Men's Hoops Takes On Utes Tuesday At AWA
Dec. 2, 2001
ASU GOES DOWNTOWN: The Arizona State men's basketball team (3-2), under fourth-year head coach Rob Evans, meets Utah (3-2) in the second half of the Southwest Showdown at Phoenix's America West Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Arizona and Illinois open the doublheader at 6 p.m. while ASU and Utah will play at 8:30 p.m., with both games televised by Fox Sports Net. Steve Physioc (play-by-play), Marques Johnson (color) and Leila Feinstein (sideline) will call the action for Fox Sports Net while Tim Healey and ASU Hall of Famer Lionel Hollins have the radio call on the Sun Devil Sports Network.
AMERICA WEST ARENA: ASU is 1-1 at America West Arena, topping UNLV 79-70 on Dec. 5, 1998, and losing to Boston College 78-74 on Dec. 5, 1993. In the 1998 win over UNLV, then-freshman Kenny Crandall made his first career start and posted nine points as he was 3-of-8 from the three-point stripe. Chad Prewitt also had eight points off the bench. America West Arena and Arizona State will host the NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional for the second time on March 25-27, 2004. America West Arena (built in 1992 and home of the Phoenix Suns) and Arizona State hosted the event on March 18-20, 1999, when eventual NCAA champion Connecticut beat Iowa 87-68 and then topped Gonzaga 67-62 in the regional final. The Iowa-UCONN game was the final one for Dr. Tom Davis at Iowa while Gonzaga also beat Florida 73-72 on a last-second shot.
QUICK NOTES THROUGH FIVE GAMES: Senior Tommy Smith had a career-high 14 rebounds vs. Portland State and is ASU's top scorer at 13.2 points per game...junior Shawn Redhage has made all 10 of his free throws on the year...senior Chad Prewitt had 21 points vs. Stephen F. Austin and 20 vs. BYU, his third and fourth 20-point games of his career. His career high is 23 vs. Charlotte last year...junior Curtis Millage has 12 steals on the year and leads the team in minutes per game with 25.6...freshman Jason Braxton also has 12 steals through five games...junior Kyle Dodd has 14 assists and just two turnovers in 87 minutes...sophomore Kenny Crandall is 9-of-17 (.529) from the three-point stripe on the year and had 19 points vs. Prairie View A & M in the first half. He ended witha career-high 22 points...ASU has 49 steals on the year, an average of 9.8 per game...ASU is 19-2 (.905) under Evans when it shoots at least 50 percent, including an 8-0 mark last year.
BACK FROM MISSION: Kenny Crandall, who was a freshman in 1998-99 and started in 23 games, went on a two-year Mormon Mission to Eugene, Ore., and returned to the Sun Devils this year. Crandall, a native of Mesa, Ariz., and a 6-3 swingman who prepped at Mountain View High School, averaged 5.9 points and 28.4 minutes per game in his initial season and has three years of eligibility. Crandall is averaging 15.8 minutes per game and is 9-of-17 (.529) from the three-point stripe on the year.
LAST YEAR: ASU tied for sixth in the Pac-10 in 2001 after being picked eighth in the preseason media poll. After starting Pac-10 0-7, the Sun Devils went 5-6 after February 1, when center Chad Prewitt was back at full strength. ASU lost one player (senior Alton Mason) from last year's team. The Sun Devils played 15 games against NCAA Tournament teams and were 5-0 against non-conference NCAA teams, beating Conference USA champion Charlotte, Big South champion Winthrop, Mountain West Conference champion BYU, Mid-American champion Kent State and Mid-Continent champion Southern Utah.
ABOUT THE REBOUNDING: ASU was third in the Pac-10 in rebounding last year and has done a tremendous job of hitting the boards since Rob Evans became coach in 1998. ASU outrebounded 21 of its 29 opponents in 2000-2001 and has outrebounded 59 teams in 96 games under Evans. ASU outrebounded its opponents by six boards per game last year, the third straight season it has outrebounded its opponents. Before Evans arrived, ASU had not outrebounded its opponents on the year since 1987-88.
SERIES VS. UTAH: Utah leads the series with ASU 24-15, with the most recent meeting taking place in the 1998 Maui Invitational as No. 18 Utah topped ASU 65-48 in the first round on Nov. 23. The teams also met in the 1992 NIT when Utah topped ASU 60-58 in Tempe. In the 1998 game, ASU shot just 25 percent (13-of-52) against the Utes, the worst shooting night by any Rob Evans-coached team in his 263 games as a head coach. Chad Prewitt is the only Sun Devil to have played in that game, as he had two points and five rebounds in just the third game of his college career.
