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Men's hoops notes for Washington game tomorrow

February 22, 2008

SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, 16-9 and 6-7 in the Pac-10 under second-year coach Herb Sendek, travels across the Evergreen State to take on the Washington Huskies on Saturday (Feb. 23). ASU, picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 preseason media poll, is 18-12 in its past 30 games after starting last year 6-19. ASU fell to #17 Washington State on Thursday 59-47, as ASU cut a WSU lead to 45-43 with 5:31 left. WSU outscored ASU 14-4 down the stretch as ASU in the final 7:47 had just one field goal. The Sun Devils held the Cougars to 43.2 percent from the field but shot just 33.3 percent. ASU made all 11 free throws but could not get there enough, as WSU was whistled for just eight fouls, the fewest by any team in the past 335 ASU games (fewest since WSU had just seven fouls against ASU on Feb. 1, 1997).

MOVING IN ON 1,000: Jeff Pendergraph needs just 17 points to become the 30th member of the ASU 1,000-point club. He has 983 points through 82 career games (11.9 points per game). He also has 606 career rebounds (7.4 per game), just 50 away from joining the ASU top-10 list. He has 39 blocks (he had 45 in his first two seasons) and is shooting .585 from the field (fifth in Pac-10) and .806 from the free throw line (seventh in Pac-10). He has four double-doubles this year and 17 in his career. He is shooting 72.6 percent from the free throw line in his career (212-of-292). His 84 career blocks are seventh on the ASU chart.

DON'T COUNT THEM OUT: The Sun Devils came back from double-digit deficits in its past two wins, 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 (and notch first win in Tucson since March 11, 1995). Then on Feb. 14 against seventh-ranked Stanford, ASU was down by 14 in the second half and by seven with 1:49 left before a rally put the game into overtime as ASU won 72-68. Last Saturday against California, ASU jumped out to a 26-17 lead but Cal closed the gap to 31-30 at the half and ASU uncharacteristically shot just 7-of-14 (.500) from the foul line in a 76-73 loss. ASU made seven three-pointers in the final 1:11 to chop an 11-point deficit to three.

FRESHMEN: Freshmen accounted for 69 of 150 starts in Herb Sendek's rookie 30-game season. Through 25 games, the numbers now read 139 out of 275 starts in his 55 games (freshmen have started 70 games this year, easily the most in the Pac-10). In his two years, ASU has had freshmen make 50.5 percent of the starts. Sophomores have made 59 starts (.215), juniors 42 (.153) and seniors 35 (.127). Against Xavier on Dec. 15, ASU started four freshmen for the first time in school history. ASU's freshmen have accounted for 49.8 percent of the points this year. Last year ASU's 69 freshmen starts set the school record that Sun Devils passed Thursday.

Year (Starts): Freshman
2007-2008 (70): Ty Abbott (25), James Harden (24), Jamelle McMillan (16), Rihards Kuksiks (4)
2006-2007 (69): Derek Glasser (21), Christian Polk (26), Jerren Shipp (22)
1991-1992 (45): Mario Bennett (25), Tony Ronaldson (20)

CLOSE GAME UPDATE: Last year, ASU was 4-17 in games decided by 10 points or less, but this year the Sun Devils are 7-2 with wins over LSU (87-84 in Maui Invitational), Montana State (66-62), Oregon (62-54), Arizona twice (64-59 in OT and 59-54 in Tucson), at California (99-90 in double overtime) and vs. seventh-ranked Stanford (72-68 in OT). Its only losses in that category were a 56-55 heartbreaker to sixth-ranked Washington State on Jan. 26 and 76-73 home loss to California on Feb. 16. ASU lost its only overtime game last year but is 4-0 this year with the wins over LSU, Arizona, at California and vs. #7 Stanford. The four overtime wins is the most by an ASU team since the 1985-86 Sun Devils were 4-2, while the school mark is a 5-0 record by the 1980-81 team.

1. Arizona State 7-2 (.778)
2. UCLA 6-3 (.667)
3. Stanford/UW/WSU 7-4 (.636)
6. California 9-7 (.563)
7. USC 6-5 (.545)
8. Oregon 6-9 (.400)
9. Arizona 5-8 (.385)
10. Oregon State 2-7 (.222)

RPI NOTE: The Sun Devils are just one of five teams with four wins over top 25 RPI teams ( as of Friday (Feb. 22). ASU's wins are over #7 Xavier, two wins over current #19 Arizona and the Feb. 14 win over current No. 22 Stanford with losses to #9 UCLA and at Stanford. Other teams with four RPI top 25 wins are UCLA (5-1), UCONN (5-3), Duke (4-1) and Purdue (4-3). At the beginning of the week ASU and Texas were the only teams that had at least two wins against teams in the current Associated Press top 25, as Xavier is ninth and Stanford tenth in the Feb. 18 poll. Texas has beaten #2 Tennessee, #4 Kansas and #6 UCLA.

HARDEN ON DEFENSE: James Harden is trying to become just the fifth freshman to lead the Pac-10 in steals. The others are Jason Kidd of Cal (3.8 spg/1993), Baron Davis of UCLA (2.4 spg/1998) and USC's Errick Craven (2.1 spg/2002) and Gabe Pruitt (1.9 spg/2005). He has 49 (1.96 per game) on the year, tops in the league. He also had 14 blocks, tied for eighth on the ASU freshmen list, just three behind Ron Riley (17 in 1992-93) for the seventh spot.

