Men's Hoops Starts Pac-10 Back Half At Oregon Schools
Feb. 2, 2009
COACH SENDEK ONE WIN FROM 300: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, 21-13and 9-9 in the Pac-10 last year and 16-5/5-4 this season under third-yearhead coach and 299-game winner Herb Sendek, travels to Oregon this weekendto start the second half of Pac-10 play. Although currently on its firsttwo-game losing streak since last February, ASU has a winning record at thehalfway point of the Pac-10 season for just the second time in the past 14seasons (5-4 in 2002-2003) and just ninth time in 31 Pac-10 seasons as inthe previous three years it was 5-22 in the first half of Pac-10 play. ASUmeets the Ducks Thursday at 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MT (FSN/KTAR 620 AM) andthen plays the Beavers at 5:30 p.m. PT/6:30 MT on Saturday (Feb. 7) on FoxSports Arizona and KTAR 620 AM.
SUN DEVIL DATA: ASU has two wins over 10-0 teams (vs. BYU and at Stanford),a win at then ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17 (ASU trailed 54-43 with just overeight minutes to go but won 61-58 in overtime) and a win at Arizona for thesecond straight year (just the third in 23 seasons) as its road record is4-2, including a Nov. 18 win over RPI No. 53 San Diego State, its only lossat home...three Sun Devils are in double digits: James Harden (21.9, whichleads the Pac-10), Jeff Pendergraph (13.7 and shooting 66.9 percent, tops inthe Pac-10 and third in the nation) and Rihards Kuksiks (10.5, third in thenation at 46.7 three-point percentage per official NCAAstandards...Pendergraph is shooting 59-of-86 (.686) from the field in Pac-10games and is averaging 13 rebounds in his past three games after a 21-point,15-rebound performance against Washington's huge front line onSaturday...after going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year, the SunDevils are 37-18 (.673) since and giving up just 61.3 points per game in his85 games and are second in Pac-10 in points allowed this year at 59.4 pergame (WSU leads at 53.2), best by a Sun Devil team since 1948-49 (47.6) and19th in the nation...ASU is third in the Pac-10 and 16th in the nation infield goal percentage (.484), and is second in the league and 32ndnationally in free throw percentage (.736).
APPROACHING 300: Even with a resume that includes coaching in 497 games atthree schools, six NCAA tournaments, 12 NCAA Tournament games and havingeight former assistants currently serving as head coaches at the Division-Ilevel, ASU head coach Herb Sendek is still the third-youngest coach in thePac-10 even with two new hires this year. Oregon State's Craig Robinson is alittle older than Coach Sendek (about 10 months) while Stanford's JohnnyDawkins is about seven months younger. With one more win Coach Sendek alsowill become the second-youngest active coach with 300 Division I wins, onlyFlorida's Billy Donvan is younger, as he is 43 years old (bornMay 30, 1965).
STEADY JEFF: Jeff Pendergraph, who earned his B.S. in Economics in Decemberin just three and a half years and has 106 career starts (third best in ASUhistory), is shooting .758 from the free throw line in his career(307-of-405) and is 54-of-71 (.761) on the year. He has 1,367 points in 112career games (12.2 points per game) and 822 career rebounds (7.3 per game).He has 24 career double-doubles (six this year). Pendergraph is third inthe nation shooting 66.9 percent and is averaging 13 boards in his pastthree contests.
FIRST TIME IN 28 SEASONS: Arizona State did something in 19 days that noPac-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 aPac-10 team won at those three NCAA Tournament regulars in the same seasonwas in 1980-81 (Oregon State and USC). The only time ASU won at all threewas in 1979-80. ASU was a combined 22-69 (.242) in games at Maples, Pauleyand McKale entering play this year, but won all three games in a span of 19days with a 90-60 win at Stanford, a 61-58 overtime win at #9 UCLA and a53-47 grinder at Arizona.
