Men's Hoops Hosts Wazzu and UW This Weekend

Jan. 26, 2009

COACH SENDEK ONE WIN FROM 300: The No. 14 (Associated Press and ESPN Coaches' Poll) Arizona State's men's hoops team, 21-13 and 9-9 in the Pac-10 last year and 16-3/5-2 this season under third-year head coach and 299-game winner Herb Sendek, plays host to the Washington State Cougars and the No. 23 (AP) Washington Huskies this weekend. ASU meets the Cougars Thursday at 7 p.m. MT (no TV/ESPN 860 AM) and then plays the first-place Huskies at 3:30 p.m. MT on Saturday (Jan. 31) on Fox Sports Arizona and KTAR 620 AM. ASU has won 12 of its past 14, including wins over two 10-0 teams (vs. BYU and at Stanford), a win at then ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17 (ASU trailed 54-43 with just over eight minutes to go but won 61-58 in overtime) and a win at Arizona for the second straight year (just the third in 23 seasons) to raise its road record to 4-2. Three Sun Devils are in double digits: James Harden (22.0, which leads the Pac-10), Jeff Pendergraph (13.6 and shooting 67.5 percent, tops in the Pac-10 and fourth in the nation) and Rihards Kuksiks (10.6, tops in the nation at 48.6 three-point percentage per official NCAA standards and 25-of-49/.510 from the three-point stripe in the past nine games). Pendergraph is shooting 46-of-65 (.708) from the field in Pac-10 games. After going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year, the Sun Devils are 37-16 (.698) since and giving up just 60.9 points per game in his 83 games and are second in Pac-10 in points allowed this year at 57.8 per game (WSU leads at 52.5), best by a Sun Devil team since 1948-49 (47.6). ASU is ranked second in the Pac-10 behind Cal and tied for seventh in the nation in field goal percentage (.495).

FIRST TIME IN 28 SEASONS: Arizona State did something in 19 days that no Pac-10 team had done in in the previous 27 seasons. ASU won at Stanford (Jan. 2), at UCLA (Jan. 17) and at Arizona (Jan. 21) as the last time a Pac-10 team won at those three NCAA Tournament regulars in the same season was in 1980-81 (Oregon State and USC). The only time ASU won at all three was in 1979-80. ASU was a combined 22-69 (.242) in games at Maples, Pauley and McKale entering play this year, but won all three games in a span of 19 days with a 90-60 win at Stanford, a 61-58 win at UCLA in overtime and a 53-47 grinder at Arizona.

APPROACHING 300: Even with a resume that includes coaching in 495 games at three schools, six NCAA tournaments, 12 NCAA Tournament games and having eight former assistants currently serving as head coaches at the Division-I level, ASU head coach Herb Sendek is still the third-youngest coach in the Pac-10 even with two new hires this year. Oregon State's Craig Robinson is a little older than Coach Sendek (about 10 months) while Stanford's Johnny Dawkins is about seven months younger. With one more win Coach Sendek also will become the second-youngest active coach with 300 wins, only Florida's Billy Donvan (344 wins) is younger, as he is 43 years old (born May 30, 1965).

PAC-10 COACHES BY AGE (YOUNGEST TO OLDEST)
Coach (Age), Team, Birthdate, Record/Yrs
Tony Bennett (38), WSU, 6/1/69, 63-25 (.716)/3
Johnny Dawkins (44), Stanford, 9/28/63, 13-4 (.765)/1
Herb Sendek (45), ASU, 2/22/63, 299-196/.595/16
Craig Robinson (46), OSU, 4/21/62, 38-38 (.500)/3
Russ Pennell, (48), Arizona, 11/28/60, 12-8 (.600)/1
Lorenzo Romar (50), UW, 11/13/58, 227-164 (.581)/13
Ben Howland (51), UCLA, 5/28/57, 309-148 (.676)/15
Ernie Kent (54), Oregon, 1/22/55, 307-227 (.575)/18
Tim Floyd (54), USC, 2/25/54, 319-173 (.648/16
Mike Montgomery (61), Cal, 2/27/47, 563-248 (.694)/27

AUTOMATIC: Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging 12.0 points, including 40-of-79 (.506) from the three-point stripe, in his past 13 games. He has 306 points and 18 double-figure scoring games in his past 31 contests (9.9 ppg.) dating to last year after scoring 42 points in his first 22 games. He has posted double digits in nine of his past 12 games.

