Men's Hoops Opens Pac-10 Play Jan. 3 Against Oregon At Ned Wulk Court

Dec. 30, 2007

SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, under second-year coach Herb Sendek, plays host to the 2007 Pac-10 Tournament champion and 2007 Elite Eight participant Oregon Ducks (9-3) on Thursday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m. MT (KKNT 960 AM/no television) and to the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. MT (KTAR 620 AM/FSN) to open Pac-10 play. ASU is on a six-game win streak for the first time since Nov. 27-Dec. 29, 2004, and for just the third time in the past in the past 13 seasons (1995-96 to present). ASU is led by its youngest player, freshman James Harden (born Aug. 26, 1989), who leads the team in scoring (16.9 ppg.), steals (24) and minutes per game (30.3) and is shooting .571 from the field (68-of-119) and .821 from the free throw line (55-of-67). ASU's roster has an interesting mix as it includes one senior, five freshmen, three sophomores who played 87.3 minutes per game last year (with Pac-10 leading 69 freshmen starts) and one of college hoops rising players in 6-9 junior Jeff Pendergraph. A preseason Wooden Award Top-50 candidate, Pendergraph led the team in scoring (12.1) and rebounding (9.1) last year, as his rebounding average matched the second-best mark by a Sun Devil in the past 26 seasons. ASU's 10-2 mark is tied for its second-best through a dozen games in the past 27 seasons (2004-05 team was 11-1 while ASU also was 10-2 in 1994-95 and 1990-91).

UPDATED PENDERGRAPH NOTES: With nine of the Sun Devil games being margins of at least 15 points, Jeff Pendergraph is averaging just 26.0 minutes per game but he already has 14 blocks and is shooting .651 from the field and .803 from the free throw line. His best outing this year was a 25-point, 10-board scene stealer against LSU's long front line in the third game of Maui Invitational. In his past four games he is averaging 17.8 points and 9.8 boards. He is 18-of-24 (.750) from the field in the past three games and has made 22-of-24 (.917) free throws in the past two games. He has three double-doubles this year and 16 in his career.

TAKE IT: ASU was one of four teams who had more wins prior to Christmas than it did all of 2006-2007. The list included ASU (9-2 after 8-22 last year), Iona (5-7 after 2-28 last year), Northern Colorado (5-6 after 4-24 last year) and UNC-Wilmington (8-4 after 7-22 last year).

QUICK NOTES: Derek Glasser has made 15-of-18 (.833) free throws this year and is 50-of-63 (.794) in his 42-game career. After shooting 34.5 percent from the field last year, Glasser is shooting 51.2 percent (22-of-43) this year. He had a career-high nine assists against Idaho on Dec. 22, the most by a Sun Devil since Antwi Atuahene had 10 vs. Oregon on Feb. 11, 2006 (most in past 48 games)...sophomore Jerren Shipp is 20-of-43 (.465) from the three-point stripe this year after going 36-of-107 (.336) last year. He had a career-best nine boards vs. Idaho...sophomore Christian Polk is 43-of-54 (.796) from the foul line in his 42-game career...freshman Ty Abbott is averaging 16.0 points in his past four games. He already has 33 three-pointers on the year, ninth-best by a freshman in ASU history...Coach Sendek has 31 wins against ranked teams in his career, including 14 wins over top-10 teams and eight over top-five teams. He notched his first at ASU last year in the final chance of the year when ASU topped No. 22 USC 68-58 on Feb. 18, 2007 and won his first attempt this year with the resounding 77-55 win over No. 17 Xavieron Dec. 15, the largest win over a ranked team in ASU history.

FRESHMEN: ASU freshmen accounted for 69 of 150 starts in Herb Sendek's rookie 30-game season. Through 12 games, the numbers have jumped to 104 out of 210 starts in his 42-game tenure with at least three freshmen starting in the first eight games. That means in his two years, ASU's starting lineup has had freshmen make 49.5 percent of the starts. Sophomores have made 45 starts (.214), juniors 29 (.138) and seniors 32 (.160). Against Xavier on Dec. 15, ASU started four freshmen for the first time in school history.

