Game Notes For Men's Hoops Noon Tip-Off Vs. California On Saturday

March 6, 2009

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ASU CLOSES REGULAR SEASON: The No. 21 (AP and ESPN Coaches' Poll) Arizona State's men's hoops team, 21-13 and 9-9 in the Pac-10 last year and 21-8/10-7 this season under 304-game winner Herb Sendek, tries to bounce back from back-to-back overtime losses (a first in school history) and then a loss on Thursday against Stanford on Saturday against California. CBS comes to Tempe for the first time since January of 2005 at noon on Senior Day, as ASU will honor four-year starter Jeff Pendergraph. The Sun Devils, who were on a five-game Pac-10 win streak for the first time since 1994-95 prior to dropping the two heartbreakers in Washington last weekend, have clinched back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1979-80 team went 22-7 and the 1980-81 team went 24-4. That note becomes more noteworthy when you consider this...the last time ASU had back-to-back WINNING seasons was when the 1993-94 team went 15-13 and the 1994-95 team went 24-9. After going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year, the Sun Devils are 42-21 (.667) since and giving up just 61.1 points per game in his 93 games and are second in Pac-10 in points allowed this year at 59.1 per game, best by a Sun Devil team since 1948-49 (47.6) and 14th in the nation.

THIS IS HOW EFFICIENT Jeff Pendergraph HAS BEEN: Not only does Jeff Pendergraph lead the nation in field goal percentage at 66.2 percent (157-of-237), he is shooting 66.9 percent (99-of-148) in Pac-10 games. Now consider this...Seth Tarver is second in conference games shooting 60.4 percent (58-of-96). That means Tarver could shoot 41-of-52 (.788) and still be tied with Pendergraph.

MORE ON THE SENIOR: Jeff Pendergraph, who earned his B.S. in Economics in December in just three and a half years, will break Eddie House's school record of 114 starts today when he makes his 115th. He is shooting .761 from the free throw line in his career (344-of-452) and is 91-of-115 (.791) on the year...has 1,480 points in 120 career games (12.3 points per game) and 900 career rebounds (7.5 per game)...28 career double-doubles (10 this year)...also has a chance to set ASU record for career games, as Eddie House played in 124 and Jeff has played in 120... averaging 15.4 points and 10.4 boards in his past eight games while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor (50-of-75) and 76.0 percent (38-of-50) from the free throw his past 11 games, he is averaging 14.3 points and 10.6 boards while shooting 62.0 percent from the floor (57-of-92) and 74.1 percent from the line (43-of-58).TEAM NOTES: With its Oregon road sweep Feb. 5-7, ASU won four straight Pac-10 road games for the first time since the 1980-81 team won five straight and finished 6-4 on the road overall. The 1980-81 team had three starters eventually become NBA first round draft picks in Alton Lister (21st overall pick in 1981), Fat Lever (11th overall pick in 1982) and Byron Scott (fourth overall pick in 1983). ASU has top-60 RPI road wins over UCLA (25), SDSU (44) and Arizona (55). ASU also has top 100 out-of-league wins over #19 BYU (10-0 at the time) and #82 UTEP at neutral sites and vs. #76 Nebraska (6-0 at time of game) in Tempe. ASU won five Pac-10 road games for just the fifth time in its 31-year history. It went 8-1 in 1980-81, 7-2 in 1979-80 and 5-4 in 1994-94 and 1982-83.

PAST TWO SEASONS: ASU is 19-16 (.543) in the past two seasons in Pac-10 play, tied for the third-best mark in the league behind UCLA (28-7/.800) and Washington (20-15/.571). The rest of the Pac-10 in the past two years: Washington State 19-16 (.543), USC 19-16 (.543), Stanford 19-16 (.543), Cal 17-18 (.471), Arizona 16-19 (.457), Oregon 11-24 (.314) and Oregon State 7-28 (.200).

