Men's Hoops Opens Pac-10 Play At Home Vs. Stanford Thursday At 7 p.m.

Dec. 27, 2006

SUN DEVIL DATA: A young Arizona State University basketball team (6-5) under first-year coach Herb Sendek opens Pac-10 play against the Stanford Cardinal (7-2) on Thursday, Dec. 28. It marks just third time in the past nine years ASU has opened Pac-10 play at home. Thursday's game will be broadcast by ESPN 860 AM with Tim Healey and Tom Kuyper on the call. FSN Arizona will televise the Sat., Dec. 30 game, against California with Trey Bender and Kuyper on the 8 p.m. telecast and former ASU assistant Russ Pennell doing radio.

PAC-10 ON A ROLL: The Pac-10 is off to a good start as four league teams are ranked in the AP poll for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. UCLA (No. 1), Arizona (9), Washington (14) and Oregon (20) are all ranked and the league was 91-22 (.805) in non-league action in the first two months. Each Pac-10 team posted a winning non-conference record for just the second time since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79 and for the only time since 1988-89.

PENDERGRAPH QUICK NOTES: Sophomore Jeff Pendergraph is averaging a double-double in the past five games (13.0 points and 11.6 boards) while making 55 percent of his field goals (22-of-40). He grabbed 19 boards vs. Colgate on Dec. 19, the most by a Sun Devil since Mike Batiste had 20 vs. Wagner on Nov. 19, 1997.

HIGH SCHOOL REUNION: High school teammates who are both the leading scorers on their team meet as ASU's Deer Christian Polk (14.7 ppg.) and Stanford's Lawrence Hill (15.0) teamed up at Deer Valley High School in nearby Glendale, Ariz.

USUALLY A CLOSE ONE HERE: The Cardinal and Sun Devils have played close in Tempe the past four years, as Stanford has scored 268 points and ASU 267 in that time, including two one-point Cardinal wins (58-57 on Feb. 1, 2003, and 63-62 on Jan. 8, 2004).

HE IS SURGING: Senior Serge Angounou has been playing well in the past seven games, dating to the Nov. 25 Iowa game. Angounou tied a career high with 23 points at Xavier on Dec. 16, the fourth 20-point game of his career, while his five three-point goals is a career-best. After shooting 6-of-33 (.182) from the three-point stripe in his first three seasons, Angounou is 20-of-43 (.465) from beyond the arc, fourth-best in the Pac-10. Angounou also is averaging 9.6 rebounds and 13.6 points in the past seven games, including a 17-of-33 (.515) mark from beyond the arc. He already has three double-doubles on the year.

DEJA VU: As Herb Sendek enters Pac-10 play with four league teams ranked for the first time since 2001-2002 and every team posting a winning non-conference mark for just the second time in Pac-10 history, this all probably looks familiar to him. In his first year at NC State (1996-1997), the ACC had six of its nine teams ranked at some time during the year and post 20 wins. North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson and Maryland all reached the top 10. The beauty of that season for Sendek is his team beat #7 Clemson on Feb. 1, won at #4 Wake Forest on Feb. 17, and then beat #7 Duke (March 7) and #22 Maryland (March 8) in the ACC Tournament. That squad won seven of its final nine games on the year en route to a NIT appearance and played 14 of its 32 games against ranked opponents.

NEVER AN EASY OPENER: When Arizona won the 2005 Pac-10 title, it marked the fourth time in the previous six seasons that ASU had opened the season with an eventual Pac-10 champion, as ASU faced the eventual Pac-10 champion three straight years in its Pac-10 opener from 2000-2002, facing Stanford in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 and then opening with Oregon in 2001-2002. Last season, ASU opened Pac-10 play on Dec. 29 at 2005 Pac-10 Tournament champion, then-undefeated and seventh-ranked Washington and fell 91-67, and the Huskies finished second in the league this year. Last year also marked the sixth time in eight years ASU opened Pac-10 play on the road, and the two home games were against top-five teams. ASU fell to No. 2 Stanford on Jan. 4, 2000, in Tempe, and to fourth-ranked Arizona 93-74 on Jan. 3, 2003. When ASU opens Pac-10 on Thursday, Dec. 28, vs. Stanford (7-2) in Tempe, it will mark just the 12th time in 29 Pac-10 seasons ASU has opened conference play at home and just the third time in the past nine seasons.

