Men's Hoops Takes On LSU Friday At 2:30 p.m. ET At MSG

Nov. 26, 2009

ASU will meet LSU for the second time in three years on a neutral court when the teams meet on Friday, Nov. 27, at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. ASU had an eight-point lead early over seventh-ranked Duke and was behind by just four at the half (34-30) on Wednesday, but Duke held ASU to just 6-of-21 (.286) from the field in the second half in a game that had nine lead changes and seven ties en route to a 64-53 Blue Devil win. ASU (4-1), in its fourth season under head coach Herb Sendek, is coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1980-81 and went 25-10 last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. ASU has had to replace two NBA draft picks from last year in first-team consensus All-American James Harden and first-team All-Pac-10 forward Jeff Pendergraph, but returns three starters from last year's team in senior point guard Derek Glasser (2009 Pac-10 All-Tournament Team), junior Rihards Kuksiks (third-best returning three-point shooter in the nation according to NCAA minimums) and junior Ty Abbott (121 career three-pointers entering this year). Four Sun Devils are currently averaging in double digits and ASU is shooting 40-of-90 (.444) from the three-point stripe and 50.8 percent (129-of-254) from the field and is holding opponents to just .355 from the field, .280 from the arc and 55.0 points per game with its zone defense that Herb Sendek instituted in the middle of his first season.

In the only meeting between the schools on Nov. 21, 2007, ASU topped the Tigers 87-84 in overtime in the consolation round of the Maui Invitational. Current Sun Devils Ty Abbott (31 minutes, five points), Jamelle McMillan (12 minutes), Jerren Shipp (39 minutes, four points), Eric Boateng (10 minutes, nine points) and Derek Glasser (33 minutes, seven points) all played in that game. ASU forced 20 LSU turnovers, including nine steals.

One of ASU's best wins in the Herb Sendek era came against a Trent Johnson-coached squad on Feb. 14, 2008. ASU trailed seventh-ranked Stanford by 14 in the second half and was down seven with 1:49 to play but rallied to force overtime and win 72-68 over the seventh-ranked Cardinal, the highest-ranked team ASU has defeated since it topped No. 4 Stanford on Jan. 31, 1998. Rihards Kuksiks had 15 points in that contest, the first double-digit game in his career.

Coach Sendek has eight former assistants who are D-I coaches, the best mark of any coach in the nation, ahead of Mike Montgomery and Rick Pitino (seven each). Twelve-year sidekick Mark Phelps earned the Drake spot in the spring of 2008 after serving for 10 years on the staff at NC State and for two years at ASU. Former NC State sidekick John Groce also earned the Ohio University position in the spring of 2008. The others are Jim Christian at TCU (Miami assistant in 1995-96), 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 Arizona's Sean Miller (assistant at both Miami from 1993-95 and at NC State from 1996-2000).

ASU opened the 2009-2010 season Nov. 13 with an 87-35 win over Western Illinois as 11 players scored and the 52-point margin was the biggest since the 1996-97 season...ASU topped Texas State 84-62 in the opening round of the NIT, and then came back with a gut-check win vs. TCU 52-49 the next night. ASU was down 48-40 with 3:46 mark when Herb Sendek called a 30-second timeout. Rihards Kuksiks hit a three-pointer that sparked a 12-1 run to send the Sun Devil to NYC...on Friday, ASU made a school-record 18 three-pointers and shot 61.3 percent from the field en route to a 104-65 win vs. San Francisco on Nov. 20. It marked the most points by ASU since a 108-78 win vs. USC on Feb. 13, 2003. ASU led 58-23 at the half.

Senior Eric Boateng obviously also is taking advantage of the 24-hour access for Arizona State's brand new practice facility (Weatherup Center). In the first four games, he is averaging 10.0 points and 7.2 boards while shooting 69 percent from the field (20-of-29). Solid and modest numbers through five games until one also considers this...he has scored 50 points this year after scoring 57 all of last year. Also, he was 9-of-22 (.409) from the free throw line last year, he is 10-of-16 (.625) already this year.