WHY IS HE BEST IN NATION BUT THIRD IN PAC-10?: According to the official NCAA statistics, Rihards Kuksiks is the best three-point shooter in the nation at 48.6 percent, as there is a minimum of 2.5 made per game to qualify. According to Pac-10 statistics, a player only needs to make 1.5 attempts per game and appear in 75 percent of the team's games, so Theo Robertson of Cal (.552) and Michael Roll (.525) appear in the Pac-10 rankings but don't have enough makes to qualify nationally, and Kuksiks is third.

SHOOTING IT: ASU also leads the Pac-10 in assists (16.4 per game/tied for 18th in nation), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and is second in free throw shooting (.741) as its starting five is shooting 77.8 percent from the foul line (245-of-315)...ASU shot 16-of-18 (.889) from the field in the second half against OSU...ASU shot 65.3 percent in its Dec. 29 win over Central Connecticut State, including 14-of-14 from inside the three-point arc in the first half...ASU hit a school-record 17 three-pointers in its 90-55 Dec. 23 win over Idaho State...ASU is 24-1 when it shoots 50 percent under Herb Sendek and has won 22 straight. Its only loss was on Jan. 4, 2007, when it fell at Washington State 75-55 despite shooting 54.8 percent (23-of-42). ASU had 16 turnovers and forced just six. It was 12-0 last year and is 10-0 this year when it shoots 50 percent.

BIG WIN: ASU's win at ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17 was its first top-10 road win since it beat fourth-ranked Stanford on Jan. 31, 1998, and just the second in the past 24 seasons. ASU won at Pauley Pavilion for just the sixth time in 32 times, and just the third time in the past 22 seasons. Herb Sendek now has 33 wins against ranked teams in his career and four at Arizona State. In his past five years he has 15 wins against ranked teams and a dozen top-10 wins in his past nine seasons.

ROADIES: ASU has won at Arizona, at Stanford and at UCLA for the second time in its 31 Pac-10 seasons (1979-80). This season also marks the first time ASU has topped that trio in the same season anywhere since 1985-86. ASU also gave San Diego State its only home loss on Nov. 18, 59-52, despite trailing 15-2 early, and the Aztecs are 13-5 overall. ASU was 22-69 (.242) in games at Maples, Pauley and McKale entering play this year, but won all three games in a span of 19 days.

NO TO's: ASU had just eight turnovers in the overtime win at UCLA on Jan. 17, the fewest turnovers on the road since Feb. 12, 2005, when it also had eight at USC in an 82-71 loss, a span of the past 35 road games. Derek Glasser had zero turnovers in 42 minutes. ASU followed that up with nine turnovers at Arizona on Jan. 21.

SOLID: Derek Glasser played 42 minutes without a turnover in the Jan. 17 overtime win at ninth-ranked UCLA and followed that up with clutch shots at Arizona on Jan. 21. He is 138-of-167 (.826) from the free throw line and has played 16 turnover free games in his 83-game career. In the seven Pac-10 games he is 10-of-20 (.500) from the three-point stripe and 24-of-26 (.923) at the free throw line. In his first six games he was 2-of-13 (.154) from three-point stripe but is 18-of-34 (.529) in the past 13 games. He had a career-high 11 assists (most by a Sun Devil since Jason Braxton had 12 at USC on Jan. 17, 2004, a span of the past 155 games) vs. Oregon on Jan. 10 and has 96 assists and just 43 turnovers on the year (2.23-to-1 ratio). He has 327 career assists (3.94 per game), on pace to break the ASU record of 454 set by Bobby Thompson from 1983-87.

