasons that hashappened. Texas A&M is the only team to do it in the 12-year history of theBig 12 , as it was 7-21 in 2003-04 and went 21-10 in 2004-05. Among theother major conferences, this manufactured note has never happened in theBig East (28 seasons), Big Ten (103 seasons) or the SEC (76 seasons).

THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 16th season as a head coach and hasaveraged 18.7 wins per season. He led the NC State Wolfpack to five straightNCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 297-195 (.605) in 16 seasons andwas 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 45-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963)Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the third-youngest coach in the Pac-10. Only Dukeposted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53victories from 2002-2006. Another overlooked note is his 10-year stay at NCState. 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/Arizona), Ralph Miller (19/Oregon State), MikeMontgomery (18/Stanford), Ben Braun (12/California) and Ernie Kent(12/Oregon).

AT HOME: ASU is 23-5 (.821) at home in the past two seasons (8-0 this year),as it won 15 home games for first time in the 32-year history of Wells FargoArena last year. It was15-5 with wins over NCAA Tournament teams Arizona,Xavier, Stanford, USC, Oregon and Coppin State.

VS. OSU: ASU set a school mark for fewest points allowed in Pac-10 game (543games) in its 69-38 win over Oregon State on Jan. 8...James Harden had 22points on 10-of-11 shooting and ASU made 16-of-18 (.889) from the floor inthe second half and had just nine turnovers while limiting Oregon State tojust 6-of-21 (.286) from the floor in the first half...ASU is shooting75-of-130 (.577) in its past three games against the Beavers and has heldOSU to 57-of-166 (.343)...OSU leads the series 38-34...ASU swept the regularseason series from the Beavers in 2007-08 for the eighth time since joiningthe Pac-10.

VS. OREGON: ASU is now 36-31 against the Ducks after its 76-58 win on Jan.10...ASU jumped out to a 41-25 halftime lead and led by as many as 26 in thesecond half...James Harden had 19 points and is averaging 20.3 pointsagainst the Ducks...ASU held the Ducks to 7-of-24 (.292) from the field inthe first half...ASU has held the Ducks to 29-of-97 (.299) from thethree-point stripe and to 58.8 points per game in the past five outings.

TREE: Herb Sendek has eight former assistants who are D-I coaches as 12-yearsidekick Mark Phelps earned the Drake spot after serving for 10 years on thestaff at NC State and for two years at ASU. Former NC State sidekick JohnGroce also earned the Ohio University position. The others are JimChristian, formerly at Kent State and now at TCU (Miami assistant from1994-96), Charlie Coles at Miami of Ohio (Miami assistant from 1994-96),Larry Hunter at Western Carolina (NC State assistant from 2001-05), RonHunter of IUPUI (Miami assistant from 1993-94), Ohio State's Thad Matta(Miami assistant in 1994-95) and Xavier's Sean Miller (assistant at bothMiami from 1994-96 and at NC State from 1996-2000). Coles, Miller and Mattaled their teams to the 2007 NCAA Tournament, then last year Christian ledKent State to the NCAAs, Miller led Xavier to the Elite Eight and Matta'sBuckeye squad won the NIT a year after going to the Final Four.

GOING BACK TO CALI: ASU will play at least nine games this year inCalifornia. It won at San Diego State (Nov. 18) and at Stanford (Jan. 2),lost at Cal (Jan. 4) and went 2-1 (wins vs. Charlotte and UTEP and loss toBaylor) in the 76 Classic in Anaheim Nov. 27-30. It also plays at UCLA andUSC and will play at least one tilt in the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles.

YOU CAN CALL IT A COMEBACK: ASU¹s 16-point comeback on Dec. 14 vs. IUPUI istied for the second-largest halftime comeback in the past 20 seasons of SunDevil hoops. ASU trailed Stanford by 17 in Palo Alto on Feb. 12, 1994(46-29) but came back to win 71-69. ASU also came back from a 16-pointdeficit on March 15, 2000, as it trailed New Mexico State 45-29 in Tempe inthe NIT before posting an 83-77 victory.HALFTIME COMEBACK DEFICITS (1989-1990 TO PRESENT/PAST 20 SEASONS)(17)-@Stanford 46, ASU 29 (Feb. 12, 1994/ASU 71, Stanford 69)(16)-IUPUI 34, ASU 18 (@Phoenix) (Dec. 14, 2008/ASU 59, IUPUI 58, OT)(16)-New Mexico St. 45, ASU 29 (March 15, 2000/ASU 83, NMSU 77, NIT)(16)-Georgia 39, ASU 23 (Dec. 29, 1989/ASU 62, Georgia 61)(16)-@Texas A&M 36, ASU 26 (Dec. 19, 1998/ASU 96, Texas A&M 91, 3OT)(10)-@USC 41, ASU 31 (Jan. 20, 1994/ASU 87, USC 62)

PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: James Harden has earned the Pac-10 Player of theWeek honor on three occasions in his two seasons. His first honor came onJan. 7, 2008, and then he earned the honor in back-to-back weeks this seasonon Nov. 24 and Dec. 1. Eddie House has earned the award the most as a SunDevil, notching the honor five times. Ike Diogu earned it four times whileMario Bennett earned it three times. Gary Payton holds the Pac-10 recordwith nine Player of the Week honors.

VS. RANKED TEAMS: Coach Sendek has 32 career wins against ranked foes,including 11 top-10 wins in his past eight seasons and seven top-five winsin his past dozen seasons. He notched his first at ASU on Feb. 18, 2007, asASU topped No. 22 USC 68-58 and won his first attempt in the 2007-08 seasonwith a 77-55 over No. 17 Xavier on Dec. 15 (largest win over a ranked teamin ASU history)...against seventh-ranked Stanford on Feb. 14, ASU beat itshighest ranked opponent since its 90-87 overtime win at No. 4 Stanford onJan. 31, 1998, and earned its first win over a top-10 team since Jan. 23,2002 (88-72 win over No. 10 Arizona in Tempe)...it also marked ASU's firstwin over a top-10 team in Tempe not named Arizona since a 68-60 win overfourth-ranked Oregon State on March 6, 1982.

MANY WINS, MANY PLACES: Herb Sendek has covered the map in wins. In hiscareer, Coach Sendek has won 294 games in 24 states, plus two wins in PuertoRico and one in Washington D.C. North Carolina (153), Ohio (51) and Arizona(32) lead the way as he has been head coach in each state, and he also hasposted wins in Florida, (seven), California (seven), Michigan (six), SouthCarolina and Virginia (five each), Georgia and Indiana (four each),Massachusetts (three), Hawaii, Texas and Maryland (two each). One-win statesare Alabama, Utah, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Nevada, Kentucky,Illinois, Washington and Oregon.

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