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March 20, 2009

Derek Glasser

James Harden

Jeff Pendergraph

Herb Sendek


Arizona State 66
Temple 57

LARRY WAHL: We'll open it up with comments from Coach Sendek. Coach?
COACH HERB SENDEK: I'm obviously very proud of our guys, a good team effort by our squad today. We have such great respect for Temple's program and the job that Coach Dunphy and his staff does, and we knew coming in today we would have to play a very good game to be competitive.
Different guys stepped up for us at different times, but most certainly Derek and Jeff had outstanding games for us and allowed us to come away with the win today. And then I thought James down the home stretch really made several big plays to get us over the hump.
Thank you.

Q. Derek, you hit four or five three-pointers in the first half, and were you just looking for your shot more or were you just getting easy looks?
DEREK GLASSER: Our offense just created open looks for me, and it just happened through the offense and I was open, so I took them.

Q. Jeff, I mean, how does it feel, man? You finally got it.
JEFF PENDERGRAPH: It feels pretty good to come here. We didn't play the best game. It wasn't pretty. But sometimes these feel the best at the end of the day, guys just toughed it out and guys came to play on a big day, big stage. So it feels really good for the guys to have performed like that.

Q. Derek, what happened to you at the end of the first half? And then you got banged up again in the second half. What was the problem there?
DEREK GLASSER: I just took a little hit to the face, but I was fine. Then in the second half, just a knee on my tailbone, but it was fine. It hurt in the moment, but it's fine now.

Q. Jeff, against a seven-footer Olmos did you feel you had the advantage being more physical than him because it looked like you were banging down low and more times than often you would get your way down there?
JEFF PENDERGRAPH: That's one of the things I tried to go at. He's seven-foot but I know on rare occasions I outweigh one of the big men. So I tried to use my physical nature and size and weight against him. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't, but regardless of how much he weighs he's still seven feet tall. But that was definitely one of the things trying to attack him.

Q. How much was it a struggle for you to get in the game offensively?
JAMES HARDEN: It was one of those games where my shot wasn't falling. My teammates picked it up, definitely. Derek throughout the entire game, Jeff throughout the game, Ty made some great plays. Obviously my teammates stepped up today.

Q. James, you often hear people when they're talking about your team say ASU is Harden and a supporting cast. What do you think about that?
JAMES HARDEN: They showed you today that that's not the case. Throughout the season they've been stepping up, and as the year went on guys are stepping up. He's definitely stepping up. Jeff is playing like an All American. Like I said, late in the season guys are stepping up and making plays. So it's not only just James, it's the entire team, and like I said, they showed that today.

Q. The last three games you guys have given up double-digit leads in the first half. I know sometimes basketball just goes back and forth like that, but has there been a common denominator in those three games?
COACH HERB SENDEK: I think each of the three games was played very differently, and I think you're right in recognizing when you're playing against really good teams like we have been, short of us being able to just dominate and blow one of them out, there's going to be runs, and it's going to -- two teams that are relatively even are going to converge rather than diverge most of the time. I think in two of those three games, as the other team came back, our guys did a great job of keeping their composure and found ways to still win.
You know, I wouldn't turn it around and say that we don't want to get out to a lead for fear that we may lose one. That would kind of be some backward thinking.

Q. Derek, it looked like you had a conversation with Dionte Christmas when you shook his hand. It looked like a conversation borne out of maybe respect. Can you tell us what you said to him?
DEREK GLASSER: I just said, "Great game." Because as a team we have a lot of respect for him and Temple as a program, and I was just letting him know that he played a phenomenal game today.

Q. Those last five minutes when you were going to the basket, were you thinking of creating contact and getting to the line, protecting the lead and kind of the whistle started to blow more often late?
JAMES HARDEN: Yeah, last couple minutes I started to be a little more aggressive and just create it for my team. Throughout the game I didn't play my best, but the last couple minutes I wanted to give my all and go out with a fight.

Q. Derek touched on this before, but can you talk about being on the same floor with Christmas and some of the shots that he made today?
JEFF PENDERGRAPH: The guy is a great player. Throughout the game it kind of looked like we were playing man, we were running around making sure he didn't catch the ball. As soon as he stepped on the court, the guy could shoot from right there. That was one of the focuses, always know where he's at and try and make him put on the floor and don't let him get his shots. He's one of those guys, next thing you know he has 50 and you're down by 20 and you're wondering why, because he's that good of a scorer and he can get his points just that fast.

Q. James, I just wonder in a game like this, you'd be one of the bigger names, the pressure you feel to get going early. Was that a factor at all?
JAMES HARDEN: No, definitely not. It was one of those games where the shots wasn't falling. It was hard to get into the groove of the game. Credit to my teammates, they picked it up. That's why we're still playing on Sunday.