WHY IS HE BEST IN NATION BUT THIRD IN PAC-10?: According to the officialNCAA statistics, Rihards Kuksiks is the third-best three-point shooter inthe nation at 46.7 percent, as there is a minimum of 2.5 made per game toqualify. According to Pac-10 statistics, a player only needs to make one pergame and appear in 75 percent of the team's games, so Theo Robertson of Cal(.562) and Michael Roll (.545) appear in the Pac-10 rankings but don't haveenough makes to qualify nationally, and Kuksiks is tied for third.
BIG WIN: ASU's win at ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17 was its first top-10 roadwin since it beat fourth-ranked Stanford on Jan. 31, 1998, and just thesecond in the past 24 seasons. ASU won at Pauley Pavilion for just the sixthtime in 32 times, and just the third time in the past 22 seasons. HerbSendek now has 33 wins against ranked teams in his career and four atArizona State. In his past five years he has 15 wins against ranked teamsand a dozen top-10 wins in his past nine seasons.
ODDS AND ENDS: ASU also leads the Pac-10 in assists (16.0 per game/27th innation), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3/11th in nation) and is second inPac-10 free throw shooting (.736) as its starting five is shooting 76.8percent from the foul line (272-of-354)...ASU shot 16-of-18 (.889) from thefield in the second half against OSU...ASU shot 65.3 percent in its Dec. 29win over Central Connecticut State, including 14-of-14 from inside thethree-point arc in the first half...ASU hit a school-record 17three-pointers in its 90-55 Dec. 23 win over Idaho State...ASU is 24-1 whenit shoots 50 percent under Herb Sendek and has won 22 straight. Its onlyloss was on Jan. 4, 2007, when it fell at Washington State 75-55 despiteshooting 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.AUTOMATIC: Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging 11.6 points, including44-of-93 (.473) from the three-point stripe, in his past 15 games. He has324 points and 19 double-figure scoring games in his past 33 contests (9.8ppg.) dating to last year after scoring 42 points in his first 22 games. Hehas posted double digits in 10 of his past 14 games.
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 hadeight at USC in an 82-71 loss, a span of the past 35 road games. DerekGlasser had zero turnovers in 42 minutes. ASU followed that up with nineturnovers at Arizona on Jan. 21, and then had just six turnovers vs.Washington State on Jan. 29, its fewest turnovers since it also had six vs.Oregon on Feb. 19, 2005. ASU is averaging just 8.5 turnovers per game in itspast four contests and is 19th in the nation and second in the Pac-10 atjust 11.9 turnovers per game.
SOLID: Derek Glasser played 42 minutes without a turnover in the Jan. 17overtime win at ninth-ranked UCLA and followed that up with clutch shots atArizona on Jan. 21. He is 143-of-172 (.831) from the free throw line and hasplayed 17 turnover free games in his 85-game career. In Pac-10 games he is14-of-29 (.483) from the three-point stripe (fifth in the league) and29-of-31 (.935) at the free throw line (best in the league). In his firstsix games he was 2-of-13 (.154) from three-point stripe but is 22-of-43(.512) in the past 15 games. He had a career-high 11 assists (most by a SunDevil since Jason Braxton had 12 at USC on Jan. 17, 2004, a span of the past157 games) vs. Oregon on Jan. 10 and has 100 assists and just 46 turnoverson the year (2.23-to-1 ratio, second in the Pac-10). He has 331 careerassists (3.89 per game), on pace to break the ASU record of 454 set by BobbyThompson from 1983-87.
WINNING TOUGH ONES: ASU is 12-7 in the past two seasons in 10 points or lessgames after going 4-17 in Herb Sendek's first year...after going 10-29 inHerb Sendek's first two seasons when trailing at the half, ASU is 4-1 thisyear with victories at San Diego State, vs. IUPUI, vs. BYU and atArizona...ASU has now won six straight overtime games after its 61-58 win atninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17, with four of them away from its home arena. Italso beat IUPUI in Phoenix 59-58 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)...in ASU's first seasonunder Herb Sendek, it was 3-12 in two-possession games (six points or less),in the past two seasons it is 10-4 including 4-0 this year...after losingits 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 firsteight.
