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Men's hoops heads south to Tucson


January 19, 2009

ASU Notes (8 pages) and statistics (6 pages) in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

SUN DEVILS FACE WILDCATS: The No. 17/16 (Associated Press/ESPN Coaches' Poll) Arizona State's men's hoops team, 21-13 and 9-9 in the Pac-10 last year and 15-3/4-2 this season under third-year head coach Herb Sendek, travels to Tucson on Wednesday to play the Arizona Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. MT on Fox Sports Arizona, with radio on ESPN 860 AM. ASU has won 11 of its past 13, including wins over two 10-0 teams (vs. BYU and at Stanford) and a win at ninth-ranked UCLA on Saturday, as it trailed 54-43 with just over eight minutes to go but won 61-58 in overtime. The Sun Devils have now won six straight overtime games (4-0 last year and 2-0 this year) with four of the wins away from its home arena. Three Sun Devils are in double digits: James Harden (22.1, which leads the Pac-10), Jeff Pendergraph (13.8 and shooting 69.0 percent, tops in the Pac-10 and third in the nation) and Rihards Kuksiks (10.9, tied in the nation at 52.6 three-point percentage and 24-of-39 (.615) from the three-point stripe in the past eight games). Pendergraph is the only Pac-10 player who ranks in the top 10 in field goal shooting (first at .690) and in free throw shooting (ninth at .800), and he is shooting 42-of-56 (.750) from the field in Pac-10 games. After going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year, the Sun Devils are 36-16 (.692) since and giving up just 61.2 points per game in his 82 games and are second in Pac-10 in points allowed this year at 58.4 per game, best by a Sun Devil team since 1948-49 (47.6). ASU also is ranked first in the Pac-10 and tied for third in the nation in field goal percentage (.508) behind Utah State (.516) and Wake Forest (.511).

BALTIC BOMBER: Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is the only player in the NCAA top 50 in three-pointers made who is shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc. The Latvian is averaging 12.6 points and 4.9 boards, including 39-of-70 (.557) from the three-point stripe, in his past 12 games. He has 301 points and 18 double-figure scoring games in his past 30 contests (10.1 ppg.) dating to last year after scoring 42 points in his first 22 games. He has posted double digits in nine of his past 11 games.

NCAA TOP FIVE THREE-POINT SHOOTERS (AS OF SUNDAY, JAN. 18)
1. Theo Robertson, California, 35-60 (.583)
2. Evaldas Baniulis, South Carolina, 28-51 (.549)
3. Matt Gatens, Iowa, 30-55 (.545)
4. Kevin Dillard, Southern Illinois, 35-66 (.530)
T5. Rihards Kuksiks, Arizona State, 51-97 (.526)
T5. Michael Roll, UCLA, 30-57 (.526)

WHAT A BIG WIN: ASU's win at ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17 was its first top-10 road win since it beat fourth-ranked Stanford on Jan. 31, 1998, and just the second in the past 24 seasons. ASU won at Pauley Pavilion for just the sixth time in 32 times, and just the third time in the past 22 seasons. Herb Sendek now has 33 wins against ranked teams in his career and four at Arizona State. In his past five years he has 15 wins against ranked teams. He also has a dozen top 10 wins in his past nine seasons.

ASU ROAD WINS OVER TOP-10 TEAMS
ASU 61, @#9 UCLA 58 (OT) (Jan. 17, 2009)
ASU 90, @#4 Stanford 87 (Jan. 31, 1998)
ASU 83, @#10 Oregon St. 82 (Jan. 26, 1985)
ASU 78, @#4 UCLA 76 (Mar. 12, 1983)
#5 ASU 87, @#1 Oregon St. 67 (Mar. 7, 1981)
ASU 80, @#8 New Mexico 68 (Jan. 12, 1974)

SHOOTING IT: ASU also leads the Pac-10 in assists per game (16.6/17th in nation), assist-to-turnover ratio (12.4) and is second in free throw shooting (.735) as its starting five is shooting 77.4 percent from the free throw line (229-of-296)...ASU shot 16-of-18 (.889) from the field in the second half against Oregon State...ASU shot 65.3 percent from the field 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 three-pointers in its 90-55 Dec. 23 win over Idaho State... ASU is 24-1 when it shoots 50 percent under Herb and has won 22 straight. Its only loss was on Jan. 4, 2007, when it fell at Washington State 75-55 despite shooting 54.8 percent (23-of-42). ASU had 16 turnovers and forced just six. It was 12-0 last year and is 10-0 this year when it shoots 50 percent.

ROAD WINS: ASU has now won road games at Stanford and UCLA for the first time since 1979-80 and for just the second time in its 31 Pac-10 seasons. This season marks the first time ASU has topped UCLA and Stanford in the same season since 1985-86. ASU also gave San Diego State its only home loss in eight games on Nov. 18, 59-52, despite trailing 15-2 early, and the Aztecs are 12-4 overall.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL: ASU had just eight turnovers in the overtime win at UCLA, the fewest turnovers on the road since Feb. 12, 2005, when it also had eight at USC in an 82-71 loss, a span of the past 34 road games. Derek Glasser had zero turnovers in 42 minutes.

