Men's Hoops Plays Ninth-Ranked UCLA On CBS Saturday At 12:45 p.m. PT
Jan. 16, 2009
SUN DEVILS FACE #9 UCLA: The No. 16/15 (AP/ESPN) Arizona State's men's hoops team, 21-13 and 9-9 in the Pac-10 last year and 14-3/3-2 this season under third-year head coach Herb Sendek, plays ninth-ranked UCLA (14-2/4-0) on Saturday, Jan. 17, at 12:45 p.m. PT on CBS, with Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg on the call. ASU has won 10 of its past 12, including a pair of wins over 10-0 teams (vs. BYU and at Stanford), but was outscored 22-9 in the final eight minutes in a 61-49 loss at USC on Thursday. Three Sun Devils are in double digits: James Harden (21.9, which leads the Pac-10), Jeff Pendergraph (13.5 and tops in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at .674) and Rihards Kuksiks (11.2 and one of the best in the nation at 53.8 three-point percentage), as Kuksiks is 22-of-33 (.667) from the three-point stripe in the past seven games. ASU, ranked third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 58.5 points per game, started 12-1 for first time in 34 seasons (1974-75 Sun Devil squad started 15-1), leads the Pac-10 in field goal shooting (.510), assists per game (17.6) and is third in free throw shooting (.731) as its starting five is shooting 76.9 percent from the free throw line (216-of-281). After going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year, the Sun Devils are 35-16 (.686) and giving up just 61.2 points per game in his 81 games.
SHOOT IT KUKSIKS: Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging 13.2 points and 4.8 boards, including 37-of-64 (.578) from the three-point strie, in his past 11 games. He has 295 points and 18 double-figure scoring games in his past 29 contests (10.1 ppg.) dating to last year after scoring 42 points in his first 22 games. He had the best game of his career on Dec. 14 in ASU's one-point overtime win over IUPUI. He matched his career high with 18 points, made a career-high six three pointers, grabbed a career-best nine boards, matched a career-high with four assists and had a career-high three steals. He has posted double digits in nine of his past 10 games.
THURSDAY: ASU jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the first 11 minutes, led 24-14 with 4:31 left in the first half and led 40-39 with 7:43 left in the game before poor shooting and a bad second-half caught up with them in a 61-49 loss at USC. ASU had season lows in points (49), field goals made (15), field goal percentage (.341), assists (10), blocks (zero) and second half points (23). USC matched ASU opponent season highs in steals (eight) and blocks (four). Richards Kuksiks led ASU with 16 points while Derek Glasser and Jeff Pendergraph had 13 each, but ASU was just 6-of-28 (.286) from the field in the second half.
SHOOTING IT: ASU is averaging 9.2 threes in the past 12 games and leads the Pac-10 in three-pointers at 8.5 made per game and is second in three point shooting (.393)...ASU shot 16-of-18 (.889) from the field in the second half against OSU...ASU shot .653 in its Dec. 29 win over Central Connecticut State, including 14-of-14 from inside the three-point arc in the first half...ASU hit a school-record 17 threeS in its 90-55 Dec. 23 win over Idaho State.
HITTING FREEBIES: ASU shot .739 from the free throw line last year, the fifth-best mark in ASU history and second-best in past 21 seasons, and is shooting just below that pace this year (.731). 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.
SUN DEVIL DATA: James Harden has four 30-point games on the year, the most by a Sun Devil since Ike Diogu had six in 2004-2005. ASU is now 21-5 when Harden scores at least 20 (7-2 this year). After starting the season 2-of-14 (.143) from the three-point stripe in the first four games, he is 28-of-60 (.467) in the past 13 games...ASU is 10-6 in the past two seasons in 10 points or less games after going 4-17 in Herb Sendek's first year...after going 10-29 in Herb Sendek's first two seasons when trailing at the half, ASU is 3-0 this year as it trailed at San Diego State and vs. IUPUI and BYU...ASU has now won five straight OT games under Herb Sendek after its 59-58 overtime win over IUPUI on Dec. 14. Last year ASU was 4-0 in overtime, beating LSU in Maui 87-84 (Nov. 21), topping Arizona at home 64-59 (Jan. 9), winning at Cal in double overtime 99-90 (Jan. 17) and beating seventh-ranked Stanford 72-68 in Tempe (Feb. 14)...in the Jan. 8 69-38 victory over Oregon State, ASU held the Beavers to 15 first-half points, ASU's best first-half defensive effort since it led Oregon State 33-13 on Feb. 25, 1995.
NOT TAKING IT FOR FOR GRANTED: ASU had an eight-game win-streak from Nov. 30-Jan. 2, its third-longest in the past 28 seasons. Last year's team won 10 straight and the 2004-05 team won nine straight.
FIVE IN DOUBLES: The Dec. 23 Idaho State and Dec. 29 Central Connecticut State games marked the first time ASU posted five players in double-digits in back-to-back games since the 2000-2001 season. ASU also placed five in double digits in the 76-58 Oregon win on Jan. 10.
STEADY JEFF: Jeff Pendergraph, who earned his B.S. in Economics in December in just three and a half years and has 102 career starts, is shooting 67.4 percent from the floor this year (tops in the Pac-10), .764 from the free throw line in his career (301-of-394) and is 48-of-60 (.800) on the year. He has 1,309 points in 108 career games (12.1 points per game) and 776 career rebounds (7.2 per game). He has 22 career double-doubles (four this year).
