Updated Game Notes For ASU vs. Syracuse Men's Hoops Game

March 20, 2009

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SUN DEVILS MEET ORANGE: The Arizona State Sun Devils have traveled 2,355 miles to play in its first NCAA Tournament since 2003 and now will meet NCAA regulars the Syracuse Orangemen on Sunday, March 22, at 12:10 p.m. ET/9:10 a.m. PT at American Airlines Arena in Miami in the South Regional. The Sun Devils are 25-9 this season under 308-game winner Herb Sendek and have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1979-80 team went 22-7 and the 1980-81 team went 24-4. That nugget becomes more noteworthy when you consider this...the last time ASU had back-to-back WINNING seasons was when the 1993-94 team went 15-13 and the 1994-95 team went 24-9 (both under Bill Frieder). After going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year (2006-2007), the Sun Devils are 46-22 (.676) since and are second in Pac-10 in points allowed this year at 60.0 per game, second-best by a Sun Devil team since 1948-49 (47.6). Pac-10 Player of the Year James Harden a first-team All-American by Sporting News, the USBWA, CBSSports.com and FOXSports.com, entered this week tied for 20th in the nation in scoring and is at 20.4 points per game, while Jeff Pendergraph entered the week leading the nation in field goal percentage (currently 66.1 percent) and was even better in Pac-10 play (67.3 percent). Sophomore swingman Rihards Kuksiks also enters the nation rankings conversation as he is among the leaders per official NCAA standards at 44.2 in three-point percentage. ASU has shot 50 percent in its past five games and is getting 18 points per game from Derek Glasser in its past three contests.

TIME TO TALK ABOUT THIS GUY: Point guard Derek Glasser in his past five games is averaging 15.0 points and is 24-of-46 (.522) from the floor, 10-of-19 (.526) from the three-point stripe, 17-of-21 (.810) from the foul line and has 27 assists and just nine turnovers while averaging 37.8 minutes per game...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 and vs. No. 11 UCLA on Feb. 12...181-of-219 (.826) from the free throw line and has played 18 turnover free games in his 96-game career...earned Pac-10 All-Tournament honors by averaging 13.7 points in the three games...shot 16-of-31 (.516) from the field, made 5-of-11 (.455) from the three-point stripe and had 12 assists and just four turnovers while averaging 37.3 minutes per game.

25 WINS: ASU has posted 25 wins for the first time since the 1974-75 team led by Lionel Hollins went 25-4. ASU will try and reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since Bill Frieder's team in 1994-95 went 24-9. ASU's school record for wins is 26 set in 1962-63 (26-3). ASU also won 24 games in 1980-81 (24-4). That 1980-81 team had three starters become NBA first round draft picks in Fat Lever (21st pick in 1981), Fat Lever (11th pick in 1982) and Byron Scott (fourth pick in 1983).

VS. SYRACUSE: ASU and Syracuse have met once, with the Sun Devils winning 93-77 at the Far West Classic in Portland on Dec. 27, 1968. Herb Sendek is 1-1 vs. the Orange as NC State beat ninth-ranked Syracuse in the Carrier Dome 82-68 on Dec. 8, 2001, while the season prior Syracuse topped NC State 54-53 in Raleigh on Feb. 3, 2001.

THE LONE SENIIOR: Jeff Pendergraph, who earned his B.S. in Economics in December in just three and a half years, now has a school-record 125 games played and 119 starts (topping current NBA world champion Eddie House's 124 games and 114 starts) and leads the nation in field goal percentage at 66.1 percent...shooting .767 from the free throw line in his career (363-of-473) and 110-of-139 (.791) on the year...has 29 career double-doubles (11 this year)...averaging 17.0 points and 9.5 boards in his past 10 games...averaging 16.6 points and 9.5 boards in his past 14 while shooting 66.2 percent from the floor (88-of-133) and 80.3 percent (57-of-71) from the free throw line.

RECORD VS. FIELD: After its win over Temple, ASU is now 10-5 against 2009 NCAA Tournament teams. It was 3-0 against Arizona, 2-0 vs. UCLA, split games with Cal and went 1-2 against both Washington and USC. In non-conference action it topped BYU on Dec. 20 in Glendale, Arizona.

GOING THE DISTANCE: ASU stayed in the Associated Press rankings all season for the first time in school history. ASU peaked at No. 14 and fell to No. 24, but never fell out. The AP does not do a post NCAA Tournament poll, so ASU's final AP ranking for the 2008-2009 season is 19th.