ASU VS. OREGON NOTES: ASU fell at No. 13 Oregon 55-51 last year on Feb. 8, 2007. The 55 points by the Ducks, the eventual Pac-10 Tournament champion and Elite Eight participant, was a season-low and remains the fewest by the Ducks since a 70-53 loss to UCLA on Feb. 26, 2006, a span of the past 53 games. The Ducks averaged 75.9 points per game last year...ASU is 18-11 (.621) against Oregon in Tempe since joining the Pac-10 (4-3 in past seven years) and is 34-30 against the Ducks all-time...ASU won eight straight over Oregon from 1990-94 under Bill Frieder, but the Ducks have won the past four...Oregon has won five straight over ASU just once (1986-88)...last year in Tempe, ASU held Oregon to just .375 shooting in the second half after UO shot 50 percent in the first half but No. 13 Oregon topped ASU 60-55 on Jan. 11. ASU made just a trio of three-pointers, a Eugene on Feb. 8, No. 13 Oregon topped ASU 55-51 as ASU was a season-low 31.7 percent from the field (19-of-60). The Sun Devils did not score a field goal in the final5:58 of the first half as Oregon went on a 12-0 run. ASU outscored Oregon30-22 in the second half and just 6-of-21 (.286) shooting.

WOW: ASU has hosted the likes of Final Four-bound Kansas in 1990-91,Final-Four bound Oklahoma State in 1994-95, Texas, Georgia, KerryKittles-led Villanova, Kenny Thomas-led New Mexico, BYU, 2006 defending BigTen Tournament champ Iowa and Louisville since 1990, but No. 17 Xavier wasthe highest ranked non-conference foe to visit ASU since No. 14 ASU beat No.7 Ohio State 71-58 on Dec. 20, 1980. Xavier also was the firstnon-conference ranked foe to visit Tempe since No. 18 UTEP topped ASU 60-55on Dec. 18, 1983. ASU's 77-55 win over the Musketeers is the largest over aranked team in ASU history, topping ASU's only win over the nation'stop-ranked team, an 87-67 win at Oregon State on March 7, 1981. It wasASU's highest-ranked non-conference win since Nov. 23, 1994 (97-90 win overseventh-ranked Maryland in Maui) and Xavier's worst defeat since an 80-49loss to La Salle in the 1999-2000 season. ASU's 59.5 shooting percentage isthe best against Xavier since Elite Eight-bound St. Joseph's in 2003-2004shot 60 percent. That St. Joseph's team was undefeated for all of theregular season.

(22)--ASU 77, #17 Xavier 55 (Dec. 15, 2007)
(20)--#5 ASU 87, @#1 Oregon State 67 (March 7, 1981)
(19)--ASU 89, #5 San Francisco 70 (Dec. 3, 1977)
(18)--ASU 71, #6 Colorado 53 (Dec. 21, 1962)
(17)--ASU 79, #13 Michigan 62 (Nov. 22, 1994)
(17)--ASU 95, #3 USC 78 (Dec. 1, 1971)

THE TREE: Herb Sendek has six former assistants who are currently D-I headcoaches: Jim Christian, Kent State, Miami Assistant (1994-96); CharlieColes, Miami (Ohio), Miami Assistant (1994-96); Larry Hunter, WesternCarolina, NC State Assistant (2001-05); Ron Hunter, IUPUI, Miami Assistant(1993-94); Thad Matta, Ohio State, Miami Assistant (1994-95) and SeanMiller, Xavier, Miami (1994-96) and NC State Assistant (1996-2000). Coles,Miller and Matta all led their teams to the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

EXPECT THIS TO BE A STAPLE AT ASU: ASU is shooting .758 from the free throwline (175-of-231), as James Harden already is 55-of-67 (.821). Each of thesix Sun Devils averaging more than 16 minutes are shooting at least 73percent, and five of them are shooting better than 80 percent. In his 10seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in FTpercentage (including three straight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004 NC State ledthe nation and set the ACC record by shooting .799 from the charity stripe.While at NC State, his squads shot 71.3 percent, as his poorest FT shootingteam was his first year (1996-97/.649).