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 just below that pace this year (.736). In his 10 seasons at NCState, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in FT percentage(including three straight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004 NC State led the nationand set the ACC record by shooting .799 from the charity stripe. While at NCState, his squads shot 71.3 percent. One good note on his 2003-04 NC Stateteam is in the past nine seasons, that squad's .799 FT percentage is tiedfor the best in the NCAA with St. Joseph in 2005-06. ASU has led the leaguetwice in free throw percentage, in 1997-98 and in 1986-87, shooting 74.6percent both years. Two Sun Devils have led the league as Alex Austin was69-of-80 (.863) in 1988-89 and Chris Beasley was 112-of-128 (.875) in1983-84.
DON'T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED: ASU had an eight-game win-streak from Nov.30-Jan. 2, its third-longest in the past 28 seasons. Last year ASU won 10straight, while 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 February of 2001. ASU also placed five in doubledigits in the 76-58 Oregon win on Jan. 10.
ONE-POINT GAMES: The Dec. 20 BYU and Dec. 14 IUPUI contests marked for thefirst back-to-back one-pointers for ASU since 2005-06, as ASU lost to #7UCLA 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 SunDevils posted back-to-back one-point wins. ASU is now 3-2 under Herb Sendekin 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 (275 road games)and largest since a 33-point win at Washington State (87-54) on Feb. 6,2003.
GOING BACK TO CALI: ASU will play at least nine games this year inCalifornia. It won at San Diego State (Nov. 18), at Stanford (Jan. 2) and atUCLA (Jan. 17), lost at Cal (Jan. 4) and at USC (Jan. 15) and went 2-1 (winsvs. 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 LosAngeles.
BIG GAME JAMES: James Harden, the most heralded Sun Devil southpaw sincePhil Mickelson, became the first player to earn Pac-10 Player of the Weekin back-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 55 career games, Harden has led ASU in scoring 41times, rebounding 18 times and led it in assists in 23 gamesï¿½has 29 career20-point games and 13 this year (ASU is 23-6/10-3)...has four 30 +pointgames this year (33 vs. Pepperdine, 32 vs. Baylor, 40 vs. UTEP, 30 vs.BYU)ï¿½11-of-11 from the foul line vs. Charlotte on Nov. 27...the 19-year oldHarden (born August of 1989) was the youngest player in the Pac-10 in2007-08 and he led the Pac-10 with 73 steals...ASU is 7-6 in Pac-10 homegames with Harden, in the previous four years, it was 9-27...after startingthe season 2-of-14 (.143) from the three-point stripe in the first fourgames, he is 32-of-78 (.410) in the past 17 games.
STEPPING UP WHEN NEEDED: In the four games ASU has won when trailed at thehalf (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.
OREGON SERIES: ASU has held the Ducks to 29-of-97 (.299) from thethree-point stripe and to 58.8 points per game in the past fiveoutings...ASU topped the Ducks 76-58 back on Jan. 10 in Tempe as it shot14-of-23 (.609) from the field in the first half in racing to a 41-25lead...ASU led by as many as 26 in the second half, as the Sun Devils placedfive players in double figures in a Pac-10 game for the first time sinceFebruary of 2006...James Harden led the way with 19 points while DerekGlasser posted his sole career double-double with 15 points and 11assists...ASU held the Ducks to .292 from the field in the first half(7-of-24)...ASU had season highs in free throw attempts (33) and blocks,while Glasser's 11 assists is the most by any Sun Devil in the Herb Sendekera...in its most recent trip to Eugene, Oregon topped ASU in the finalweekend of the regular season last year 67-61 at McArthur Court as it was10-of-23 from the three-point stripe...ASU is 36-31 against the Ducksall-time...James Harden has averaged 20.3 points and 5.3 boards against theDucks in three games.
