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The Fresh Five

January 15, 2008|Robyn Norwood

Each week, The Times takes a look at how UCLA's Kevin Love and USC's O.J. Mayo stack up against the best of the nation's freshman class. This week, Lakewood Artesia product James Harden takes a turn in the rotation after leading Arizona State to an upset of Arizona and lifting the Sun Devils into the top 25 for the first time since 1995.

Michael Beasley, Kansas State

* Season stats: 24.8 ppg, 13.1 rpg.

* What he's done lately: Beasley scored 32 points -- including the game-winning basket -- and had 11 rebounds in an 84-82 victory over Oklahoma. The double-double was his 14th in 15 games this season.

* What's ahead: Saturday vs. Texas A&M.

Eric Gordon, Indiana

* Season stats: 23.0 ppg, 43.7 three-point FG%.

* What he's done lately: Gordon, who committed to Illinois in high school before backing out to sign with Indiana, scored 17 in a home game against the Illini, but must face them on the road Feb. 7.

* What's ahead: Thursday at Minnesota, Sunday vs. Penn State.

Kevin Love, UCLA

* Season stats: 16.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg.

* What he's done lately: Love had 11 points and seven rebounds against Washington big man Jon Brockman, then had the most complete game of his career in a top-five showdown with Washington State. Love scored a career-high 27 points against the Cougars -- making two of three three-pointers -- and had 14 rebounds.

* What's ahead: Saturday vs. USC.

O.J. Mayo, USC

* Season stats: 19.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg.

* What he's done lately: With USC off to an 0-3 start in the Pacific 10, Mayo scored 14 of his 15 points in the second half and the Trojans earned their first victory against Washington. He scored 22 in an earlier loss to Washington State.

* What's ahead: Saturday at UCLA.

James Harden, Arizona State

* Season stats: 18.2 ppg, 54.9 FG%.

* What he's done lately: Harden, a 6-foot-4 guard, scored a career-high 26 points -- 22 of them after halftime -- to lift the Sun Devils to an overtime victory against rival Arizona, which was playing without freshman Jerryd Bayless. Bayless, another of the Pac-10's top freshmen, returned to the Wildcats' lineup the next game after recovering from a sprained knee and scored a career-high 33 points against Houston.

* What's ahead: Thursday at California, Saturday at Stanford.

-- Robyn Norwood

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