ACADEMICALLY SPEAKING: The men's basketball team had another strong outingin the classroom this past fall, as it posted a 2.91 semester grade pointaverage and its cumulative GPA for the roster is now 2.95. In addition, twomore former Sun Devils finished their degrees, as Bruno Claudino(2005-2007/B.I.S) and Shawn Redhage (1999-2003/B.S. in Construction) bothfinished their degrees in December of 2007. Since 2004, 13 Sun Devil men'sbasketball players have graduated.

QUICKIES: ASU set a school record by making 73.3 percent of itsthree-pointers (11-of-15) against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 29. It alsoshot 72.1 percent from the field for the game (31-of-43), secon-best inschool history...James Harden, Ty Abbott and Jamelle McMillan startedagainst Illinois on Nov. 19, the first time in school history that threefreshmen started the opener...after averaging 58.5 points per game lastyear, ASU scored 54 in the first half against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 28.The 54 first-half points (most since 58-30 lead against USC on Feb. 13,2003) was more than it scored in 10 games last year...ASU outrebounded CalPoly by 29 on Nov. 26 (52-23), its best rebounding margin since a 49-19output vs. American-Puerto Rico on Nov. 26, 1997...ASU also held Cal Poly to14-of-55 (.255) from the floor, its best defensive effort since Dec. 2,2000, when it held eventual NCAA Tournament bound BYU to 15-of-59 (.254),then held Delaware State to .208 shooting (11-of-53)...Jeff Pendergraph ledthe team in charges taken with 19 last year...ASU is 8-0 at home this yearafter going 7-11 (.389) last year in Tempe...

HARDEN UPDATE: Freshman James Harden has been all that was advertisedearly in the year. The first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out ofhigh school since 1984 (it was Chris Sandle before you ask), he leads theteam in scoring (16.9), minutes (30.3) and steals (14). The long-armed wingalready has five 20-point games, one double-double (15 points and 10 boardsvs. Cal Poly) and is averaging 5.3 boards per game and is shooting .571 fromthe field (68-of-119).

NEVER AN EASY OPENER: Last season marked just the 12th time in 29 Pac-10seasons ASU opened the season at home as it fell to NCAA Tournamentparticipant Stanford 71-60 on Dec. 28. ASU has opened the Pac-10 with a teamthat eventually would make the NCAA Tournament the past five seasons and inseven of the past eight years.

Dec. 28, 2006 Stanford 71, @ASU 60 Stanford (18-12 and NCAAs)
Dec. 29, 2005 @#7 UW 91, ASU 67 UW ends 13-5 in Pac-10 play
Jan. 2, 2005 @#14 Arizona 97, ASU 79 Arizona wins Pac-10 at 14-4
Jan. 3, 2004 #4 Arizona 93, @ASU 74 Arizona goes 20-10
Jan. 2, 2003 ASU 67, @OSU 47 ASU goes 20-12 (NCAA)
Dec. 20, 2001 @Oregon 103, ASU 90 UO wins Pac-10 (26-9)
Jan. 4, 2001 #2 Stanford 94, @ASU 77 Stanford wins Pac-10 (31-3)Jan. 6, 2000 @#1 Stanford 86, ASU 67 Stanford wins Pac-10 (27-4)

