Men's Hoops Plays At Oregon State Saturday At 2:30 p.m. PT/3:30 MT on FSN Arizona.

March 7, 2008

The Arizona State's men's hoops team, 18-11 and 8-9 in the Pac-10 under second-year coach Herb Sendek, closes the regular season at the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday (March 8) at 2:30 p.m. PT/3:30 MT on FSN Arizona. ASU, picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 preseason media poll, is 20-14 in its past 34 games after starting last year 6-19. It has clinched a winning season with four freshmen making 81 starts (tops in the Pac-10), playing more than 45 percent of the minutes and posting more than 50 percent of the points. ASU has won its share of close games (7-3 in games decided by 10 points or less after going 4-17 last year), makes its free throws (74 percent is currently fifth-best in school history and second best in past 21 seasons) and is led in scoring by ASU's most famous southpaw since Phil Mickelson, James Harden, who has 15 20-point games on the year, topping Ike Diogu's ASU freshmen record of 12 set in 2002-03. The 18-year old Harden (born this past August) is the youngest player in the Pac-10 as his 18.1 points per game is second-best in ASU freshmen history. Junior Jeff Pendergraph is shooting 58.9 percent from the field, as the ASU record is .630 held by Trent Edwards in 1988-89. ASU fell at Oregon Thursday 67-61 as Harden led the Sun Devils with 22, as UO was 10-of-23 (.435) from the three-point stripe and hit 17-of-23 (.739) free throws.

TURNAROUND INFO: ASU has a chance Saturday to become just the fifth team in 30 years of Pac-10 play to go from a last-place finish (2-16 last year) to a .500 record in conference play the next year. Washington State did it last year as Tony Bennett earned National Coach of the Year...ASU's 10-game turnaround in overall wins from last year (ASU was 8-22 overall in 2006-07) entering this week was the best by any major conference team and tied for third overall. UNC-Wilmington (7-22 to 19-12) and Wagner (11-19 to 22-7) lead the way, with Iona and Cleveland State also having 10-game turnarounds as of Monday.

Washington State from 3-15 in 1980-81 to 10-8 in 1981-82
California from 5-13 in 1987-88 to 10-8 in 1988-89
Stanford from 2-16 in 1992-93 to 10-8 in 1993-94
Washington State from 4-14 in 2005-06 to 13-5 (NCAAs) in 2006-07

WORTH MENTIONING: The Sun Devils are 4-4 in the second half of the Pac-10 with wins at Arizona and at Washington and home wins vs. NCAA-bound Stanford and USC. Freshman Rihards Kuksiks has been seeing quality minutes, as he is averaging 26.4 minutes per game in that time, and in his past six games he is averaging 10.7 points (second on team in that time) and has made 17 three pointers. He had 15 points in the win over seventh-ranked Stanford on Feb. 14, 15 at Washington on Feb. 23 and 10 in March 1 win vs. USC. He has 75 points in his past seven games (10.7 ppg.) after scoring 42 in the first 22 games (1.8 ppg.).

BIG WIN: ASU and UCLA are the only Pac-10 teams to have wins over RPI top-25 teams outside the league, as UCLA defeated current #14 Michigan State 68-63 in addition to ASU's Xavier victory. ASU's wins over Xavier and Stanford are especially impressive when you consider that Xavier has gone 17-3 since losing at ASU 77-55 on Dec. 15 and Stanford is 10-2 in the past 12 games with losses only at ASU and at UCLA.

STEADY: Jeff Pendergraph has 45 blocks (he had 45 in his first two seasons) and is shooting .589 from the field and .788 from the free throw line. He has four double-doubles this year (17 in career) He is shooting .752 from the free throw line in his career (231-of-307). His 90 career blocks already is seventh in ASU history, three behind Kurt Nimphius (1976-80).

FRESHMEN: Freshmen accounted for 69 of 150 starts in Herb Sendek's rookie 30-game season. Through 29 games, the numbers read 150 out of 295 starts in his 59 games (freshmen have started 81 games this year). Last year ASU's 69 freshmen starts set the school record by 24 starts that the Sun Devils have easily surpassed in 2007-08.

MORE HARDEN NOTES: In 37 minutes against a good defensive team in USC on March 1, Harden missed two shots out of 18. He was 7-of-8 from the field and 9-of-10 from the ASU's four overtime games (all wins and three of them in Pac-10 games) he is averaging 24.8 ppg and 5.5 rebounds and has 10 second on the team in assists (85), including 55 in Pac-10 ASU's eight Pac-10 wins he is shooting over 55 percent from the floor and is 13-27 from three-point stripe. He is averaging 21.8 points and 5.6 boards in those eight games...shooting 47.2 percent (17-of-36) from three-point land in nine road games.

