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Men's hoops hosts Stanford and Cal

March 02, 2009

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 21-7/10-6 this season under 304-game winner Herb Sendek, tries to bounce back from back-to-back overtime losses (a first in school history) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m MT against 16-11 Stanford. Fox Sports Arizona has the call, ESPN 860 AM has the radio locally and Westwood One has a national radio broadcast, with Ted Robinson and former ASU head coach Bill Frieder (who led ASU to the Sweet Sixteen in 1994-95 and six straight postseason appearances from 1989-90-1994-95) calling the action. On Saturday, March 7, CBS comes to Tempe for the first time since January of 2005 when ASU plays Cal 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.

James Harden, a midseason finalist for the Naismith and Wooden Awards and one of the 15 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, enters this week 19th in the nation in scoring at 20.8 points per game, while Jeff Pendergraph leads the nation in field goal percentage at 66.5 percent and is even better in Pac-10 play (67.4 percent). Sophomore swingman Rihards Kuksiks also enters the nation rankings conversation as he is fifth per official NCAA standards at 46.5 in three-point percentage.

After going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year, the Sun Devils are 42-20 (.677) since and giving up just 61.0 points per game in his 92 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. ASU is third in the Pac-10 and 22nd in the nation in field goal percentage (.480), and third in the league and 34th nationally in free throw percentage (.736). It also leads the league in assists (15.8/32nd in nation), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.32/14th in nation) and three-point defense (.319).

Jeff Pendergraph, who earned his B.S. in Economics in December in just three and a half years now has 113 career starts (second-best in ASU history behind only Eddie House with 114, so he will tie and break that mark this year), is shooting .760 from the free throw line in his career (333-of-438) and is 80-of-104 (.769) on the year...has 1,465 points in 119 career games (12.3 points per game) and 889 career rebounds (7.5 per game)...27 career double-doubles (nine this year)...also has a chance to set ASU record for career games, as Eddie House played in 124 and Jeff has played in 119... averaging 15.4 points and 10.3 boards in his past seven games while shooting 67.6 percent from the floor (48-of-71) and 75.0 percent (27-of-36) from the free throw his past 10 games, he is averaging 14.2 points and 10.6 boards while shooting 62.5 percent from the floor (55-of-88) and 72.7 percent from the line (32-of-44)...has posted nine double-doubles on the year.

ASU is 19-15 (.559) in the past two seasons in Pac-10 play, the third-best mark in the league behind UCLA (27-7/.794) and Washington (20-15/.571). The rest of the Pac-10 in the past two years: Washington State 19-16 (.543), USC 18-16 (.529), Stanford 18-16 (.529), Arizona 16-18 (.471), Cal 16-18 (.471), Oregon 11-23 (.324) and Oregon State 7-27 (.206).

Last weekend marked just the second time in ASU's 31-years of Pac-10 play it played back-to-back overtime 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...ASU entered the weekend winners of its past six overtime games and 5-0 in games decided by six points or marked just the third time in the past 23 seasons ASU played back-to-back overtime games.

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 ListerByron Scott (fourth overall pick in 1983). ASU has top-50 RPI road wins over UCLA (26), San Diego State (46) and Arizona (47). ASU also has top 100 out-of-league wins over #22 BYU (10-0 at the time) and #84 UTEP at neutral sites and vs. #74 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. (21st overall pick in 1981), Fat Lever (11th overall pick in 1982) and

The folks at STATS LLC worked overtime on this one. James Harden is arguably one of the nation¹s best all-around players, averaging 20.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.25 assists per game while shooting 50.8 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

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 (in other words, 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, ASU shot 50 percent (22-of-44) against USC in a 65-53 win. ASU committed just four turnovers vs. USC, its fewest since it had just four vs. Oregon State on March 9, 1991..ASU swept the Oregon road trip Feb. 5-7, its first Pac-10 road sweep since January of 2005 and just its second Pac-10 road sweep in the past six seasons...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 (also 5-4 in 2002-2003) 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...ASU held Oregon State to 13 first-half points Feb. 7, ASU's best first-half defensive effort since it led Oregon State 33-13 on Feb. 25, 1995...ASU is averaging 10.9 turnovers in its past 11 the home sweep of UCLA and USC Feb. 12-15, junior point guard Derek Glasser averaged 16.5 points, including a career-high 18 points vs. USC...James Harden has played 275 out of a possible 290 minutes in the past seven games, including three 40-minute games...Jamelle McMillan is 12-of-25 (.480) from the three-point stripe in the past six games.

ASU had an eight-game win-streak from Nov. 30-Jan. 2, its third-longest in the past 28 seasons. Last year ASU won 10 straight, while the 2004-05 team won nine straight. It also won five straight in Pac-10 play Feb. 5-22, its best Pac-10 streak since it won five straight in 1994-95.

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.