Pac-10 Opening Date Score Opponent Note
Dec. 29, 2005 L, 91-67 @#7 Washington UW ends 13-5 in Pac-10
Jan. 2, 2005 L, 97-79 @#14 Arizona Arizona wins Pac-10 (14-4)
Jan. 3, 2004 L, 93-74 #4 Arizona Arizona goes 20-10
Jan. 2, 2003 W, 67-47 @Oregon State ASU goes 20-12 and in NCAAs
Dec. 20, 2001 L, 103-90 @Oregon UO wins Pac-10 and goes 26-9
Jan. 4, 2001 L, 94-77 #2 Stanford Stanford wins Pac-10 and goes 31-3
Jan. 6, 2000 L, 86-67 @#1 Stanford Stanford goes 27-4 and wins Pac-10
Jan. 2, 1999 L, 72-70 @USC USC ends ASU 6-game win streak

YOUNG GUYS: Four true freshmen Sun Devils are combining to average 84.6 minutes and ASU's top four players in minutes and points per game are freshmen and second-year players. Freshman Jerren Shipp (30.6 minutes per game/ points per game) and sophomore Jeff Pendergraph (30.0 mpg./11.6 ppg.) are the only two players to start each of the 11 games, while junior and second-year player Antwi Atuahene (28.9 mpg./8.6 ppg.) has started nine games. In addition to that trio, freshman Christian Polk leads the team in scoring (14.7 points per contest) and is third in minutes per game (28.7). Coach Sendek has started four lineups and has had six Sun Devils (Shipp, Steve Jones, Pendergraph, Angounou, Atuahene and Polk) lead the team in scoring.

NOTEWORTHY NUMBERS FROM RECENT OUTING: ASU topped Colgate 52-36 on Dec. 19, the fewest points by an ASU opponent since the University of Washington (St. Louis) fell to ASU 47-34 in the 1949-50 season. ASU held the Red Raiders to just 12 points at the half, the fewest haltime points by an ASU opponent since Jan. 7, 1995, when ASU was leading Old Dominion 36-12.

HOW YOUNG, YOU ASK?: The Sun Devils top minutes-per-game leaders are freshman Jerren Shipp (30.6) and sophomore Jeff Pendergraph (30.0). Byron Scott set the ASU freshman record at 32.3 minutes per game in 1979-80. Other notable ASU freshmen minutes per game numbers include Ike Diogu (32.2 in 2002-03 as Pac-10 Freshman of the Year), Eddie House (29.5 in 1996-97 and earned Pac-10 All-Freshmen Team honors) and Jamal Faulkner (29.1 in 1990-91 and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year). ASU has nine players averaging at least nine minutes, four of them in their first year. In addition to Shipp and Polk, Steve Jones (did not play last year but was on team) is averaging 8.6 minutes while true freshmen Derek Glasser is averaging 20.3 minutes (23.0 minutes in past four games).

COACH Herb Sendek: Former NC State and Miami (Ohio) leader Herb Sendek is in his 14th season as a head coach as he led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06. Coach Sendek is 260-163 (.615) in 14 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 43-year old Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the second-youngest coach in the Pac-10 behind only first-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU, yet his 254 career wins and six NCAA Tournament wins entering this year were fourth in the league. In the previous five seasons only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories. Coach Sendek also led NC State to five 20-win seasons in the past seven years. Another overlooked note on Coach Sendek 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 (Arizona), Mike Montgomery (Stanford), Ralph Miller (Oregon State) and Ben Braun (California), while Ernie Kent (Oregon) is in his 10th season in 2006-2007.

FREE THROW SHOOTING WILL GET BETTER: In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in free throw percentage, including a stretch of three straight seasons from 2002-2004. In 2004 his NC State squad led the nation and set the ACC record by shooting .799 from the charity stripe. His team last year shot .751 (second in the ACC to Duke) and was 16th in the nation. His poorest free throw shooting team was his first year (1996-97) when they shot 64.9 percent. While at NC State, his Wolfpack squads shot 71.3 percent.

THE COACHING FAMILY: Herb Sendek has six former assistants who are currently Division I head coaches. Here's the list: Jim Christian, Kent State, Miami Assistant (1994-96); Charlie Coles, Miami (Ohio), Miami Assistant (1994-96); Larry Hunter, Western Carolina, NC State Assistant (2001-05); Ron Hunter, IUPUI, Miami Assistant (1993-94); Thad Matta, Ohio State, Miami Assistant (1994-95) and Sean Miller, Xavier, Miami (1994-96) and NC State Assistant (1996-2000).

