Men's Hoops Hosts California At 4 p.m. Saturday

Feb. 15, 2008

SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, 16-7 and 6-5 in the Pac-10 under second-year coach Herb Sendek, plays host to the high scoring California Golden Bears on Saturday after a come from behind 72-68 overtime win over seventh-ranked Stanford on Thursday. ASU was down 14 in the second half and down seven with 1:49 to play but rallied behind 23 points from James Harden as well as 15 points and 12 boards from Jeff Pendergraph to stop the Cardinal's seven-game win streak. Freshman Rihards Kuksiks added a season-high 15 points, including three three-pointers.

RPI: The Sun Devils are just one of five teams with four wins over top 25 RPI teams ( ASU's wins are over #10 Xavier, two wins over current #13 Arizona and Thursday night's win over current No. 19 Stanford.

Arizona State 4-2
Purdue 4-2
Texas 4-3

NOTES ON THE WIN: Seventh-ranked Stanford is the highest ranked team ASU has topped since a 90-87 overtime win at fourth-ranked Stanford on Jan. 31, is the highest-ranked opponent ASU has defeated at home since a 94-87 win over seventh-ranked Arizona on March 12, is the highest-ranked opponent ASU has defeated at home not named Arizona since a 68-60 win over fourth-ranked Oregon State on March 6, 1982... Coach Sendek now has 32 career wins against ranked teams (15 over top-10)...his staff has posted seven wins over top-10 teams in the past eight seasons as NC State beat 10 top-10 teams in his final six seasons.

CLOSE GAME UPDATE: Last year, ASU was 4-17 in games decided by 10 points or less, but this year the Sun Devils are 7-1 with wins over LSU (87-84 in Maui Invitational), Montana State (66-62), Oregon (62-54), Arizona twice (64-59 in overtime and 59-54 in Tucson), at California (99-90 in double overtime) and against seventh-ranked Stanford (72-68 in overtime). Its only loss in that category was a 56-55 heartbreaker to sixth-ranked Washington State on Jan. 26. ASU lost its only overtime game last year but is 4-0 this year with the wins over LSU, Arizona, at California and against Stanford.

REAL DEAL: The Pac-10's youngest player, freshman James Harden (turned 18 on Aug. 26), leads ASU in scoring (18.3 ppg./fourth in Pac-10), steals (1.96 per game/first in Pac-10) and minutes per game (33.2/10th in Pac-10). He is shooting .542 from the field (ninth in Pac-10), .758 from the free throw line and .452 from the three-point stripe (sixth in Pac-10). Harden is the first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out of high school since 1984 (it was Chris Sandle before you ask). He has 12 20-point games (matching ASU freshman record held by Ike Diogu in 2002-03), including five straight from Dec. 29-Jan. 17 which is a first for an ASU freshman. He is averaging 19.8 points (third in league) and 4.6 boards in Pac-10 games. He was named as a top 30 midseason finalist for the Naismith and Wooden Awards (one of just six freshmen on the Wooden list and one of seven Pac-10 players noted).

HARDEN DEFENSE NOTES: James Harden is trying to become just the fifth freshman to lead the Pac-10 in steals. The others are Jason Kidd of California (3.8 spg/1993), Baron Davis of UCLA (2.4 spg/1998) and USC's Errick Craven (2.1 spg/2002) and Gabe Pruitt (1.9 spg/2005). He leads the league at 1.96 per game. He needs just 14 steals to tie the ASU freshman record (59) held by Eddie House in 1996-97. He also had 14 blocks on the year, eighth on the ASU single-season freshmen list, just three behind Ron Riley (17 in 1992-93) for seventh.

FOLKS ARE WATCHING: According to Nielsen Media Research, ASU's television ratings on FSN Arizona are up 197% over their average rating for last season. So far this year, the eight Sun Devil games on FSN AZ are averaging a 1.5 rating/3 share in the Phoenix market. That figure means that an average of 27,039 households in the Valley are tuning into a game. Last year, the Sun Devils averaged a 0.5 rating.

