January 17, 2007

Bruins Battle Sun Devils

Following a three game road trip, the second ranked Bruins come back to the friendly confines of Pauley Pavilion to take on the lowly Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pac-10 contest on Thursday evening.

ASU is the only team in the conference still without a league victory to its credit, and while first year head coach Herb Sendek has some nice young pieces on his ball club, the ex-North Carolina State head man hasn't seen the unit mesh well in the early going this season.

The Sun Devils (6-11, 0-6) are led by one of the better post men in the league in sophomore Jeff Pendergraph. The 6-foot-10 forward, high school teammates with Bruin lead guard Darren Collison at Etiwanda High, is second in the conference in field goal percentage, leads the league in offensive rebounding, and is averaging a little over 13 points to go along with 9 rebounds per contest.

Pendergraph is a skilled post, equally proficient facing up as he is with his back to the basket. He has a nice touch out to about 17 feet, and his long arms allow him to score inside over just about any defender in the conference. Last season, Pendergraph made 67 percent of his shots against the Bruins in the two meetings between the teams.

Matching Pendergraph's 13 points per game is freshman shooting guard Christian Polk, a local Phoenix product. Polk has a less than stellar understanding of what a good shot is and while he's a capable outside shooter, even a good pull-up jump shooter, often times the ball dies in his hands on the offensive end for ASU.

There are 21 players in the Pac-10 conference who take fewer shots per game than Polk yet average more points each time out. Polk also takes the third most three-point attempts out of anyone in the league, but connects on only 32 percent of his tries.

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