ASU took control early and then rolled to a 90-60 win at Stanford to open the Pac-10 season on Jan. 2 behind a career-high 31 points and 11 boards from Jeff Pendergraph...ASU's 30-point win was the Cardinal's largest home defeat since a 93-62 defeat to UCLA on Feb. 5, 1987, its biggest Pac-10 loss since a 32-pointer (90-58) at Arizona on Feb. 28, 1998 and ASU's biggest margin of victory over Stanford in the 65-game series...Derek Glasser also had 13 points, as ASU led 43-30 at the half as Pendergraph had 21 first-half points...Stanford was just 2-of-18 (.111) from the three-point stripe and is just 9-of-42 (.214) from the three-point stripe against ASU in the past three games... Stanford leads the series 37-28...Jeff Pendergraph has shot 48-of-83 (.578) from the floor and averaged 16.7 points in seven games against Stanford.

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...ASU was 6-of-20 (.300) from the three-point stripe in the first half.

CBS makes its first trip to Tempe since Jan. 30, 2005, whe ASU fell to No. 10 Washington 79-79. This year marks the first time ASU has been on CBS twice in school history. ASU won at #9 UCLA 61-58 in overtime 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

James Harden currently leads the Pac-10 in scoring (20.8) and is tied for 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).

The fine folks at STATS LLC came up with this nugget. James Harden is one of six players to average at least 20 points (20.8) and shoot at least 50 percent (.508) from the field entering the week. The others are Oklahoma's Blake Griffin (21.9/.627), Drake Reed of Austin Peay (22.4/.571), Kevin Tiggs of East Tennessee State (21.0/.531), Chavis Holmes of VMI (22.1/.517) and UNC's Tyler Hansborough (21.3/.532).

ASU is 25-7 (.781) at home in the past two seasons (11-2 this year), as it won 15 home games for first time in the 32-year history of Wells Fargo Arena last year. It was15-5 with wins over NCAA Tournament teams Arizona, Xavier, Stanford, USC, Oregon and Coppin State.

ASU did something in 19 days that no Pac-10 team had done in in the previous 27 seasons. ASU won at Stanford (Jan. 2), at UCLA (Jan. 17) and at Arizona (Jan. 21) as the last time a Pac-10 team won at those three NCAA Tournament regulars in the same season was in 1980-81 (Oregon State and USC). The only time ASU won at all three was in 1979-80. ASU was a combined 22-69 (.242) in games at Maples, Pauley and McKale entering play this year, but won all three games in a span of 19 days with a 90-60 win at Stanford, a 61-58 overtime win at #9 UCLA and a 53-47 grinder at Arizona.

Even after coaching in 504 games at three schools, six NCAA tournaments, and having eight former assistants currently serving as head 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).

ASU shot 16-of-18 (.889) from the field in the second half against Oregon State on Jan. 8...ASU shot 65.3 percent 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 27-1 when it shoots 50 percent under Herb Sendek and has won 25 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). It was 12-0 last year and is 13-0 this year when it shoots 50 percent.

ASU had eight turnovers in the overtime win at UCLA on Jan. 17, the fewest turnovers on the road since Feb. 12, 2005, when it also had eight at USC. Derek Glasser had zero turnovers in 42 minutes. ASU followed that up with nine turnovers at Arizona on Jan. 21, and then had just six turnovers vs. Washington State on Jan. 29. But its top performance was its four turnovers vs. USC on Feb. 15, fewest in a game since ASU had just four against Oregon State on March 9, 1991. ASU is 23rd in the nation and second in the Pac-10 at just 12.0 turnovers per game.

Derek Glasser, who took a shot to the back on a pick and suffered a neck strain against Oregon and sat the Oregon State road win on Feb. 7, 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 160-of-193 (.829) from the free throw line and has played 18 turnover free games in his 91-game career. In Pac-10 games he is 25-of-55 (.454) from the three-point stripe (fifth in the league) and 46-of-52 (.885) at the free throw line (second in the league). In his first six games he was 2-of-13 (.154) from three-point stripe but is 33-of-69 (.478) in his past 21 games. He had a career-high 11 assists vs. Oregon on Jan. 10 and has 126 assists and just 61 turnovers on the year (2.06-to-1 ratio, second in the league). He has 357 career assists (3.92 per game), on pace to break the ASU record of 454 set by Bobby Thompson from 1983-87.

Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging 11.1 points, including 61-of-126 (.484) from the three-point stripe, in his past 21 games. He is averaging 9.8 points and has 22 double-figure scoring games in his past 39 contests dating to last year after scoring 42 points in his first 22 games. He has posted double digits in 13 of his past 19 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.

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 (.736). 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.

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
6. 2008-09 (21-7/10-6 in Pac-10)--73.6

According to the official NCAA statistics, Rihards Kuksiks is the fifth-best three-point shooter in the nation at 46.5 percent, as there is a minimum of 2.5 made per game to qualify. According to Pac-10 statistics, a player only needs to make one per game and appear in 75 percent of the team's games, so Michael Roll (.534), Theo Robertson of Cal (.522), and Rickey Claitt (.474) all appear in the Pac-10 rankings but don't have enough makes to qualify nationally.

ASU is 15-9 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 4-2 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.

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 and largest since a 33-point win at Washington State (87-54) on Feb. 6, 2003.

36--ASU 91, California 55 (Feb. 3, 1979)
33--ASU 87, Washington State 54 (Feb. 6, 2003)
30--ASU 90, Stanford 60 (Jan. 2, 2009)
28--ASU 90, Washington 62 (Jan. 10, 1981)
27-ASU 99, Oregon 72 (Feb. 4, 2001)