QUICK NOTES: ASU held Pac-10 scoring leader Oregon (79.2 ppg.) to 54 points on Jan. 3, UO's fewest points in a 61 game span prior to its 72-43 loss at Stanford on Feb. 7. Those are the only times Oregon has been held under 60 points this year. Last year ASU fell at No. 13 Oregon 55-51 on Feb. 8, 2007, as the 55 points was a Duck season-low last year...ASU's 72-53 win on Jan. 5 over Oregon State was its biggest margin of victory in the Pac-10 since a 108-78 win over USC on Feb. 13, 2003...Derek Glasser has made 34-of-42 (.810) free throws this year and is 69-of-87 (.793) in his 52-game career. 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 57 games). Glasser has 77 assists and just 19 turnovers in the past 16 games and has 43 assists and 11 turnovers in Pac-10 play...Jerren Shipp matched a career-best with nine boards at California and played a career-best 42 minutes against Arizona on Jan. 9. He had a Pac-10 season-high 11 points at Arizona on Feb. 10...Christian Polk is 43-of-54 (.796) from the foul line in his 48-game career...Ty Abbott has 49 three-pointers, fourth-best by a freshman in ASU history, and is sixth in the Pac-10 at 2.23 three-pointers per game...ASU has reached 70-points nine times, last year it reached 70 points three times...last year ASU won at California 42-41 on the last day of the regular season. This year it almost doubled the points as the game was tied 81-81 at the end of regulation before ASU won 99-90 in double overtime.

HITTING FREEBIES: ASU is shooting .741 from the free throw line, currently the fifth-best mark in ASU history. In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in FT percentage (including three straight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004 NC State led the 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 shooting team was his first year (1996-97/.649). One good note on his 2003-04 NC State team is in the past nine seasons, NC State team's .799 final FT percentage is tied for the best in the NCAA with St. Joseph in 2005-06.ASU FREE THROW PERCENTAGE1. 1977-78 (13-14/6-8 in WAC) 75.62. 1954-55 (10-148-4 in Border) 75.43. 1997-98 (18-14/8-10 in Pac-10) 74.63. 1986-87 (11-17/6-12 in Pac-10) 74.65. 2007-08 (16-7/6-5 in Pac-10) 74.16. 2003-04 (10-17/4-14 in Pac-10) 73.57. 1956-57 (10-15/4-6 in Border) 73.08. 1999-2000 (19-13/10-8 in Pac-10) 72.99. 2005-06 (11-17/5-13 in Pac-10) 72.2

RECAPPING CAL (JAN. 17): ASU trailed 38-35 at the half but had three players notch 25 points as it topped Cal 99-90 in double overtime on Jan. 17. James Harden had 27 points, Jeff Pendergraph 26 points, eight rebounds and four blocks and Ty Abbott added 25 points and nine boards, including seven three-pointers...ASU shot 57.6 percent from the field, including 18-of-29 (.621) in the second half and outrebounded Cal 39-30...although ASU is now 9-23 (.281) in Pac-10 road games the past five years, it is 4-0 at Cal in that time...the visiting team has won the past seven games in the series...ASU now leads the series 34-30 as the home team had won 21 of 26 before the current seven-game visitor streak...ASU won 42-41 at Cal March 3 in the regular season finale last year, matching the best defensive performance in ASU's 535-game Pac-10 history (ASU beat UW 53-41 on Jan. 31, 1991) and the best in a Pac-10 road game as Derek Glasser hit the game-winning three-pointer with 13 seconds left...Cal's 41 points last year is the fewest by the Golden Bears since a 59-37 loss to Washington State on Jan. 14, 1988...ASU held Cal on March 3 to just 5-of-18 (.278) shooting and 16 points in the second the first matchup last year, (66-62 Dec. 30, 2006, overtime loss in Tempe) Christian Polk and Antwi Atuahene each had 14 points...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.

THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 15th season as a head coach and has averaged 18.7 wins per season. He led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 278-187 (.598) in 15 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 44-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the second-youngest full-time coach in the Pac-10 behind only second-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU. Only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from 2002-2006. Coach Sendek also led NC State to five 20-win seasons in his final 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 1978-79, only five coaches have coached at their schools for at least 10 years: Lute Olson (24 at Arizona), Ralph Miller (19 at Oregon State), Mike Montgomery (18 at Stanford), Ben Braun (12th at California) and Ernie Kent (11th at Oregon).

FRESH(MEN) STARTS: ASU freshmen made 69 starts in 2006-2007 -- Christian Polk (26), Jerren Shipp (22) and Derek Glasser (21). The 69 starts was the most in the Pac-10, ahead of Washington (68) and USC (65). Stanford (49), Cal (48), Arizona and Oregon State (43 ), Oregon (33), Washington State (4) and UCLA (1) complete the league's 423 freshmen starts. ASU freshmen have made 64 starts this year.

HISTORY NOTE: When ASU beat Cal 99-90 in double overtime on Jan.17, James Harden (27), Jeff Pendergraph (26) and Ty Abbott (25) each scored 25 points, the first time three Sun Devils each scored 25 points since a 115-92 win in Tempe over Portland State on Jan. 4, 1977.

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