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Men's hoops to try fourth straight win at Oregon State

February 06, 2009

SUN DEVILS TRYING FOR SIXTH ROAD WIN: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, 21-13 and 9-9 in the Pac-10 last year and 17-5/6-4 this season under third-year head coach and 300-game winner Herb Sendek, travels to Oregon State Saturday (Feb. 7) for a 5:30 p.m. PT/6:30 MT tip on on Fox Sports Arizona and KTAR 620 AM. ASU posted a winning record at the halfway point of the Pac-10 season for just the second time in the past 14 seasons (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 and then topped Oregon 66-57 on Thursday. ASU has won three straight Pac-10 road games for the first time since the 1995-1996 season (and just third time in the past 28 seasons) and is 5-2 on the road overall. ASU has not won four straight Pac-10 road games since a five-game streak in 1980-81. James Harden poste 36 points while Jeff Pendergraph had 13 points and eight boards for ASU, who played without third-leading scorer Rihards Kuksiks (illness). ASU also made 16-of-17 (.914) free throws, third-best percentage in school history with a minimum of 15 attempts.

SUN DEVIL DATA: ASU is shooting 79.8 percent from the foul line (95-of-119) in its seven road games...ASU has two wins over 10-0 teams (vs. BYU and at Stanford), a win at then ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17 (ASU trailed 54-43 with just over eight minutes to go but won 61-58 in overtime) and a win at Arizona for the second straight year (just the third in 23 seasons) as its road record is 5-2, including a Nov. 18 win over RPI No. 46 San Diego State, SDSU's only loss at home...three Sun Devils are in double digits: James Harden (22.5, which leads the Pac-10), Jeff Pendergraph (13.7 and shooting 66.9 percent, second in the nation) and Rihards Kuksiks (10.5, third in the nation at 46.7 three-point percentage per official NCAA standards...Pendergraph is shooting 63-of-92 (.685) from the field in Pac-10 games and is averaging 11.8 rebounds in his past four games including a 21-point, 15-rebound performance against Washington's huge front line last Saturday...after going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year, the Sun Devils are 38-18 (.679) since and giving up just 61.3 points per game in his 86 games and are second in Pac-10 in points allowed this year at 59.3 per game, best by a Sun Devil team since 1948-49 (47.6)...ASU is third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.483), and is second in the league in free throw percentage (.744).

OSU SERIES: ASU shot .651 from the field vs. Oregon State on Jan. 8, its sixth-best shooting effort vs. a Pac-10 team and second-best vs. a Pac-10 team in the past 19 seasons, in a 69-38 win in Tempe... 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...ASU held OSU to opponent season lows in points (38), free throws made (two) and assists (six)...ASU has shot 57.7 percent from the field (75-of-130) in the past three games against OSU and held the Beavers to 57-of-166 (.343) from the field...James Harden is averaging 17.3 points, six assists and 4.7 boards against the Beavers...Eric Boateng is 9-of-13 (.692) from the field...OSU leads the series 38-34...ASU swept the regular season series from the Beavers in 2007-08 for the eighth time since joining the Corvallis on the final day of the regular season last year (March 8), ASU got solid games from Jamelle McMillan (12 points) and Eric Boateng (12 points) off the bench as OSU was 13-of-39 from the three-point stripe but fell 77-64 as ASU clinched a 9-9 regular season mark in the Pac-10.

STEADY JEFF: Jeff Pendergraph, who earned his B.S. in Economics in December in just three and a half years and has 107 career starts (third best in ASU history), is shooting .761 from the free throw line in his career (312-of-410) and is 59-of-76 (.776) on the year. He has 1,380 points in 113 career games (12.2 points per game) and 830 career rebounds (7.3 per game). He has 24 career double-doubles (six this year). Pendergraph is second in the nation shooting 66.9 percent and is averaging 11.8 boards in his past four contests.

300: Even with a resume that includes coaching in 498 games at three schools, 300 wins, six NCAA tournaments, 12 NCAA Tournament games and having eight former assistants currently serving as head coaches at the Division-I level, ASU head coach Herb Sendek is still the third-youngest coach in the Pac-10 even with two new hires this year. 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 became the second-youngest active coach with 300 Division I wins on Thursday, only Florida's Billy Donovan is younger, as he is 43 years old (born May 30, 1965). Coach 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 300-198 (.602) in 16 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State.