ONE-POINT GAMES: The Dec. 20 BYU and Dec. 14 IUPUI contests marked for the first back-to-back one-point wins in ASU history. ASU is now 3-2 under Herb Sendek in one-point games.
BIG ROAD WIN: ASU's 30-point win (90-60) at Stanford on Jan. 2 is the third-largest league road win in ASU's 31 Pac-10 seasons (273 road games) and largest since a 33-point win at Washington State (87-54) on Feb. 6, 2003.
BIG GAME JAMES: James Harden, the most heralded Sun Devil southpaw since Phil Mickelson, became the first player to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks (Nov. 24 and Dec. 1) since Washington's Brandon Roy notched the feat in February of 2006 in three straight weeks...first Sun Devil to score 40 points (against UTEP on Nov. 30) since Eddie House had 40 vs. UCLA on Feb. 17, 2000, and just the third Sun Devil to notch 40 points (six occasions). Through 51 career games, Harden has led ASU in scoring 38 times, rebounding 18 times and led it in assists in 21 games...has 26 career 20-point games and 10 this year (ASU is 21-5/8-2)...has four 30 +point games this year (33 vs. Pepperdine, 32 vs. Baylor, 40 vs. UTEP, 30 vs. BYU...turned 19-years old at the beginning of the fall (born August of 1989) and was the youngest player in the Pac-10 in 2007-08 and he led the Pac-10 with 73 steals.
AT THE POINT: Derek Glasser is 127-of-155 (.819) from the free throw line and has played 15 turnover free games in his 81-game career. He had a career-high 11 assists vs. Oregon on Jan. 10 and has 89 assists and just 41 turnovers on the year (2.2-to-1 ratio). He also has 320 career assists (3.95 per game), on pace to break the ASU career record of 454 set by Bobby Thompson from 1983-87. In the five conference games he is 13-of-25 (.520) from the floor, 8-of-13 (.615) from the three-point stripe and 13-of-14 (.929) at the free throw line. In his first six games he was 2-of-13 (.154) from the three-point stripe but he is 16-of-27 (.593) in the past 11 games.
KEEP AN EYE ON: ASU is 24-1 when it shoots 50 percent under Herb Sendek and has won 22 straight (12-0 last year and is 10-0 this year). It has not shot 50 percent against UCLA in the past 11 games, since Jan. 16, 2003, when it was 28-of-47 (.596) from the field in a 75-64 Sun Devil win at Pauley.
VS. UCLA: ASU shot just 39.6 percent in its two losses to UCLA last year, including just 13-of-37 (.351) from the three-point stripe...James Harden was the only Sun Devil to average in double digits against UCLA last year (10.0 points per game)...UCLA outrebounded ASU by 30 in the two games (70-40)...UCLA leads the series 56-14...ASU's last win in Pauley was on Jan. 16, 2003, a 75-64 win.
RALLY CAPS: ASU has fallen behind three times this year but rallied to win. On Dec. 20 against previously undefeated BYU in Glendale, ASU was down 66-56 at the 9:31 mark before outscoring BYU 20-9 for a 76-75 victory...against IUPUI on Dec. 14, ASU was down 18 early and 34-18 at the half but came back to win 59-58 in overtime. ASU outscored the Jaguars 15-3 in the final 8:27 to tie the game, as it matched the largest halftime deficit overcome in 15 years as ASU came back from 45-29 against New Mexico State in Tempe (NIT) on March 15, 2000...ASU also trailed at San Diego State 15-2 at the 12:46 mark but outscored the Aztecs 57-37.
TREE: Herb Sendek has eight former assistants who are D-I coaches. Dozen-year sidekick Mark Phelps earned the Drake spot after serving for 10 years on the staff at NC State and for two years at ASU and former NC State sidekick John Groce also earned the Ohio University position last spring. The others are Jim Christian, formerly at Kent State and now at TCU (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Charlie Coles at Miami of Ohio (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Larry Hunter at Western Carolina (NC State assistant from 2001-05), Ron Hunter of IUPUI (Miami assistant from 1993-94), Ohio State's Thad Matta (Miami assistant in 1994-95) and Xavier's Sean Miller (assistant at both Miami from 1994-96 and at NC State from 1996-2000).
THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 16th season as a head coach and has averaged 18.7 wins. He led NC State to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 297-196 (.602) in 16 seasons, including 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 45-year-old Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the third-youngest coach in the Pac-10. Only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from 2002-2006.
BACK TO CALI: ASU will play at least nine games this year in California. It won at SDSU (Nov. 18) and at Stanford (Jan. 2), lost at Cal (Jan. 4) and at USC (Jan. 15) and went 2-1 (wins vs. Charlotte and UTEP and loss to Baylor) in the 76 Classic in Anaheim Nov. 27-30. It also will play at least once in the Pac-10 Tournament in Staples Center.
VS. RANKED TEAMS: Coach Sendek has 32 career wins against ranked foes, including 11 top-10 wins in his past eight seasons. He notched his first at ASU on Feb. 18, 2007, as ASU topped No. 22 USC 68-58 and won his first attempt in the 2007-08 season with a 77-55 over No. 17 Xavier on Dec. 15 (largest win over a ranked team in ASU history)...against seventh-ranked Stanford on Feb. 14, ASU beat its highest ranked opponent since its 90-87 overtime win at No. 4 Stanford on Jan. 31, 1998, and earned its first win over a top-10 team since Jan. 23, 2002 (88-72 win over No. 10 Arizona in Tempe)..