SPEAKING OF GLASSER, HE IS SOLID: Derek Glasser played 42 minutes without a turnover in the overtime win at ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17. He is 133-of-161 (.826) from the free throw line and has played 16 turnover free games in his 82-game career. In the six conference games he is 13-of-28 (.464) from the floor, 8-of-14 (.571) from the three-point stripe and 19-of-20 (.950) 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-28 (.571) in the past 12 games. He had a career-high 11 assists vs. Oregon on Jan. 10 and has 93 assists and just 41 turnovers on the year (2.42-to-1 ratio). He also has 324 career assists (3.95 per game), on pace to break the ASU career record of 454 set by Bobby Thompson from 1983-87. Glasser is tenth on the ASU career list. His 11 assists vs. Oregon on Saturday was the most by a Sun Devil since Jason Braxton had 12 at USC on Jan. 17, 2004, a span of the past 154 games.

WINNING CLOSE ONES: ASU is 11-6 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 six straight overtime games under Herb Sendek after its 61-58 win at ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17. It also beat IUPUI 59-58 in overtime 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).

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 22-5 when Harden scores at least 20 (9-2 this year). After starting the season 2-of-14 (.143) from the three-point stripe in the first four games, he is 29-of-64 (.453) in the past 14 games...after losing its first 10 away from home (neutral or road games) in the Herb Sendek era, ASU is 14-12 since, and is 7-6 in Pac-10 road games after losing its first eight...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...the Sun Devils are giving up 61.2 points per game in Coach Sendek's 82 games...Ty Abbott has three eight-rebound games this year, he grabbed eight rebounds in two games all of last year.

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 (.735). 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. One good note on his 2003-04 NC State team is in the past nine seasons, that squad's .799 FT percentage is tied for the best in the NCAA with St. Joseph in 2005-06. ASU has led the league twice in free throw percentage, in 1997-98 and in 1986-87, shooting 74.6 percent both years. Two Sun Devils have led the league as Alex Austin was 69-of-80 (.863) in 1988-89 and Chris Beasley was 112-of-128 (.875) in 1983-84.

ASU FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
1. 1977-78 (13-14/6-8 in WAC)--75.6
2. 1954-55 (10-14/8-4 in Border)--75.4
3. 1997-98 (18-14/8-10 in Pac-10)--74.6
3. 1986-87 (11-17/6-12 in Pac-10)--74.6
5. 2007-08 (21-13/9-9 in Pac-10)--73.9
-- 2008-09 (15-3/4-2 in Pac-10)--73.5

LAST TIME VS. UA: The Sun Devils broke a 12-game Tucson losing streak on Feb. 10, 2008 (their last victory at McKale Center was a 103-98 double-overtime win on March 11, 1995, under Bill Frieder) with its come-from-behind 59-54 win. UA led 22-6 early but ASU came back to trail 32-31 at the half and eventually took a 13-point lead before holding on for the win. ASU's bench outscored the Wildcat bench 16-0 as the Sun Devils won the points in the paint battle (20-6) behind a career-high 29 points from Pac-10 Player of the Week Jeff Pendergraph, who was 12-of-16 from the floor and added eight boards in 39 minutes...ASU has held the Wildcats to just 61.25 points per game in four games under Herb Sendek, while in the 39 games prior (1987-88 season through 2005-06) Arizona had averaged 86.6 points...last year also marked the first time ASU had held Arizona below 60 points in both games of the regular season series since 1962-63 (73-54 and 58-53 ASU victories)...ASU swept Arizona for just the sixth time in its 30 years of Pac-10 play, with ASU winning both games for four straight seasons from 1980-83, in 1994-95 and then last season...Pendergraph's 29 points was the most by a Sun Devil against the Wildcats since Mario Bennett notched 34 in a 103-98 double overtime win in Tucson on March 11, 1995, ASU's last win in Tucson prior to last season.

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 won at Oregon State 73-58 on Feb. 1, 2001, with Awvee Storey (17), Donnell Knight (13), Alton Mason (12), Tommy Smith (10) and Chad Prewitt (10) leading the way. On Sunday, Feb. 4 at Oregon, Storey led six players in double digits with 23 in a 99-72 win. Mason (17), Smith (15), Prewitt (15), Knight (10) and Redhage (10). ASU also placed five in double digits in the 76-58 Oregon win on Jan. 10.

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.