WINNING TOUGH ONES: ASU is 15-10 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 4-3 this year with victories at San Diego State, vs. IUPUI, vs. BYU and at Arizona...ASU is 6-2 in its past eight overtime games (4-0 last year, 2-2 this year) ASU's first season under Herb Sendek, it was 3-12 in two-possession games (six points or less), in the past two seasons it is 11-6 including 5-2 this year.

ABOUT THOSE TOUGH LOSSES: Last weekend marked just the second time in ASU's 31-years of Pac-10 play it played back-to-back OT games in the same Pac-10 weekend (and first time it occurred on a road trip)...ASU did play back-to-back overtime games last year when it beat Arizona 59-54 on Jan. 9 and then won at California 99-90 on Jan. 17, but those games were eight days apart...the only other time ASU had played overtime in both games of a Pac-10 twinbill was on Feb. 12-14, 2004, when it beat UCLA 74-62 and then lost to USC 93-84 in marked the first time in ASU history ASU had lost back-to-back overtime games... it marked just the third time in the past 23 seasons ASU played back-to-back overtime games.

STATS LLC: The folks at STATS LLC worked overtime on this one. James Harden is arguably one of the nation's best all-around players, averaging 20.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.21 assists per game while shooting 50.3 percent from the field. Since the 1996-97 season, only five other players have averaged at least 20 points, five boards and four dimes per game and shot over 50 percent from the field.

20-5-4-50 PERCENT CLUB (SINCE 1996-1997)
Ricky Minard, 2002-03 Morehead State
Dwyane Wade, 2002-03 Marquette
Brandon Roy, 2005-06 Washington
Reggie Williams, 2006-07 Virginia Military
George Hill, 2007-08 IUPUI

RECENTLY: Coach Sendek, the second-youngest active coach with 300 Division I wins, celebrated his 46th birthday on Feb. 22 as ASU completed an impressive sweep of Arizona for the second straight year with a 70-68 win, ASU's first four-game win streak over the Wildcats since a nine-game streak from 1979-83...ASU ended one of the most impressive streaks in Pac-10 history on Feb. 12, as UCLA had won 32 straight front-end games of Pac-10 weekends (the Thursday game in most cases), a streak dating to a Jan. 20, 2005 home loss to Stanford. ASU shot 60 percent (24-of-40) from the floor, 11-of-18 (.611) from the three-point stripe and 15-of-18 (.833) in its 74-67 win over the No. 11 Bruins...on Feb. 15, committed just four turnovers vs. USC, its fewest since it had just four vs. Oregon State on March 9, 1991...ASU had a winning record at the halfway point of the Pac-10 season (5-4) for just the second time in the past 14 seasons and just ninth time in 31 Pac-10 seasons, as in the previous three years it was 5-22 in the first half of Pac-10 play...ASU made 16-of-17 (.914) free throws at Oregon on Feb. 5, the third-best percentage in school history with a minimum of 15 attempts... James Harden has played 314 out of a possible 330 minutes in the past eight games, including three 40-minute games...Jamelle McMillan is 14-of-27 (.519) from the three-point stripe in the past seven games, the rest of the team is 46-of-138 (.333).

NEXT MAN UP: ASU was without a a starter in each of its two wins in Oregon on Feb. 5-7. Rihards Kuksiks missed the Feb. 5 Oregon game with a bad virus that kept him on the shelf all week, which meant ASU had to find his 10.4 points per game, his 30.7 minutes per game and 46.5 three-point shooting from someone else. James Harden shouldered the load with 36 points, including five three-pointers in 40 minutes. At Oregon State on Feb. 7, Jamelle McMillan had to step in for Derek Glasser at the point guard spot after Glasser had his neck snapped and bell rung by a pick late in the Oregon game and missed the Beaver game with a neck strain. McMillan, who had started only one game all year (season opener), responded with career-highs in points (14), steals (five), minutes (39) and three-pointers (four) and did it in front of his dad, current Portland Trail Blazer coach Nate McMillan, as the NBA travel schedule allowed him to be in Corvallis Saturday.