Q. Can you give us your thoughts on playing Syracuse and your impressions on them, if you saw any of the Big East Tournament, what your thoughts are about playing the Orange on Sunday?
JAMES HARDEN: Well, Jonny Flynn is one of my good friends. We talk all the time. I know they have a great team. They have a lot of depth, they're big. They have great guards, and they're a great team. We have to be prepared and ready to be in a heavyweight fight on Sunday.

Q. Jeff, can you just talk about like the size that Syracuse has down low and what kind of a challenge that's going to present on Sunday?
JEFF PENDERGRAPH: It's going to present challenges for not just me but everybody. Guys are that big, you've got to be ready for weak-side rebounding, and that's going to put a big challenge on 'Rek and Jerren, blocking them out and making sure they don't get offensive rebounds because they're just so big. On offense, too, you've got to watch out for it because guys are that big, they're not just going to let you score on them and they're not easily moved. It's going to be a dogfight.
LARRY WAHL: Now we'll have questions for Coach Sendek.

Q. Most of the time even when James has an off-night defensively, you're praising the other parts of his game, but there were a couple of times when he seemed to be late defensively getting on Christmas and you sat him down. Do you think struggles offensively were affecting his struggles on the other end of the court?
COACH HERB SENDEK: Yeah, I don't know how to slice it and dice it, but he didn't have one of his best games. The best part about James is, as you could tell with the way he just talked with us, is he's all about the team. Because it wasn't his day, because he wasn't the centerpiece, so to speak, this afternoon, he didn't disengage from his team. He recognizes the contributions other guys make. He rejoices in the moment with the team, and it's not about him. That's a wonderful quality that he possesses.

Q. Speaking of James, how nice is it, I guess, or what kind of luxury is it to have a guy who even if he's not playing well, you can put the ball in his hands to run the offense and create things for himself and for others in crunch time like that?
COACH HERB SENDEK: I mean, it's a tremendous asset and gift because at the end of the game, as much as it may not have been his afternoon, he made a number of plays that allowed us to win. He made the big three behind the ball screen, he got to the foul line several times. He had the great dish to Jeff on the curl.
So when the game was on the line and down the home stretch, he still was able to have the presence of mind to reset himself and play like the last home stretch exceptionally well. You know, that's not easy to do. That's not easy to do when you're not having your day, to reset yourself mid-stream and then step up to make a number of plays that your team needs you to make.
The other thing is in defense of James, his presence on our offensive side of the floor creates opportunities for his teammates. It's not just when he passes or just when he shoots, but he garners so much attention that other guys are the benefactors.

Q. Question for you about Syracuse and your thoughts about playing against Coach Boeheim and that zone.
COACH HERB SENDEK: Obviously they have one of the nation's premier teams, and they're playing arguably their best basketball of the season right now. I think anybody who watched that Big East Tournament had to kind of come away shaking their head at how well they were playing. I think they're one of the very elite teams in the country, and it's going to require an amazing effort on our part to be competitive on Sunday.

Q. These guys have talked about wanting to become a basketball school, coming from the ACC you know what it's going to take. Is this next game going to be the next big step for Arizona State to get up to that level to be nationally recognized?
COACH HERB SENDEK: You know, I think we're much better served just staying in the moment and enjoying this experience, trying to do the best we can in preparing for Sunday's game, and I don't think that Arizona State wants to be a basketball school. We want to be a school that serves its student-athletes and its regular students well. We want to have a well-rounded program. If you look at the championship caliber of sports we have across the board, we're not moving in the direction of a one-sport show. We're part of an athletics department that has achieved some amazing feats, and we want to do our part to add to that.

Q. Have you sort of looked ahead to this game beforehand and the match-ups that you might have expected. Did you think or figure that Derek would have figured in so much shooting-wise?
COACH HERB SENDEK: Well, Derek has been playing his career best basketball here the last couple weeks. I think he picked up today right where he left off in the PAC-10 Tournament. He has been really good lately. You know, he's gained a lot of experience because he came in the door and we kind of handed him the ball, and he took his bumps and bruises with the rest of us, and every step along the way he's learned and improved. And right now all of that hard work and investment is starting to pay dividends for him.
And like he said, it wasn't some grand plan on our part that it would happen the way it did today; he just did a really good job of reading situations in the first half, taking what the defense gave, and made good decisions, and fortunately for us he was making his shots. He's a significantly better shooter. He's really worked hard on that part of his game, and it's helped our team tremendously.
LARRY WAHL: Thank you, Coach.

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