HOW DID THE SUN DEVILS GET HERE?: ASU defeated Arizona (68-56) and top-seeded Washington (75-65) but fell to USC in the Pac-10 title game 66-63 last weekend. ASU had top-50 RPI wins over #14 Washington and #29 BYU (who was 10-0 at the time) on neutral courts, at #34 San Diego State, swept #33 UCLA and beat #38 USC and #39 California in Tempe. ASU also beat #62 Arizona three times, beat #85 UTEP in Anaheim and topped #76 Nebraska (6-0 at time of game) in Tempe. The Sun Devils are 6-4 in road games and 7-2 in neutral games, as 19 of its 34 games were away from Tempe. According to collegerpi.com, ASU had a RPI of 31 (second in Pac-10) and a strength of schedule of 37. ASU was 1-2 against top 25 teams (win over #14 Washington in Pac-10 Tournament), 7-5 against the top 50 and 12-8 against top 100 teams.

ASU IN NCAAS: This is ASU's 13th NCAA appearance and first since 2003. ASU is now 13-13 and has reached the Final Eight on three occasions (1961, 1963 and 1975) under Ned Wulk. Utah, Oregon State and UCLA eliminated ASU in those years. In 2003, ASU was a 10-seed and beat seventh-seeded Memphis 84-71 before eventual national runner-up Kansas beat ASU 108-76 in Oklahoma City under Rob Evans. In 1995, under Bill Frieder, ASU (fifth-seed in the Southeast) beat Ball State 81-66 and topped Manhattan 64-54 in Memphis to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, where it fell to second-ranked Kentucky 97-67 in Birmingham.

COACH SENDEK NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Herb Sendek is making his first appearance in the NCAA Tournament with ASU and his seventh overall and is now 7-6 overall. He was 1-1 with Miami (Ohio) in 1995, then went 5-5 as his North Carolina State teams made five straight appearances from 2002-2006. He is now 6-1 in first-round games.

NOTE ON THE PAC-10: Nine of the Pac-10 teams have made the NCAA Tournament in either 2008 or 2009. Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington State all made the 2008 Tournament, while California, Washington and Arizona State joined that bunch in 2009.

EVERYONE'S ALL-AMERICAN: Pac-10 Player of the Year James Harden, a first-team All-American by Sporting News, CBSSports.com and FOXSports.com, is averaging 20.4 points per game, 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists...ASU is 27-7 when he scores 20, including 14-4 this year...since stepping onto campus last fall, all James Harden has done for Arizona State basketball is help lead it to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since Jimmy Carter gave up his seat to Ronald Reagan (Reagan took office on Jan. 20, 1981) as ASU was 24-4 in 1980-81 and 22-7 in 1979-80), go 5-0 against Arizona (best effort against the Wildcats since ASU won nine straight from 1979-83), sweep UCLA this year for just the third time in school history, lead ASU to its largest win over a ranked opponent in school history with 22-point win over #17 Xavier on Dec. 17, 2007, lead ASU to its first top-10 road win since 1998 when it won at #9 UCLA this year and lead ASU to four straight Pac-10 road wins for the first time since 1980-81.

THE SHOOTER: Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging 10.4 points, including 75-of-166 (.452) from the three-point stripe, in his past 26 games. He has posted double digits in 16 of his past 25 games. His 87 three-pointers on the year is third-most in ASU history, yet his 197 attempts are not even in the top 10.

COMING ON STRONG: Junior Ty Abbott in his past five games is averaging nine points per contest. He is 17-of-28 (.607) from the field, 10-of-18 (.556) from the three-point stripe and has just four turnovers in that time.

SPARKY MAKES FREE THROWS: 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 (.740).

WIN AT 50: ASU is 30-2 when it shoots 50 percent under Herb Sendek and had won 27 straight before it fell to USC in the Pac-10 Tournament despite shooting 53.1 percent (26-of-49). It was 12-0 last year and is 17-1 this year when it shoots 50 percent. ASU has shot 50 percent in each of its past five games.

SUN DEVILS SHOOT THREE-POINTERS: ASU has already set the school record for three-pointers made (275). Its 743 three-pointers attempted is second in school history, as the 1992-93 team took 772 shots. ASU has made at least eight three-pointers in each of its past seven games (58-of-139/.417), including 13-of-25 (.520) from Derek Glasser and 10-of-20 (.500) from Ty Abbott.

HERB IN FLORIDA: Herb Sendek now has eight victories in Florida, including a 2004 NCAA Tournament appearance in Orlando. North Carolina State (20-10 overall and second in the ACC at 11-5) topped Louisiana Lafayette 61-52 on March 19 and then fell to Vanderbilt 75-73 on March 21. He also was 5-3 when coaching at Florida State and 1-1 at Miami.

HERB VS. RANKED TEAMS NOTES: Herb Sendek has 35 wins against ranked teams in his career...from 1995-1996 to 2005-2006 (11 seasons), ASU went 5-66 against ranked teams, under Herb Sendek ASU has six wins against ranked teams in three years...ASU is 3-2 against ranked teams this year, sweeping UCLA (#9 and #11) and then beating #13 Washington in the Pac-10 Tournament...

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