VS. CAL LAST TIME: Cal shot an ASU opponent's season best 58 percent from the field (29-of-50) in its 81-71 win vs. ASU on January 4...its 29 field goals and its 52.9 percent from the three-point stripe (9-of-17) also are ASU opponent season highs...ASU's nine turnovers at California were its fewest in a road game since it had eight at USC on Feb. 12, 2005...Jeff Pendergraph fouled out for the first time on the season...the visiting team had won the previous eight games in the series...ASU leads the series 34-32...ASU hit a then school record 16 three-pointers in a 76-73 loss to Cal in Tempe on Feb. 16, 2008...ASU made just 7-of-14 free throws, as it led 31-23 at the 3:25 mark of the first half but was outscored 17-1 in the next 7:57 covering two halves...ASU trailed 63-50 with 1:57 left but scored 23 points, including seven three-pointers, in the final 1:11.

CBS: CBS makes its first trip to Tempe since Jan. 30, 2005, when ASU fell to No. 10 Washington 79-70. It marks the first time ASU has been on CBS twice in school history, as it won at #9 UCLA 61-58 (OT) on Jan. 17, 2009.

#16 ASU 61, @#9 UCLA 58 (OT)-Jan. 17, 2009
#10 Washington 79, ASU 70-Jan. 30, 2005
@#22 Arizona 106, ASU 81-Mar. 7, 2004
@#24 UCLA 73, ASU 68-Feb. 17, 2001
#7 Arizona 92, ASU 84-Jan. 11, 1997
ASU 74, UCLA 73 (OT)-Feb. 15, 1986
ASU 65, USC 48-Jan. 7, 1984

IF THIS WAS FOOTBALL, HE WOULD RETURN PUNTS AS WELL: James Harden currently leads the Pac-10 in scoring (20.8) and is second in steals (1.7). Only four players have notched the offense/defense duo in the 30-year history of the league (no one in the past nine years), the last being Jason Terry of Arizona in 1998-99 with 21.9 points per game and 2.8 steals per game. Others are Terrell Brandon of Oregon in 1990-91 (26.6/2.3), Gary Payton of Oregon State in 1989-90 (25.7/3.4) and Don Collins of WSU in 1978-79 (23.1/2.7).

300: Even after coaching in 505 games at three schools, six NCAA tournaments, and having eight former assistants serving as coaches at the Division-I level, Herb Sendek is still the third-youngest coach in the Pac-10 even with two new hires. Oregon State's Craig Robinson is a little older than Coach Sendek (about 10 months) while Stanford's Johnny Dawkins is about seven months younger. Coach Sendek is the second-youngest active coach with 300 Division I wins, only Florida's Billy Donovan is younger, as he is 43 years old (born May 30, 1965).

Derek Glasser NOTES: Derek Glasser played 42 minutes without a turnover in the Jan. 17 overtime win at ninth-ranked UCLA and followed that up with clutch shots at Arizona on Jan. 21 and vs. No. 11 UCLA on Feb. 12. He is 164-of-198 (.828) from the free throw line and has played 18 turnover free games in his 92-game career. In Pac-10 games he is 25-of-58 (.431) from the three-point stripe and 40-of-57 (.702) at the free throw line. in the home sweep of UCLA and USC Feb. 12-15, he averaged 16.5 points, including a career-high 18 points vs. USC

Rihards Kuksiks NOTE: Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging 11.2 points, including 65-of-138 (.471) from the three-point stripe, in his past 22 games. He has posted double digits in 14 of his past 20 games.

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 at that pace this year (.739). 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.

RANKINGS: ASU second in Pac-10 and 17th in nation in scoring defense (59.6). WSU leads nation at 54.8...ASU is tied for first in the Pac-10 and is 16th in nation in assist-turnover ratio (1.3)...ASU is third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.480)...ASU is second in Pac-10 and 27th nationally with just 12.0 turnovers per game...senior Jeff Pendergraph remains the best basket-maker in the nation at .662 field goal shooting...Rihards Kuksiks is sixth in the nation at 45.6 three-point percentage...James Harden is 19th at 20.8 points per game.

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