Men's Hoops At Cal Saturday At 3 p.m. PT
March 3, 2007
ASU DATA: The Arizona State University basketball team (7-21; 1-16 in Pac-10) under first-year coach Herb Sendek plays at California on Saturday, March 3 at 3 p.m. PT to close the Pac-10 regular season. Comcast SportsNet will have the broadcast in the Bay Area with Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini on the call. ASU continues to battle as in the past eight games it has been outscored by just 23 points and its seven losses are by one, three, four (twice), five, six points and 10 points. Jeff Pendergraph is averaging 12.1 points and 10.4 boards in those games. ASU is giving up just 62.6 points per game, currently the fourth-best mark in ASU history and the lowest since the 1949-50 squad gave up 59.8 and is giving up just 62.9 in league play (third-best behind only league leaders Washington State and UCLA). ASU won its past two games at Haas Pavilion.
THIS CLOSE: ASU has been in 13 games decided by five points or less, already the most by an ASU squad in 23 years, since the 1982-83 had 17 of 33 games of five points. Fifteen of ASU's games this year have been two-possession games (six points or less). ASU has been in 19 games of 10 points or less, which leads the Pac-10. It has been in just nine games of double-digit final margins, fewest in the league.
THE LOSSES: The team Herb Sendek took over in April changed dramatically in the summer when seniors-to-be and starters Kevin Kruger and Bryson Krueger departed. Kevin averaged 15.0 points last year and played as much as anyone in the nation, with an ASU record 39.0 minutes per game. He had played 87 games and scored 912 points in his three-year career, and was the only player ranked in eight Pac-10 categories last year. Bryson averaged 12.3 points last year and had shot 40.7 percent (88-of-216) from the three-point stripe and started 45 games in two-year career. The other reason ASU's freshmen are having to play so many minutes is the departure of six others in the past three years who would have been on this squad. Wilfried Fameni (now at VCU), Chris Low, Tron Smith (St. Mary's) and Keith Wooden (North Texas) all were freshmen from 2003-2004 who have since transferred while 2004-2005 freshmen Craig Austin and Tim Pierce (San Jose State) also left the program.
D IS GOOD: The Sun Devils rank third in Pac-10 games in scoring defense at 62.9 points per game, and the other teams in the top seven are NCAA Tournament bound. And it is not just a result of slowing the game down, as ASU ranks fourth in field goal percentage defense (.441) in league games. ASU held Oregon, who is averaging 76.6 points per game, to a season-low 55 points on Feb. 8 in Eugene and held Washington State, who is averaging 66.5 points per game, to a season-low in a 48-47 loss on Feb. 3. On Feb. 25 against Arizona, ASU held the Pac-10's top scoring team (79.6) to a season-low 61 points. The 61 points was the fewest by the Wildcats against ASU since a 53-52 ASU win on Jan. 5, 1995.
ON THURSDAY: ASU took a 2-0 lead on the first possession but did not score another field goal until the 10:59 mark and had to play from behind the rest of the way in a 63-53 loss at Stanford. The Sun Devils cut a 14-point halftime deficit to seven three times but could not get closer. ASU had eight turnovers in the first 11 minutes of the game and shot just 6-of-24 (.250) from the field in the first half. Jeff Pendergraph led ASU with 18 points while Christian Polk had 10, all in the second half.
VS. CAL: In the 66-62 OT loss to Cal on Dec. 30, Christian Polk and Antwi Atuahene each had 14 points while Serge Angounou had 12 boards...each team was 7-of-20 (.350) from the field in the first half...ASU outrebounded Cal 34-26...ASU had three turnovers in the second half after posting 10 in the first half...ASU led 52-49 at the 3:05 mark but did not score in the next three minutes before a Christian Polk three-pointer tied the game with three seconds left...ASU leads the Cal series 32-30...ASU won at Cal 65-64 in 2 OT last year, as the Bears entered the game 16-6 and 10-3 in league play.