GOOD DUCK TEAMS BRING OUT GOOD ASU PERFORMANCES: The Sun Devils have seemedto play well against the better Oregon teams...Oregon's 2003 NCAA Tournamentteam (led by Pac-10 Player of the Year Luke Ridnour) won three games againstranked teams and was the Pac-10 Tournament champion but fell to ASU in Tempe91-77 on March 6, 2001-02, Oregon went 14-4 and won the Pac-10title and advanced to the Elite Eight. It came to Tempe after alreadysweeping Arizona (including a 105-75 win in Eugene just two weeks earlier)but lost to ASU 95-88 on Jan. 6, 2002, its only loss during an 2000-2001 ASU finished 5-13 in the Pac-10 but swept the Ducks,who had three future first-round NBA draft picks in Freddie Jones, Ridnourand Luke Jackson.

OREGON STATE SERIES: OSU leads the series 38-31 and has won threestraight...the Beavers swept the season series last year for the first timesince 1991-92...ASU had won its past eight against Oregon State in Tempebefore the Beaver win last January, its first in Tempe since Jan. 22,1998...ASU swept the regular season series from the Beavers in 2005-06 forthe seventh time since joining the Pac-10 but fell 71-68 in the first roundof the Pac-10 Tournament to the Beavers...against Oregon State last year ina 67-59 loss in Tempe on Jan. 13, Jeff Pendergraph had 19 points and 10boards but had two fouls within the first four minutes of the game whichlimited his playing time to 28 minutes...ASU led 35-27 early in the secondhalf but went 10-of-33 (.303) from the field in the second half...ASU had aseason-high 23 offensive rebounds, its most in a Pac-10 game since it had 24at Washington in a 70-68 overtime loss on Jan. 11, 2001...OSU posted 40second-half points, the most against ASU last year, and also had eightblocks while ASU had Corvallis on Feb. 10, ASU led 48-45 at the8:56 mark but was outscored 14-7 the rest of the way in a 59-55 Beaverwin...there were 10 ties and 10 lead changes...OSU was the Pac-10 worst freethrow shooting team last year, but it was 32-of-42 (.762) against ASU and154-of-285 (.540) in its other 16 league games.

NICE CARRY OVER: ASU won two of its final five last year, beating #22 USC68-58 on Feb. 18 and then winning 42-41 at Cal March 3 in the regular seasonfinale, matching the best defensive performance in ASU's 522-game Pac-10history (ASU beat UW 53-41 on Jan. 31, 1991) and the best in a Pac-10 roadgame. ASU improved throughout last year as in the second half of the Pac-10season, its scoring margin was less than a three-pointer (-2.5 per game).Although ASU went 8-22 last year, it is 12-5 in its past 17 games.

McDONALD ALL-AMERICANS: ASU has two McDonald's All-Americans this year withfreshmen James Harden (2007) and sophomore Eric Boateng (2005). Other Pac-10teams with McDonald's All-Americans in 2006-2007 include Arizona (JerrydBayless in 2007, Chase Budinger in 2006 and Jawann McClellan in 2004),Stanford (Brook and Robin Lopez in 2006), UCLA (Kevin Love from 2007 andJames Keefe in 2006), Washington (Jon Brockman in 2005), Oregon (MalikHairston in 2004) and USC (O.J. Mayo from 2007).

HAS ASU HAD MANY McDONALD'S ALL-AMERICANS PRIOR TO THIS YEAR?: Herb Sendek'sfirst recruit at ASU was Duke transfer Eric Boateng, a 6-10 2005 McDonald'sAll-American who attended high school in Delaware. He became just the fourthMickey D AA to appear on an ASU roster, joining Jamal Faulkner (1989), ChrisSandle (1984) and Byron Scott (1979). James Harden is the fifth, but thefirst to sign out of high school since Sandle in 1984 (Jamal Faulkner wentone year of prep school prior to ASU).