FIRST TIME IN 28 SEASONS: 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.

WHY IS HE BEST IN NATION BUT THIRD IN PAC-10?: According to the official NCAA statistics, Rihards Kuksiks is the third-best three-point shooter in the nation at 46.7 percent entering play this week, 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 Theo Robertson of Cal (.562) and Michael Roll (.545) appear in the Pac-10 rankings but don't have enough makes to qualify nationally, and Kuksiks is tied for third.

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.

ODDS AND ENDS: ASU is first in the Pac-10 in assists (15.9 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and is second in Pac-10 free throw shooting (.744)...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 WSU 75-55 despite shooting 54.8 percent (23-of-42).

AUTOMATIC: Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging 11.6 points, including 44-of-93 (.473) from the three-point stripe, in his past 15 games. He has 324 points and 19 double-figure scoring games in his past 33 contests (9.8 ppg.) dating to last year after scoring 42 points in his first 22 games. He has posted double digits in 10 of his past 14 games.

NO TO's: ASU had just eight turnovers in the Jan. 17 overtime win at UCLA, the fewest turnovers on the road since Feb. 12, 2005 (also had eight at USC in an 82-71 loss), a span of the past 36 road games. 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, its fewest turnovers since it also had six vs. Oregon on Feb. 19, 2005. ASU is averaging just nine turnovers in its past five contests and is and second in the Pac-10 at just 11.9 turnovers per game.

SOLID: Derek Glasser 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. He is 148-of-177 (.836) from the free throw line and has played 17 turnover free games in his 86-game career. In Pac-10 games he is 31-of-33 (.939) at the free throw line (best in the league). Glasser has 107 assists and just 51 turnovers on the year (2.10-to-1 ratio, second in the Pac-10).

WINNING TOUGH ONES: ASU is 13-7 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 4-1 this year with victories at San Diego State, vs. IUPUI, vs. BYU and at Arizona...ASU has now won six straight overtime games after its 61-58 win at ninth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 17, with four of them away from its home 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 10-4 including 4-0 this year...after losing its first 10 away from home (neutral or road games) in the Herb Sendek era, ASU is 16-12 since, and is 9-7 in Pac-10 road games after losing its first eight.

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 above that pace this year (.744). 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.

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 56 career games, Harden has led ASU in scoring 42 times, rebounding 18 times and led it in assists in 23 games...has 30 career 20-point games and 14 this year (ASU is 24-6/11-3)...has five 30 +point games this year (33 vs. Pepperdine, 32 vs. Baylor, 40 vs. UTEP, 30 vs. BYU and 36 at Oregon)...11-of-11 from the foul line vs. Charlotte on Nov. 27...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... after starting the season 2-of-14 (.143) from the three-point stripe in the first four games, he is 37-of-88 (.420) in the past 18 games.

STEPPING UP WHEN NEEDED: In the four games ASU has won when trailed at the half (at SDSU, vs. IUPUI at Phoenix, vs. BYU at Glendale and at Arizona), James Harden is 13-18 (.722) from the floor, 4-5 (.800) from three and 24-31 (.774) from the foul line and is averaging 13.5 points in the second half.

VS. OREGON: ASU held the Ducks to just 17-of-41 (.415) from the floor and got 36 points from James Harden, the most by anyone in a Pac-10 game this year, on Thursday to sweep the Ducks for the first time since 2004-2005 and win its third straight Pac-10 road game...ASU was 16-of-17 (.941) from the foul line, third-best percentage in ASU history (15 attempts)...ASU has held the Ducks to 37-of-115 (.322) from the three-point stripe and to 58.5 points per game in the past six outings...James Harden has averaged 24.3 points and 5.3 boards against the Ducks in four games.

RALLY CAPS: ASU has fallen behind five times this year but rallied to win late. ASU trailed at Arizona at the half 21-18 on Jan. 21, was behind by eight midway through the first period and was down 37-33 at the 4:28 mark of he second half before rallying for a 53-47 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.