STEADY JEFF: Jeff Pendergraph, who earned his B.S. in Economics in December in just three and a half years and has 103 career starts, is shooting .764 from the free throw line in his career (301-of-394) and is 48-of-60 (.800) on the year. He has 1,327 points in 109 career games (12.2 points per game) and 783 career rebounds (7.2 per game). He has 22 career double-doubles (four this year). Pendergraph is third in the nation shooting 69.0 percent. He has taken 145 field goals (made 100) and 60 free throws (made 48) and has missed just 57 shots.

ONE-POINT GAMES: The Dec. 20 BYU and Dec. 14 IUPUI contests marked for the first back-to-back one-pointers for ASU since 2005-06, as ASU lost to #7 UCLA 61-60 on Jan. 7 just two days after losing 66-65 to USC. Prior to that, the last back-to-back one-point games were an 87-86 loss at #6 UCLA on Jan. 10, 1983, which was followed by a 75-74 loss at Washington State on Jan. 13, 1983. The BYU and IUPUI tilts marked the first-time in ASU history the Sun Devils posted back-to-back one-point wins. 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 Pac-10 road win in ASU's 31 Pac-10 seasons (274 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 52 career games, Harden has led ASU in scoring 39 times, rebounding 18 times and led it in assists in 21 gamesÂÂ�has 27 career 20-point games and 11 this year (ASU is 22-5/9-2)...has four 30 +point games this year (33 vs. Pepperdine, 32 vs. Baylor, 40 vs. UTEP, 30 vs. BYU)ÂÂ�11-of-11 from the foul line vs. Charlotte and is 281-of-373 (.753) in his career...the 19-year old Harden (born August of 1989) was the youngest player in the Pac-10 in 2007-08 and he led the Pac-10 with 73 steals...ASU is 7-4 in Pac-10 home games with Harden, in the previous four years, it was 9-27.

GOING BACK TO CALI: ASU will play at least nine games this year in California. It won at San Diego State (Nov. 18), at Stanford (Jan. 2) and at UCLA (Jan. 17), 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 one tilt in the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles.

RIK'S CAREER GAME: Rihards Kuksiks had his best overall game in the 59-58 overtime win against IUPUI on Dec. 14. He matched his career high with 18 points (set previous game on Dec. 8 against Nebraska after setting then-career high with 16 vs. Jackson State on Dec. 4, so yes, that was three straight career-highs), made a career-high six three pointers, grabbed a career-best nine boards (after a then career-high six boards against Nebraska), matched a career-high with four assists and had a career-high three steals. He has posted double digits in eight of his past 10 games.

RALLY CAPS: ASU has fallen behind four times this year but rallied to win. On Jan. 17 against ninth-ranked UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, ASU was down 54-43 with just over eight minutes left but held UCLA scoreless the rest of the way and then won 61-58 in overtime...on Dec. 20 against previously undefeated BYU (10-0) 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...ASU came back from double-digit deficits in two big wins in 2007-08, as it put the brakes on a five-game losing skid in dramatic fashion on Feb. 10 in Tucson, falling behind 22-6 but coming back to take a 13-point second-half lead and winning 59-54 to sweep Arizona for the first time since 1994-95 (its first win in Tucson since March 11, 1995)...on Feb. 14 against seventh-ranked Stanford, ASU was down 14 in the second half and seven with 1:49 left before winning 72-68 in overtime.

THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD NOTE LAST YEAR, BUT WE MISSED IT, BUT IT IS STILL SOLID: ASU became just the second team in the 30-year history of the Pac-10 to lose at least 20 games one year (ASU was 8-22 in 2006-07) and then win at least 20 the next season (ASU was 21-13 in 2007-08). Only California in 1988-89 can match the feat, as it was 9-20 in 1987-88 and 20-13 in 1988-89. Miami (Fla.) also notched the feat last year, going 22-10 after going 12-20 in 2006-07, the first time in the ACC's 55 seasons that has happened. Texas A&M is the only team to do it in the 12-year history of the Big 12 , as it was 7-21 in 2003-04 and went 21-10 in 2004-05. Among the other major conferences, this manufactured note has never happened in the Big East (28 seasons), Big Ten (103 seasons) or the SEC (76 seasons).

FIFTY: ASU is 24-1 when it shoots 50 percent under Herb Sendek and has won 22 straight. Its only loss was on Jan. 4, 2007, when it fell at Washington State 75-55 despite shooting 54.8 percent (23-of-42). ASU had 16 turnovers and forced just six. It was 12-0 last year and is 10-0 this year when it shoots 50 percent.

THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 16th season as a head coach and has averaged 18.7 wins per season. He led the NC State Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 298-196 (.603) in 16 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 45-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) 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. Another overlooked note is his 10-year stay at NC State. To compare it to the Pac-10, since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79, only five coaches have coached at their schools for at least 10 years: Lute Olson (24/Arizona), Ralph Miller (19/Oregon State), Mike Montgomery (18/Stanford), Ben Braun (12/California) and Ernie Kent (12/Oregon).