WINNING CLOSE ONES: ASU is 12-6 in the past two seasons in 10 points or less games after going 4-17 in Herb Sendek's first year...after going 10-29 in Herb Sendek's first two seasons when trailing at the half, ASU is 4-0 this year as it trailed at San Diego State, vs. IUPUI, vs. BYU and at Arizona...ASU has now won six straight overtime games under Herb Sendek after its 61-58 win at ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17, with four of them away from its home arean. It also beat IUPUI in Phoenix 59-58 in overtime on Dec. 14. Last year ASU was 4-0 in overtime, 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 beating seventh-ranked Stanford 72-68 in Tempe (Feb. 14)...in ASU's first season under Herb Sendek, it was 3-12 in two-possession games (six points or less), in the past two seasons it is 10-4 including a 4-0 mark this year.

SUN DEVIL DATA: James Harden has four 30-point games on the year, the most by a Sun Devil since Ike Diogu had six in 2004-2005. ASU is now 23-5 when Harden scores at least 20 (10-2 this year). After starting the season 2-of-14 (.143) from the three-point stripe in the first four games, he is 30-of-66 (.454) in the past 15 games...after losing its first 10 away from home (neutral or road games) in the Herb Sendek era, ASU is 15-12 since, and is 8-7 in Pac-10 road games after losing its first eight...in the Jan. 8 69-38 victory over Oregon State, ASU held the Beavers to 15 first-half points, ASU's best first-half defensive effort since it led Oregon State 33-13 on Feb. 25, 1995...the Sun Devils are giving up 60.9 points per game in Coach Sendek's 83 games.

HITTING FREEBIES: ASU shot .739 from the free throw line last year, the fifth-best mark in ASU history and second-best in past 21 seasons, and is shooting just above that pace this year (.741). 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. One good note on his 2003-04 NC State team is in the past nine seasons, that squad's .799 FT percentage is tied for the best in the NCAA with St. Joseph in 2005-06. ASU has led the league twice in free throw percentage, in 1997-98 and in 1986-87, shooting 74.6 percent both years. 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 PERCENTAGE
1. 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 (16-3/5-2 in Pac-10)--(280-378)--74.1
6. 2007-08 (21-13/9-9 in Pac-10)--73.9

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 Fargo Arena last year. It was15-5 with wins over NCAA Tournament teams Arizona, Xavier, Stanford, USC, Oregon and Coppin State.

VS. UA (JAN. 21): ASU trailed at the half but won back-to-back games in Tucson for the first time since 1982-83 with its 53-47 grinder on Wednesday, Jan. 21...ASU now has held the Wildcats to just 58.4 points per game in five games under Herb Sendek, while in the 39 games prior (1987-88 season through 2005-06) Arizona had averaged 86.6 points...ASU held Arizona to its second fewest points in a Pac-10 game (Oregon 43, UA 40 in 1985), its fewest points by Arizona against Arizona State since a 45-44 Arizona win in 1949 and the third-fewest points at home in the past 50 seasons...ASU shot just 28.6 percent (16-of-56), its worst field goal percentage since it was 13-of-52 (.250) in a 65-48 loss to No. 18 Utah on Nov. 23, 1998, in the Maui Invitational.

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 10 straight and the 2004-05 team won nine straight...ASU is guaranteed of a winning record at the halfway point of the Pac-10 season for just the second time in the past 14 seasons and just ninth time in 31 Pac-10 seasons, as it was 5-4 in 2002-03. ASU was 6-3 at the turn for three straight seasons under Bill Frieder (1992-93, 1993-94 and 1994-95)...ASU is 5-2, in the previous three years it was 5-22 in the first half of Pac-10 play.