GOOD NOTES ON Christian Polk: In the past 17 seasons (1990-91 to present), ASU basketball has had 42 freshmen. Only two scored in double digits in the first seven games of their career: 2005 NBA Lottery selection Ike Diogu and Christian Polk. The Glendale, Ariz., native has four 20-point games and already has made 27 three-pointers, just one shy of matching Tanner Shell (2002-2003) for eighth place on the ASU freshman three-pointer list. Ron Riley (1992-93) holds the ASU freshmen record with 66.

Jeff Pendergraph NOTES: Sophomore Jeff Pendergraph, who has increased his weight to 230 after being listed at 195 last year, is averaging 13.0 points and 11.6 rebounds in the past five games...posted 19 boards vs. Colgate on Dec. 19, the most by a Sun Devil since Mike Batiste had 19 vs. Wagner on Nov. 19, 1997...posted 10 offensive boards against Portland State (most by a Sun Devil in more than a decade) en route to 13 boards...not only did he gain weight, but he has become stronger (improved bench press from 185 to 280) and maintained his conditioning level (5:47 mile run)...worth noting on Pendergraph is that last year he missed fall conditioning and most of November due to surgery to remove a benign tumor in his left leg, and did not play until Nov. 26...has 21 double-figure scoring games in his 38-game career (14 of past 20) and is averaging 12.9 points and 9.1 boards in his past 17 outings dating to last season. He matched his career-high with 21 points vs. Portland State and has 10 career double-doubles (five this year).

FRESHMAN NOTES: When Jerren Shipp (23) and Christian Polk (22) each scored 20 points against NAU on Nov. 13, it marked only the second time in ASU history two freshmen scored 20 points. The other time was last season when Jeff Pendergraph and Sylvester Seay each scored 21 points vs. Oregon on Feb. 11, 2006. Against Iowa on Nov. 25, ASU started three freshmen (Shipp, Polk and Derek Glasser) for the first time since Feb. 12, 2000, when Kyle Dodd, Shawn Redhage and Tommy Smith did the trick in an 81-67 win at Washington. It was just the second time in 15 seasons three freshmen started for ASU.

STANFORD SERIES: Stanford leads the overall series 34-26...ASU notched its first sweep of the Cardinal since 1993-94 in 2004-2005 with a 74-67 win on Feb. 3, 2005, behind Ike Diogu's career-high 39 points (tied for sixth-best in ASU history)...ASU broke Stanford's 18-game home winning streak and ended a streak of 13 straight Cardinal wins over ASU dating to Jan. 31, 1998, with an 81-69 win on Jan. 6, the first meeting last year on Jan. 21, Jeff Pendergraph had 14 points (on 7-of-8 shooting), three rebounds and two blocks in 10 minutes but at the 7:44 mark of the first half he sprained his right ankle and would be done for the night. Matt Haryasz went on to finish with 27 points (8-of-12 after the Pendergraph injury) and 10 boards (nine after the injury) as Stanford won 70-64 as it shot 23-of-25 (.920) from the free throw the Feb. 16 game, Stanford topped the Sun Devils 82-69 as Jeff Pendergraph notched 18 points and nine boards...Pendergraph shot 14-of-19 (.737) from the floor and averaged 16 points in the two games in just 45 minutes.

CAL SERIES: ASU leads the Cal series 32-29 as the home team has won 21 of the past 30 games...the Golden Bears won in Tempe on Jan. 19 88-58 in a game that was somewhat closer than the final score would indicate...ASU led 9-0 at the 15:55 mark and 16-5 at the 13:49 mark but then a close game went bad in the final 6:23, as Cal led 64-56 at the 6:23 mark but went on a 24-2 run to finish the game...ASU topped Cal 65-64 in double-overtime last year in Berkeley on Feb. 18, as the Bears entered the game 16-6 and 10-3 in league play.

REGARDING PAC-10 NEW COACHES: Of the past nine coaching changes in the Pac-10 dating to the beginning of the 1998-1999 season, only Trent Johnson of Stanford (2004-2005) posted a winning conference record in his initial season. The nine new coaches have averaged 6.4 Pac-10 wins in their initial Pac-10 season. In fact, of the eight current coaches in the league, only Johnson and Ben Braun (12-6 in 1996-1997) had winning Pac-10 records in their initial season.

100-POINTS: No ASU opponent has scored 100 points in Wells Fargo Arena since Feb. 27, 1988, when third-ranked Arizona topped ASU 101-73, a span of the past 310 home games.

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