Ty Abbott missed just one game after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in mid-October and seems to be getting back in shape, averaging 8.5 points per game and is 7-13 from the three-point stripe. Abbott has played in 73 games in his three-year career and started in 65. He set ASU freshman records for starts (34) and three-pointers made (76) in his first season of 2007-08, as the 76 three-pointers is fourth-best by a freshman in Pac-10 history. He averaged 29.9 minutes while playing all 35 games and starting in 31 last year and was second on team with 16 blocks and 33 steals. He posted 13 games of double-digits, and ASU was 11-2 in those contests, and scored a season-high 20 points against No. 13 Syracuse in NCAA Tournament on 6-of-10 three-point shooting. Abbott also averaged 11.7 points in the Pac-10 Tournament and was 13-of-23 (.565) from the field and 8-of-15 (.533) from the three-point stripe as ASU advanced to the Pac-10 title game for the first time in school history. When Abbott scores in double digits, ASU is 25-6.

Derek Glasser earned 2009 Pac-10 All-Tournament honors by averaging 13.7 points in the three games. He shot 16-of-31 (.516) from the field, made 5-of-11 (.455) from the three-point stripe and had 12 assists and just four turnovers while averaging 37.3 minutes per game. He also 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 201-of-242 (.831) from the free throw line and has played 18 turnover free games in his 103-game career.

Freshman Trent Lockett comes from one of the top high school programs in the country (Hopkins High School in Minnesota) and has stepped on campus and made a huge first impression. In five games, he is averaging 11.6 points, 6.2 boards and is shooting 21-of-35 (.600) from the field. He also has a tendency to make 'splash' plays as his leaping ability has allowed him to grab 13 offensive rebounds, resulting in several tip-dunks. He also is among the best in the classroom, as he is a member of the honors program at ASU.

Just how good has the Sun Devil defense been since Herb Sendek too over? ASU has given up less than 62 points per game in each of the past three seasons, the best three-season span since the middle of the past century. In the 18 Pac-10 games last year, no team defended shooters better than Arizona State, as it led the league in field goal percentage defense (.421) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.310). Those that followed Coach Sendek's career at NC State won't find it a big shocker. In Herb Sendek's 10 seasons in Raleigh, NC State led the ACC in scoring defense four times and held opponents to just 54.7 points per game in 1996-97, an ACC record. Last year's 60.5 points per game allowed was the lowest by a Sun Devil team since the 1949-50 team gave up 59.8.

ASU set the school record for three-pointers made (288) and attempted (778) in 2008-2009. ASU's top three returning scorers had combined to make 357 three-pointers in their careers entering this year, as Rik Kuksiks had 129, Ty Abbott 121 and Derek Glasser 107.

Junior Rihards Kuksiks is the third-best returning three-point shooter in the nation according to official NCAA statistics. Kuksiks was 93-of-210 from the arc last year, which was eighth in the nation. The junior had career-highs in points (27), three-pointers (seven) and assists (eight) in the win over USF on Nov. 20. He also posted a then career-high 20 points in the NCAA Tournament second-round loss to Syracuse with six three-pointers.

Even after coaching in more than 500 games at three schools, seven NCAA tournaments and having eight former assistants currently serving as head coaches at the D-I level, Herb Sendek is still the third-youngest coach in the Pac-10 even with three new hires this past spring and two others in spring of 2008. Coach Sendek is the second-youngest active coach with 300 Division I wins, only Florida's Billy Donovan is younger, as he is 44 years old (born May 30, 1965).

ASU is 18-12 in the past two seasons in 10 points or less games after going 4-17 in Herb Sendek's first year...ASU is 6-2 in its past eight overtime 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 12-7 (6-3 past two seasons).

Herb Sendek is in his 17th season as a head coach in 2009-2010 and has averaged 19.2 wins per season. He led the NC State Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 312-204 (.604) in 17 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 46-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh, Pa., native remains 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.

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