A LOT OF MINUTES: James Harden and Ty Abbott are both beyond the pace set by Byron Scott in 1979-80 for Sun Devil freshmen minutes played in the 18 Pac-10 games. Harden is averaging 35.9 minutes in the 17 league games while Abbott is at 34.6. Derek Glasser averaged 32.2 minutes last year. Also, Abbott is just the second Sun Devil freshmen to start 29 games, as Ike Diogu started all 32 games in 2002-03, a school record. Harden has started 28 games, as he came off the bench in ASU's win at Arizona due to illness which caused him to miss practice.

1. 35.9, James Harden, 2007-08
2. 34.6, Ty Abbott, 2007-08
3. 34.2, Byron Scott, 1979-80
4. 33.3, Ike Diogu, 2002-03
5. 32.2, Derek Glasser, 2006-07

DEFENSE: James Harden is trying to become just the fifth freshman to lead the Pac-10 in steals. The others are Jason Kidd of Cal (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). His 55 steals is seventh-best in Pac-10 history for a freshman.

1. Jason Kidd, Cal, 1992-93, 110
2. Brevin Knight, Stanford, 1993-94, 77
3. Errick Craven, USC, 2001-02, 68
4. Eddie House, ASU, 1996-97, 59
5. Gary Payton, OSU, 1986-87, 58
6. Gabe Pruitt, USC, 2004-05, 56
7. James Harden, ASU, 2007-2008, 55

PAC-10 FRESHMEN NOTE: Coming into this season, only eight Pac-10 freshman had averaged 16.3 points or more in overall games. Currently there are four freshmen above that number. Only two Pac-10 freshmen have averaged 19 points and led their team to a NCAA Tournament berth (Ike Diogu of Arizona State in 2002-03 and Shareef Abdur Rahim in 1995-96).

1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Cal, 1995-96, 21.1 (NCAA team went 17-11)
2. O.J. Mayo, USC, 2007-08, 20.7 (USC 19-10 and 10-7)
3. Jerryd Bayless, Arizona, 2007-08, 20.3 (UA 18-12 and 8-9)
4. Harold Miner, USC, 1989-90, 20.6 (Team went 12-16)
5. Ike Diogu, ASU, 2002-03, 19.0 (NCAA team went 20-12)
6. Don McLean, UCLA, 1988-89, 18.6 (NCAA team went 21-10)
7. Cliff Robinson, USC, 1977-78, 18.4 (Team went 14-13)
8. James Harden, ASU, 2007-08, 18.1 (ASU 18-11 and 8-9)
9. Tom Lewis, USC, 1985-86, 17.6 (Team went 11-17)
10. Kevin Love, UCLA, 2007-08, 17.3 (UCLA 27-3 overall and 15-2)
11. Todd Lichti, Stanford, 1985-86, 17.2 (Team went 14-16 overall)
12. Ryan Anderson, California, 2006-07, 16.3 (Team went 16-17 overall)

OSU SERIES: OSU leads the series 38-32...ASU's 72-53 win on Jan. 5 over Oregon State is its biggest margin of victory in the Pac-10 since a 108-78 win over USC on Feb. 13, 2003...the Jan. 5 win put ASU at 2-0 in the Pac-10 for just the fourth time in 30 years...James Harden had 24 points while Jeff Pendergraph had 18 points and nine boards...ASU shot 57.9 percent from the field in the second half and held the Beavers to just 10-of-31 (.323) after halftime...the Beavers swept the season series last year for the first time since Corvallis on Feb. 10 last year, ASU led 48-45 at the 8:56 mark but was outscored 14-7 the rest of the way in a 59-55 Beaver win...OSU was the Pac-10's worst free throw shooting team last year, but it was 32-of-42 (.762) against ASU and 154-of-285 (.540) in its other 16 league games...ASU has swept the Beavers seven times in 29 Pac-10 seasons, the last being in 2005-06.

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 280-191 (.596) 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.

QUICK NOTES: ASU is shooting .740 from the free throw line, currently the fifth-best mark in ASU history...Derek Glasser has made 44-of-55 (.800) free throws this year and is 79-of-100 (.790) in his 59-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 64 games). Glasser has 103 assists and just 35 turnovers in the past 20 games and has 69 assists and 28 turnovers in Pac-10 games...Jerren Shipp matched a career-best with nine boards at Cal 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...Ty Abbott has 65 three-pointers, second-best by a freshman in ASU history, and just one away from matching Ron Riley's ASU freshmen record of 66.

MANY WINS, MANY PLACES: In his career, Coach Sendek now has won 277 games in 23 states, plus two wins in Puerto Rico and one in Washington D.C. North Carolina (153), Ohio (51) and Arizona (21) lead the way as he has been head coach in each state, and he also has posted wins in Florida, (seven), Michigan (six), South Carolina and Virginia (five each), Georgia and Indiana (four each), Massachusetts (three), California (three), Hawaii, Texas and Maryland (two each). One-win states are Alabama, Utah, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Nevada, Kentucky, Illinois and Washington.

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