Jan. 1, 2010
The Arizona State's hoops team, in its fourth season under 318-game winner Herb Sendek and coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1980-81, takes on the hot USC Trojans at 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, Jan. 2 (FOX Sports Arizona and KMVP 860 AM), as the Trojans have won seven straight. ASU is 10-4, as after going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year (2006-2007), the Sun Devils are 56-27 (.675) since and giving up just 60.6 points per game in his 113 games. ASU has had eight players lead or share the team lead in scoring in its 14 games and has five players on its roster who have had a 20-point game in their career. The Sun Devils have held nine opponents to under 40 percent field goal shooting, as 26 of its past 49 opponents have shot under 40 percent.
ASU fell to UCLA 72-70 after battling back from a 16-point second-half deficit, as the Bruins shot 62.9 percent (22-of-35) from the field, the best mark by an ASU opponent in the past 135 games. Utah Valley State shot 27-of-41 (.659) on Dec. 10, 2005...UCLA's 42 first-half points were the most surrendered by ASU in the opening half in the past 63 games. UCLA was up 46-24 on Jan. 31, 2008...UCLA was 15-of-18 (.833) from the field in the first half, including 8-of-10 from three ...ASU had a season-low six turnovers...Rihards Kuksiks led ASU with 15 points, while Ty Abbott and Derek Glasser had 12...Demetrius Walker gave ASU eight points in 16 minutes off the bench.
LIKING THE ROAD
Derek Glasser is averaging 17.8 points in ASU's four games away from Tempe this year and is shooting 20-of-40 (.500) from the field, 9-of-16 (.563) from the three-point stripe and 78.6 percent (22-of-28) from the line. This trend can go back to last season as well...Glasser averaged 13.2 points in the final five games last year, all of them away from Tempe, as ASU played three games at the Pac-10 Tournament and two in Miami for the NCAAs.
Senior Derek Glasser is averaging 11.8 points and is shooting 89.1 percent from the free throw line (49-of-55) this year, third-best in the league. He is second in the Pac-10 in assists per game (5.5) and first in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.66 with 77 assists and 29 turnovers)...sixth in the league in three-point shooting at 46.8 percent (22-of-47)...in the past eight games he has 50 assists and just 15 turnovers...already is the ASU career assist record holder with 470, topping the mark held by the late Bobby Thompson, who had 454 from 1983-87, and his 231-of-276 (.837) shooting from the free throw line currently is the best in school history. He also has a chance to become the first player in Sun Devil history with 1,000 points and 500 assists. He has 860 career points and 470 assists.
ASU CAREER FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
1. Derek Glasser, 2006-10, 83.2 (229-of-274)
2. Alex Austin, 1986-90, 81.5 (255-of-313)
REMEMBER THIS ABOUT THE DEFENSE
Just how good has the Sun Devil defense been since Herb Sendek took over? ASU has given up less than 62 points per game in each of the past three seasons, the best three-season span since the middle of the past century. In the 18 Pac-10 games last year, no team defended shooters better than ASU, as it led the league in field goal percentage defense (.421) and three-point defense (.310). Those that followed Coach Sendek's career at NC State won't find it a big shocker. In his 10 seasons in Raleigh, NC State led the ACC in scoring defense four times and held opponents to just 54.7 points per game in 1996-97, an ACC record. Last year's 60.5 points per game allowed was the lowest by a Sun Devil team since the 1949-50 team gave up 59.8.
ROAD NOTES FROM LAST YEAR
ASU finished 6-4 on the road overall and won four straight Pac-10 road games last year for the first time since the 1980-81 team won five straight and. ASU won five Pac-10 road games for just the fifth time in its 31-year history. After losing its first eight Pac-10 road games under Herb Sendek, ASU is 10-10 since.
LEADING THE WAY
The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in scoring defense (55.8 points per game), scoring margin (+14.6 points per game), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.31) and three-pointers made per game (8.64 with 121 made in 14 games). They rank second in the loop in field goal percentage defense (.393), field goal percentage (.481), three-point shooting (.397) and turnover margin (+3.86)...Eric Boateng leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 65.2 percent, while Jamelle McMillan is tenth at .506.