VS. RANKED TEAMS: ASU's 77-55 over No. 17 Xavier on Dec. 15 is the 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). It also marked ASU's first win over a top-10 team in Tempe not named Arizona since a 68-64 win over fourth-ranked Oregon State on March 6, 1982.

REAL DEAL: The Pac-10's youngest player, freshman James Harden (turned 18 on Aug. 26), leads ASU in scoring (17.7 ppg./fifth), steals (49/first in Pac-10) and minutes per game (33.2/ninth in Pac-10). He is shooting .522 from the field, .750 from the free throw line and .400 from the three-point stripe. Harden is the first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out of high school since 1984 (iChris Sandle). He has 12 20-point games (matching Ike Diogu's ASU freshmen record), including five straight from Dec. 29-Jan. 17 which is a first for an ASU freshman.

1. 19.0, Ike Diogu, 2002-03
2. 17.7, James Harden, 2007-08
3. 15.4, Jamal Faulkner, 1990-91
4. 13.6, Byron Scott, 1979-80
5. 13.0, Ron Riley, 1992-93
6. 12.6, Eddie House, 1996-97

VS. UW: ASU leads the series 33-31 but the Huskies have won the past 11, the longest current streak in the Pac-10...ASU actually won 14 straight under Bill Frieder from 1990-96...ASU fell to the Huskies 59-51 last year in the Pac-10 Tournament on March 7, as ASU led 21-10 but UW outscored ASU 19-2 to close the first half...last year in Seattle ASU and No. 24 Washington played a close game on Jan. 6 before UW pulled away for a 64-53 final...Washington led 43-40 at the 10:36 mark but outscored ASU 21-13...UW hit 8-of-13 (.615) from the three-point stripe...ASU shot just 7-of-26 (.269) from the field in the second half.

RECAPPING UW (JAN. 24): ASU allowed UW to grab 13 offensive rebounds and the Sun Devils shot a season-low 17-of-53 (.321) in a 72-61 loss...ASU held a 24-15 lead but the Huskies came back and led 32-30 at the break and ASU never tied the game after that...James Harden, slowed by a groin injury that didn't allow him to practice at all during the week, led ASU with 17 as the Sun Devils lost their 11th straight to Washington...Jon Brockman's 16 rebounds matches the most against ASU this year (Brook Lopez also had 16 on Jan. 19)...Washington's 42 rebounds is the most by an ASU opponent this year.

THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 15th season as a head coach and has averaged 18.7 wins per season. He led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 278-189 (.597) in 15 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 45-year-old (birthday was Friday, Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the second-youngest full-time coach in the Pac-10 behind only second-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU. Only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from 2002-2006. Coach Sendek also led NC State to five 20-win seasons in his final seven years. 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 at Arizona), Ralph Miller (19 at Oregon State), Mike Montgomery (18 at Stanford), Ben Braun (12th at California) and Ernie Kent (11th at Oregon).

HITTING FREEBIES: ASU is shooting .740 from the free throw line, currently the fifth-best mark in ASU history. 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, as his poorest FT shooting team was his first year (1996-97/.649). One good note on Coach Herb Sendek's and his 2003-04 NC State team is in the past nine seasons, NC State team's .799 final FT percentage is tied for the best in the NCAA with St. Joseph in 2005-06.

1. 1977-78 (13-14/6-8 in WAC) 75.6
2. 1954-55 (10-148-4 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 (16-9/6-7 in Pac-10) 74.0

JUST HOW GOOD ARE THEY?: Coming into this season, only 11 Pac-10 freshman had averaged 15.6 points or more in overall games. Currently there are four freshmen above that number. Only two Pac-10 freshmen have averaged 19 points and led their team to a NCAA Tournament berth (Ike Diogu of Arizona State in 2002-03 and Shareef Abdur Rahim of Cal in 1995-96).

Pac-10 Freshmen Scoring List
1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Cal, 1995-96, 21.1 (NCAA team went 17-11)
1. Jerryd Bayless, Arizona, 2007-08, 21.2 (UA 16-10 and 6-7)
3. Harold Miner, USC, 1989-90, 20.6 (Team went 12-16)
4. O.J. Mayo, USC, 2007-08, 20.0 (USC 16-9 and 7-6)
5. Ike Diogu, ASU, 2002-03, 19.0 (NCAA team went 20-12)
6. Don McLean, UCLA, 1988-89, 18.6 (NCAA team went 21-10)
7. Cliff Robinson, USC, 1977-78, 18.4 (Team went 14-13)
8. James Harden, ASU, 2007-08, 17.7 (ASU 16-9 and 6-7)
9. Tom Lewis, USC, 1985-86, 17.6 (Team went 11-17)
10. Kevin Love, UCLA, 2007-08, 17.1 (UCLA 23-3 overall and 11-2)
11. Todd Lichti, Stanford, 1985-86, 17.2 (Team went 14-16 overall)
12. Ryan Anderson, California, 2006-07, 16.3 (Team went 16-17 overall)
13. Jason Kapono, UCLA, 1999-2000, 16.0 (NCAA team went 21-12)
14. Chase Budinger, Arizona, 2006-07, 15.6 (NCAA team went 20-11)
14. Sean Elliott, Arizona, 1985-86, 15.6 (NCAA team went 23-9)