OSU SERIES: ASU shot .651 from the field vs. Oregon State on Jan. 8, itssixth-best shooting effort vs. a Pac-10 team and second-best in the past 19seasons, in a 69-38 win in Tempe... ASU held the Beavers to 15 first-halfpoints, ASU's best first-half defensive effort since it led Oregon State33-13 on Feb. 25, 1995...ASU held OSU to opponent season lows in points(38), field goal attempts (44), free throws made (two) and assists(six)...ASU has shot 57.7 percent from the field (75-of-130) in the pastthree games against OSU and held the Beavers to 57-of-166 (.343) from thefield...James Harden is averaging 17.3 points, six asissts and 4.7 boardsagainst the Beavers...Eric Boateng is 9-of-13 (.692) from the field...OSUleads the series 38-34...ASU swept the regular season series from theBeavers in 2007-08 for the eighth time since joining the Pac-10...inCorvallis on the final day of the regular season last year (March 8), ASUgot solid games from Jamelle McMillan (12 points) and Eric Boateng (12points) off the bench as OSU was 13-of-39 from the three-point stripe butfell 77-64 as ASU clinched a 9-9 regular season mark in the Pac-10.
RANKINGS NOTE: ASU matched its highest ranking of the season on Jan. 26 asit was 14th in the Associated Press and ESPN Coaches' Poll. With UCLA 17thand Washington 23rd, it marked the first time in ASU's 31 years it is thehighest ranked team in the Associated Press poll from the Pac-10. ASU'sother high rankings of note included 12th on Nov. 28, 1994, the week afterit had won the Maui Invitational, but Arizona (ninth) and UCLA (fifth) wereboth ahead of them. It reached 12th again on Jan. 9, 1995, that same seasonbut eventual national champion UCLA was sixth. The other season one mightthink it could have happened was in 1980-81 when ASU started 15th andfinished 24-4 and beat the No. 1 team in the nation, undefeated OregonState, 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 thefinal poll and was second after the ASU win. ASU, despite the 20-point roadwin against the Beavers, finished third. That matches the highest AP rankingin school history, as ASU also reached third on Jan. 8, 1963.
RIK'S CAREER GAME: Rihards Kuksiks had his best overall game in the 59-58overtime win against IUPUI on Dec. 14. He matched his career high with 18points (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.
NCAA SCORING LEADERS: James Harden enters play this week 15th in the nationin scoring (21.9 points per game). Since the league expanded to 10 teams in1978-79, six Pac-10 players (seven occasions) have finished in the nationaltop ten in scoring, with the most recent being Sun Devils (Eddie House in1999-2000 and Ike Diogu in both 2003-2004 and 2004-2005). Diogu and Houseboth led the Pac-10 in scoring those years, as did Sun Devil Jeremy Veal(20.8 in 1997-98) and Byron Scott (21.6 in 1982-83).
RALLY CAPS: ASU has fallen behind five times this year but rallied to winlate. ASU trailed at Arizona at the half 21-18 on Jan. 21, was behind byeight midway through the first period and was down 37-33 at the 4:28 mark ofhe second half before rallying for a 53-47 win...on Jan. 17 againstninth-ranked UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, ASU was down 54-43 with just overeight minutes left but held UCLA scoreless the rest of the way and then won61-58 in overtime...on Dec. 20 against previously undefeated BYU (10-0) inGlendale, ASU was down 66-56 at the 9:31 mark before outscoring BYU 20-9 fora 76-75 victory...against IUPUI on Dec. 14, ASU was down 18 early and 34-18at the half but came back to win 59-58 in overtime. ASU outscored theJaguars 15-3 in the final 8:27 to tie the game, as it matched the largesthalftime deficit overcome in 15 years as ASU came back from 45-29 againstNew Mexico State in Tempe (NIT) on March 15, 2000...ASU also trailed at SanDiego State 15-2 at the 12:46 mark but outscored the Aztecs 57-37...ASU cameback from double-digit deficits in two big wins in 2007-08, as it put thebrakes 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 andwinning 59-54 to sweep Arizona for the first time since 1994-95 (its firstwin in Tucson since March 11, 1995)...on Feb. 14 against seventh-rankedStanford, ASU was down 14 in the second half and seven with 1:49 left beforewinning 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 299-198 (.602) 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).