RANKINGS NOTE: ASU matched its highest ranking of the season this week as it is 14th in the Associated Press and ESPN Coaches' Poll. What is symbolic is in that with UCLA now 17th and Washington 23rd, it marks the first time in ASU's 31 years it is the highest ranked team in the Associated Press poll from the Pac-10. ASU's other high rankings of note included 12th on Nov. 28, 1994, the week after it had won the Maui Invitational, but Arizona (ninth) and UCLA (fifth) were both ahead of them. It reached 12th again on Jan. 9, 1995, that same season but eventual national champion UCLA was sixth. The other season one might think it could have happened was in 1980-81 when ASU started 15th and finished 24-4 and beat the No. 1 team in the nation, undefeated Oregon State, on its home floor on the final day of the regular season 87-67. Oregon State was ranked first or second every week from Dec. 30 until the final poll and was second after the ASU win. ASU, despite the 20-point road win against the Beavers, finished third. That matches the highest AP ranking in school history, as ASU also reached third on Jan. 8, 1963.

FIVE IN DOUBLES: The Dec. 23 Idaho State and Dec. 29 Central Connecticut State games marked the first time ASU posted five players in double-digits in back-to-back games since the 2000-2001 season. ASU won at Oregon State 73-58 on Feb. 1, 2001, with Awvee Storey (17), Donnell Knight (13), Alton Mason (12), Tommy Smith (10) and Chad Prewitt (10) leading the way. On Sunday, Feb. 4 at Oregon, Storey led six players in double digits with 23 in a 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 December in just three and a half years and has 104 career starts, is shooting .764 from the free throw line in his career (304-of-398) and is 51-of-64 (.797) on the year. He has 1,338 points in 110 career games (12.2 points per game) and 797 career rebounds (7.2 per game). He has 23 career double-doubles (five this year). Pendergraph is fourth in the nation shooting 67.5 percent.

ONE-POINT GAMES: The Dec. 20 BYU and Dec. 14 IUPUI contests marked for the first back-to-back one-pointers for ASU since 2005-06, as ASU lost to #7 UCLA 61-60 on Jan. 7 just two days after losing 66-65 to USC. Prior to that, the last back-to-back one-point games were an 87-86 loss at #6 UCLA on Jan. 10, 1983, which was followed by a 75-74 loss at Washington State on Jan. 13, 1983. The BYU and IUPUI tilts marked the first-time in ASU history the Sun Devils posted back-to-back one-point wins. ASU is now 3-2 under Herb Sendek in one-point games, with both losses to Washington State at home in each of the past two seasons.

GOING BACK TO CALI: ASU will play at least nine games this year in California. It won at San Diego State (Nov. 18), at Stanford (Jan. 2) and at UCLA (Jan. 17), lost at Cal (Jan. 4) and at USC (Jan. 15) and went 2-1 (wins vs. Charlotte and UTEP and loss to Baylor) in the 76 Classic in Anaheim Nov. 27-30. It also will play at least one tilt in the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles.

BIG ROAD WIN: ASU's 30-point win (90-60) at Stanford on Jan. 2 is the third-largest Pac-10 road win in ASU's 31 Pac-10 seasons (275 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, California 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 since Phil Mickelson, became the first player to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks (Nov. 24 and Dec. 1) since Washington's Brandon Roy notched the feat in February of 2006 in three straight weeks...first Sun Devil to score 40 points (against UTEP on Nov. 30) since Eddie House had 40 vs. UCLA on Feb. 17, 2000, and just the third Sun Devil to notch 40 points (six occasions). Through 53 career games, Harden has led ASU in scoring 40 times, rebounding 18 times and led it in assists in 22 games...has 28 career 20-point games and 12 this year (ASU is 23-5/10-2)...has four 30 +point games this year (33 vs. Pepperdine, 32 vs. Baylor, 40 vs. UTEP, 30 vs. BYU)...11-of-11 from the foul line vs. Charlotte and is 289-of-382 (.757) in his career...the 19-year old Harden (born August of 1989) was the youngest player in the Pac-10 in 2007-08 and he led the Pac-10 with 73 steals...ASU is 7-4 in Pac-10 home games with Harden, in the previous four years, it was 9-27.