USC leads the series with ASU 48-32, and the teams have met six times in the past two seasons, with USC winning four, including a 66-63 win in the 2009 Pac-10 Tournament championship...ASU is 0-3 in the Galen Center under Herb Sendek, but 3-0 in Tempe...in the three games against USC last year, Derek Glasser led ASU at 15.7 points per game...ASU held USC to 14-of-48 (.292) from the three-point stripe, but shot just 61.7 percent from the free throw line...in the Pac-10 title game last year, ASU shot 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the field in the first half in building a 39-24 halftime lead, but USC outscored ASU 29-16 to start the second half...ASU made just four trips to the foul line, USC attempted 21 and committed just eight fouls, tied for the fewest against Herb Sendek at ASU...in the game in Tempe on Feb. 15, ASU had just four turnovers, its fewest in a game since March 9, 1991, when it had just four against Oregon State...ASU was 10-of-19 (.526) from the field in the first half, USC was 2-of-13 (.154) from the three-point stripe for the game...last year at Galen, ASU shot just 6-of-21 (.286) from field in second half in a 61-49 win on Jan. 15...ASU led 24-14 with 4:31 to go in the first half and also led 40-39 with 7:43 left before being outscored 22-9...USC is averaging 50.3 points in its three Galen Center losses...in the three games last year, USC scored 180 points, ASU 177.
BEST TREE IN THE LAND
Herb Sendek has eight former assistants who are D-I coaches, the best mark of any coach in the nation, ahead of Mike Montgomery and Rick Pitino (seven each). Twelve-year sidekick Mark Phelps earned the Drake spot in the spring of 2008 after serving for 10 years on the staff at NC State and for two years at ASU. Former NC State sidekick John Groce also earned the Ohio University position in the spring of 2008. The others are Jim Christian at TCU (Miami assistant in 1995-96), Charlie Coles at Miami of Ohio (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Larry Hunter at Western Carolina (NC State assistant from 2001-05), Ron Hunter of IUPUI (Miami assistant from 1993-94), Ohio State's Thad Matta (Miami assistant in 1994-95) and Arizona's Sean Miller (assistant at both Miami from 1993-95 and at NC State from 1996-2000).
GOING BACK TO CALI
ASU returns to southern California this year after having solid success in the area last year, as it was 6-3 in 2008-09 including a Mountain West Conference road win (at San Diego State on Nov. 18), a Pac-10 road win (at UCLA on Jan. 17) and two Pac-10 Tournament wins in Staples Center (over Arizona on March 12 and vs. #13 Washington on March 13). It also went 2-1 (wins vs. Charlotte and UTEP and loss to Baylor) in the 76 Classic in Anaheim Nov. 27-30.
Eric Boateng already has his degree in Global Studies, speaks a little bit of Chinese and an African dialect called "Twi" also is taking advantage of the 24-hour access for ASU's new practice facility (Weatherup Center). He is averaging 8.4 points and 6.3 boards while shooting 65.2 percent from the field (45-of-69), as he has scored 117 points after scoring 57 all of last year. Also, he was 28-of-74 (.378) from the free throw line in his first two years at ASU, he is 27-of-43 (.628) this year.
PLAYER QUICK NOTES
Jerren Shipp is shooting 17-of-35 (.586) from the field on the year...sophomore Taylor Rohde has already played more minutes (145) than he did all of last year (73). In the past six games he is averaging 14.0 minutes and 5.3 points while shooting 12-of-21 (.571) from the floor...junior Jamelle McMillan has been all over the stat sheet the past four games. In that time he is averaging 35.2 minutes, 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and has nine steals. He is shooting 19-of-39 (.487) from the floor in that time and 9-of-21 (.429) from the three-point stripe...Ty Abbott also has been active the past four games, averaging 12.5 points and shooting 17-of-39 (.436) from the field and 11-of-25 (.440) from the three-point stripe. Abbott missed the season opener after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in mid-October and seems to be getting back in shape. He has played in 82 games in his three-year career and started in 72.
Junior Rihards Kuksiks is the third-best returning three-point shooter in the nation according to official NCAA statistics. Kuksiks was 93-of-210 from the arc last year, which was eighth in the nation. He averaged 10.3 points (third-best on the team) and his 93 three-pointers isthird-best in school history, while the 44.3 percent shooting is tied for the fourth-best in school history. The junior has made 168-of-413 (.407) three-pointers in his three-year career and had career-highs in points (27), three-pointers (seven) and assists (eight) in the win over USF on Nov. 20. He also posted a then career-high 20 points in the NCAA Tournament second-round loss to Syracuse with six three-pointers.
THE HEAD COACH
Herb Sendek, 64-49 (.566) at ASU, is in his 17th season as a head coach in 2009-2010 and has averaged 19.2 wins per season. He led the NC State Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 318-206 (.606) in 17 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 46-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh, Pa., native remains 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.
WINNING TOUGH ONES
ASU is 20-14 (.588) in the past three 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 was 5-4 in 2008-2009 with victories at SDSU, vs. IUPUI, vs. BYU, at Arizona and vs. Arizona in Pac-10 Tournament. It is 1-3 this year with a 71-52 win vs. LSU on Nov. 27 as it outscored the Tigers 44-18 in the second half...ASU is 6-2 in its past eight overtime games...in ASU's first season under Herb Sendek, it was 3-12 in two-possession games (six points or less), in the past three seasons it is 13-9 (7-5 past two seasons).