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Men's hoops tries for eighth win of season Tuesday night

December 17, 2007

The men's basketball team (7-2) hosts Montana State Tuesday (Dec. 18) at 7 p.m. on KTAR 620 AM. ASU will try and equal its win total from last season as it went 8-22 in 2006-2007, and is coming off the largest win over a ranked team in school history. ASU's 77-55 win over No. 17 Xavier on Saturday topped the previous best set in ASU¹s 20-point win at top-ranked Oregon State (87-67) on March 7, 1981. ASU went 1-2 against the Big Sky last year, losing to Portland State and NAU but beating Northern Colorado.

Margin, Score, Date

(22)--ASU 77, #17 Xavier 55 (Dec. 15, 2007)>
(20)--#5 ASU 87, @#1 Oregon State 67 (March 7, 1981)
(19)--ASU 89, #5 San Francisco 70 (Dec. 3, 1977)
(18)--ASU 71, #6 Colorado 53 (Dec. 21, 1962)
(17)--ASU 79, #13 Michigan 62 (Nov. 22, 1994)
(17)--ASU 95, #3 USC 78 (Dec. 1, 1971)

Coach Herb Sendek now has 31 wins against ranked teams in his career. He notched his first at ASU last year in the final chance of the year when ASU topped No. 22 USC 68-58 on Feb. 18, 2007, and then won his first this year with the win over No. 17 Xavier (77-55) on Dec. 15. ASU had lost 22 straight games to ranked teams prior to last year¹s USC game but has now won its past two against ranked teams...leading scorer James Harden leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.975) as he has hit 42-of-48...ASU leads the Montana State series 3-0...ASU beat Montana State 72-69 on Dec. 13, 2001, at America West Arena.

In the win over No. 17 Xavier, ASU started four freshmen for the first time in school history. ASU freshmen accounted for 69 of 150 starts in Herb Sendek's rookie 30-game season. Through nine games, the numbers have jumped to 97 out of 195 starts in his 39-game tenure with at least three freshmen starting each game this season. That means in his two years, ASU's starting lineup has had freshmen make 49.7 percent of the starts. Sophomores have made 40 starts (.205), juniors 26 (.133) and seniors 32 (.164).

ASU is shooting .773 from the free throw line (119-of-154), which leads the Pac-10 as freshman James Harden already is 42-of-48 (.875). 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.

ASU earned "Team of the Week" as writer Jeff Goodman said..."Herb Sendek struggled through a difficult season last year in his first at Arizona State. Now the former N.C. State coach has brought in some quality talent and it showed in the Sun Devils' upset of No. 17 Xavier in Tempe. It wasn't just the largest win over a ranked team in school history for ASU, but also the worst loss Xavier has suffered since the 1999-2000 season.

ASU is ranked ninth in the nation in free throw percentage (.773). IUPUI leads nation at 80 percent, coached by Herb Sendek former assistant Ron Hunter...ASU is ranked 10th in scoring defense (.557) and 13th in field goal percentage defense (.367).