SO WITH THOSE GUYS LEAVING: Three true freshmen are combining to average 87.1 minutes, all above the 27-minute mark. Point guard Derek Glasser is averaging 32.4 minutes in conference play, currently the third-most by a Sun Devil freshman in ASU's 29-year Pac-10 history.
FREE THROWS: In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in free throw percentage, including 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. While at NC State, his Wolfpack squads shot 71.3 percent. ASU is 140-of-195 (.717) from the free throw line in its past 15 games and 96-of-132 (.727) in the past nine games.
OLD FOES: This marks the second meeting of Herb Sendek and Ben Braun in the Pac-10, but the two had met nine times with Coach Sendek's squads winning six. Last year, NC State topped California 58-52 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Dallas. On March 20, 2003, California topped NC State 76-74 also in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City, where ASU also was playing Memphis and Kansas. In the three seasons from 1993-1996, Coach Sendek's Miami (Ohio) squad went 5-2 against Ben Braun's Eastern Michigan teams, a solid record especially considering Braun's teams were 15-12 (10-8 in the MAC), 20-10 (12-6 in the MAC) and 25-6 (14-4 and MAC champions) those three seasons.
MAGICAL FIRST-YEAR RUN: Herb Sendek's first ACC Tournament in 1996-1997 held in Greensboro, N.C., produced one of the best four-day runs in NCAA conference tournament history. NC State entered the tournament as the eighth seed and 13-13 overall, including a 4-12 in regular season ACC play. NC State beat ninth-seeed Georgia Tech 60-46 on March 6, topped No. 1 seeded and seventh-ranked Duke 66-60 in the second round on March 7, beat fifth-seeded and No. 22 Maryland 65-58 on March 9 before falling to third-seeded and fifth-ranked North Carolina in the championship game on March 10.
NCAA NOTE: Herb Sendek took NC State to the past five NCAA Tournaments (2002-2006). To compare with the Pac-10, only three schools (one current Pac-10 coach) can match that in the past 29 seasons. Arizona (currently 22), UCLA (14 straight from 1989-2002) and Stanford (11 straight from 1995-2005) have had NCAA Tournaments streaks of more than five, but none of the other seven Pac-10 schools have gone to more than three straight NCAAs since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79.
20-MINUTES: In its past eight games, ASU has outscored its opponents 260-212 (32.5 to 26.5) in the second half and held them to 65-of-185 (.351) from the field and 16-of-67 (.239) from the three-point stripe...ASU has forced 65 second-half turnovers in those eight games and committed just 44...ASU outscored USC 47-32 in the second half on Feb. 18...ASU outscored Oregon 30-22 in the second half and held it to just 6-of-21 (.286) from the floor...ASU outscored Wazzu 23-12 on Feb. 3 and held it to 4-of-20 (.200) from the floor...ASU outscored Washington 40-22 on Feb. 1 in the second half.
NO SOPHOMORE JINX: Sophomore Jeff Pendergraph is averaging nearly a double-double in the past 22 games (13.0 points and 9.7 boards), has eight double-doubles on the year and 11 games of double-digit rebounds. He grabbed 19 boards at Oregon on Feb. 8 and vs. Colgate on Dec. 19, the most by a Sun Devil since Mike Batiste had 20 vs. Wagner on Nov. 19, 1997.
FRESHMEN FODDER: Christian Polk, with 62 three-pointers, has a chance to break the ASU freshmen record set by Ron Riley in 1992-93 of 66. Jerren Shipp and Derek Glasser (32 each) are both in the top 10...Glasser needs 20 assists to match the Sun Devil record for assists by a freshmen of 114 set by Bobby Thompson in 1983-84...Derek Glasser is now 14-of-25 from the three-point stripe (.560) in the past seven games.
THE COACH: 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 261-179 (.594) in 14 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The just turned 44-year old (birthday was Feb. 22) 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.