WHEN YOU PUT IT THIS WAY, IT REALLY IS IMPRESSIVE: Herb Sendek took NC Stateto the five straight NCAA Tournaments (2002-2006) prior to ASU. To compareit to the Pac-10, only three schools can match that in the 29 seasons sinceASU and Arizona joined the league in 1978-79. Arizona (currently 23), UCLA(14 straight from 1989-2002) and Stanford (11 straight from 1995-2005) havehad NCAA Tournaments streaks of more than five, but none of the other sevenPac-10 schools have gone to the NCAAs more than three straight times sincethe league expanded to 10 teams. In fact, Cal (2001-2003), Oregon State(1980-82 and 1988-90) and Washington (1984-86 and 2004-06) are the onlyschools to have made three straight in that time frame.

FROSH STARTS: ASU freshmen made 69 starts in 2006-2007 -- Christian Polk(26), Jerren Shipp (22) and Derek Glasser (21). The 69 starts was the mostin the Pac-10, ahead of Washington (68) and USC (65). Stanford (49), Cal(48), Arizona and Oregon State (43 including redshirt freshman Josh Tarver's32 starts), Oregon (33), Washington State (4) and UCLA (1) complete theleague's 423 freshmen starts. ASU freshmen have made 35 starts this year.

'THIS' CLOSE: ASU was in 14 games decided by five points or less, the mostby an ASU squad in 23 years (1982-83 team had 17 of 33 games of fivepoints). Fifteen of ASU's games were two-possession games (six points orless). ASU was in 21 games of 10 points or less, which led the Pac-10 andwas in just nine games of 11+ point final margins, fewest in the loop.After losing five straight games by 20 total points (including three againstranked teams), ASU posted a 68-58 win over No. 22 USC on Feb. 18, its firstwin over a ranked team since March 20, 2003.

INTRIGUING SECOND HALF: In the final nine regular season games last year(second half of Pac-10) ASU was outscored by just 22 points and its sevenlosses were by one, three, four (twice), five, six and ten points. It allstarted vs. Washington on Feb. 1, when ASU fell behind 44-21 at the half butthen outscored the Huskies 40-22 in the second half and held UW to just5-of-21 (.238) from the those nine games, ASU outscored itsopponents 281-227 (31.2 to 25.7) in the second half and held them to70-of-203 (.344) from the field and 18-of-76 (.236) from the three-pointstripe...held Cal on March 3 to just 5-of-18 (.278) shooting and 16 pointsin the second half...outscored USC 47-32 in the second half on Feb. 18...ASUoutscored eventual Pac-10 Tournament champion and Elite Eight participantOregon 30-22 in the second half and just 6-of-21 (.286) shooting...ASUoutscored WSU 23-12 on Feb. 3 and held it to 4-of-20 (.200) from thefloor...14 of ASU's final 15 games were decided by 10 points or less,including its final 10.

D IS GOOD: The Sun Devils finished third in Pac-10 games in scoring defenseat 61.7 ppg., and the other teams in the top seven were NCAA Tournamentsquads. And it is not just a result of slowing the game down, as ASU rankedfourth in FG percentage defense (.437) in league games, despite blockingjust 23 shots in 18 games (ninth in the loop). ASU gave up just 61.8 pointsper game overall (fourth-best mark in ASU history), the lowest since 1949-50(59.8). In 42 games under Herb Sendek, ASU is giving up just 60.4 points pergame.

THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 15th season as a head coach and hasaveraged 18.7 wins per season. He led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAAappearances from 2002-06 and is now 272-182 (.599) in 15 seasons and was191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 44-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh,Pa., native is the second-youngest coach in the Pac-10 behind onlysecond-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU. Only Duke posted more ACC wins(regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from2002-2006. Coach Sendek also led NC State to five 20-win seasons in hisfinal seven years. 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 in1978-79, only five coaches have coached at their schools for at least 10years: Lute Olson (24 at Arizona), Ralph Miller (19 at Oregon State), MikeMontgomery (18 at Stanford), Ben Braun (12th at California) and Ernie Kent(11th at Oregon).

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