STEPPING UP WHEN NEEDED: In the four games ASU has trailed at the half (at SDSU, vs. IUPUI at Phoenix, vs. BYU at Glendale and at Arizona), James Harden is 13-18 (.722) from the floor, 4-5 (.800) from three and 24-31 (.774) from the foul line and is averaging 13.5 points in the second half, and ASU has won each game.

RIK'S CAREER GAME: Rihards Kuksiks had his best overall game in the 59-58 overtime win against IUPUI on Dec. 14. He matched his career high with 18 points (set previous game on Dec. 8 against Nebraska after setting then-career high with 16 vs. Jackson State on Dec. 4, so yes, that was three straight career-highs), made a career-high six three pointers, grabbed a career-best nine boards (after a then career-high six boards against Nebraska), matched a career-high with four assists and had a career-high three steals.

RALLY CAPS: ASU has fallen behind five times this year but rallied to win late. ASU trailed at Arizona at the half 21-18 on Jan. 21, was behind by eight midway through the first period and was down 37-33 at the 4:28 mark of he second half before rallying for a 53-47 win...on Jan. 17 against ninth-ranked UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, ASU was down 54-43 with just over eight minutes left but held UCLA scoreless the rest of the way and then won 61-58 in overtime...on Dec. 20 against previously undefeated BYU (10-0) in Glendale, ASU was down 66-56 at the 9:31 mark before outscoring BYU 20-9 for a 76-75 victory...against IUPUI on Dec. 14, ASU was down 18 early and 34-18 at the half but came back to win 59-58 in overtime. ASU outscored the Jaguars 15-3 in the final 8:27 to tie the game, as it matched the largest halftime deficit overcome in 15 years as ASU came back from 45-29 against New Mexico State in Tempe (NIT) on March 15, 2000...ASU also trailed at San Diego State 15-2 at the 12:46 mark but outscored the Aztecs 57-37...ASU 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 (its first win in Tucson since March 11, 1995)...on Feb. 14 against seventh-ranked Stanford, ASU was down 14 in the second 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 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).

THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 16th season as a head coach and has averaged 18.7 wins per season. He led the NC State Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 299-196 (.604) in 16 seasons and was 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 Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from 2002-2006. 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/Arizona), Ralph Miller (19/Oregon State), Mike Montgomery (18/Stanford), Ben Braun (12/California) and Ernie Kent (12/Oregon).

TREE: Herb Sendek has eight former assistants who are D-I coaches as 12-year sidekick Mark Phelps earned the Drake spot after serving for 10 years on the staff at NC State and for two years at ASU. Former NC State sidekick John Groce also 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 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.

VS. RANKED TEAMS: Coach Sendek has 33 career wins against ranked foes, including 12 top-10 wins in his past nine seasons and seven top-five wins in his past dozen seasons. He notched his first at ASU on Feb. 18, 2007, as ASU topped No. 22 USC 68-58 and won his first attempt in the 2007-08 season with a 77-55 over No. 17 Xavier on Dec. 15 (largest win over a ranked team in ASU history)...the Jan. 17, 2009, win at ninth-ranked UCLA was ASU's first top-10 road win since its 90-87 overtime win at No. 4 Stanford on Jan. 31, 1998...against seventh-ranked Stanford on Feb. 14 in Tempe last year, ASU beat its highest ranked opponent since that same Stanford game 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 first win over a top-10 team in Tempe not named Arizona since a 68-60 win over fourth-ranked Oregon State on March 6, 1982...Herb Sendek is 2-1 against top 10 teams in his past three games...in the nine years prior to Harden's arrival (1998-99 to 2006-07), ASU went 1-24 against top 10 teams. In its past three games against top-10 teams, ASU is 2-1, with wins over seventh-ranked Stanford last year and at UCLA this year.

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