HE KEEPS ON IMPROVING: Tommy Smith, voted the Most Improved Player at the team's banquet last year, matched a Pac-10 record for field goal percentage by making all 11 shots against Washington on Feb. 10, 2001, and played well from mid-January through the end of last season. Smith averaged 12.5 points in the final 15 games, had a career-high 24 points vs. the Huskies and had 21 points and 12 boards at California on March 8. His 11-of-11 effort put him in the Pac-10 record book with Steve Johnson of OSU (13-of-13 vs. Hawaii-Hilo on Dec. 5, 1979), Marques Johnson of UCLA (11-of-11 vs. Cal on Feb. 27, 1976) and Bryan Bracey of Oregon (10-of-10 vs. UW on Jan. 20, 2000). Smith scored in double-digits in 12 of the final 15 games after posting double digits in just five games in his freshman season (1999-2000). In his final 10 games, Smith was 52-of-78 (.670) from the field and averaged 12.9 points. In Pac-10 games, Smith shot 58.5 percent from the field (79-of-135).
CAREER HIGHS FOR TOMMY SMITH: POINTS: 24 vs. Washington (2/10/01), REBOUNDS: 14 vs. Portland State (11/20/01), BLOCKS: 6 vs. Oregon State (2/3/00), ASSISTS: 5 vs. Washington (2/10/01), MINUTES: 36 at California (3/8/01), FIELD GOALS MADE: 11 vs. Washington (2/10/01), FIELD GOALS ATT.: 12, twice, at BYU (11/24/01), STEALS: 3, six times, at BYU (11/24/01), FTS MADE: 9 vs. Portland State (11/20/01), FTS ATT.: 11 vs. Portland State (11/20/01).
ROB EVANS: Rob Evans (135-128/.513) is in his fourth season at Arizona State in 2001-2002 (tenth overall) after being hired on April 7, 1998. The 1997 SEC Coach of the Year spent six seasons at Ole Miss, compiling an 86-81 (.515) record. He led the Rebels to a 42-16 record in his final two seasons, winning two SEC West titles, and led Ole Miss to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1937-38. The 55-year old Evans is a 1968 graduate of New Mexico State, where he captained two NCAA Tournament teams, is a 1989 inductee of the NMSU Athletic Hall of Fame and was named to the school's All-Time Basketball team. He is 49-47 (.510) at ASU. Evans' Ole Miss squads were known as a tough man-to-man teams which ranked 13th in the nation and second in the SEC in 1997-98 in rebounding at +6.6, despite no player was in the top 30 in rebounding nationally. Ole Miss held opponents to just 30 percent from the three-point stripe, best in the SEC, and to just 40.6 percent from the field. He is 91-63 (.591) in the past six seasons.
SHELL AND ALLEN UPDATES: Tanner Shell, who averaged 9.1 points per game in Pac-10 games including a 24-point effort at USC, broke his left hand in practice in late December last year and missed the remainder of the 2000-2001 season and took a medical redshirt. In 1999-2000, he had six double-figure scoring games and averaged seven points per game. His 9.1 points per game in Pac-10 play was third on the team. Shell took an indefinite leave of absence from the team on Nov. 27 this year for personal reasons. Also, Justin Allen redshirted last season as he recovered from Hodgkin's Disease and is back on the court this season.
AT THE LINE: Junior Shawn Redhage has established himself as the best free throw shooter in ASU history. Redhage shot 80-of-98 (.816) last year, the fourth-best mark in the Pac-10, and has made all 10 free throws this year. A look at Redhage on ASU career FT list as he currently stands first on the list:ASU CAREER FREE THROWS
Rk. Name (Year) FT-A Pct.1. Shawn Redhage (1999-pres.) 149-179 .8322. Alex Austin (1986-90) 255-313 .8153. Rick Taylor (1974-78) 253-311 .8144. Dennis Hamilton (1963-66) 261-321 .8135. Isaac Burton (1993-95) 208-257 .809
THREE-DOT DATA: ASU's 38-point victory over Prairie View is the tenth-biggest in Rob Evans's coaching career and the third-biggest in his four years at ASU...ASU outrebounded Pac-10 foes by 5.4 boards per game and outrebounded 21 of its 29 opponents last year...ASU averaged 14.83 offensive rebounds, the best mark in the league last year. ASU led the Pac-10 in 1999-2000 at 15.78 per game...the last ASU opponent to score 100 points in Tempe was third-ranked Arizona on Feb. 27, 1988 (101-73). The current streak of an ASU opponent not scoring 100 points in Tempe stands at 225 games...ASU's game vs. Portland State was the first overtime game in Tempe since the 1996-97 season. ASU had played 11 overtime games away from Wells Fargo Arena before the PSU game (eight on the road and three at neutral sites).
PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: A look at various preseason Pac-10 predictions for ASU:
6th--Street & Smith's, Basketball News, Basketball America, The Sporting News, Lindy's
7th--Pac-10 Media Poll, Athlon's, Basketball Times
PAC-10 MEDIA POLL: ASU was picked to finish seventh by the Pac-10 Media in a preseason poll, announced on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The results, with first-place votes in parentheses: 1. UCLA (24), 2. Stanford (1), 3. USC, 4. Arizona (2), 5. California, 6. Oregon, 7. Arizona State, 8. Oregon State, 9. Washington State, 10. Washington.
OPENING GAMES: ASU beat Stephen F. Austin 92-61 on Nov. 17, 2001, to win its 12th straight home opener. Rob Evans is now 8-2 in season openers in his 10 seasons (3-1 at ASU) after falling to eventual NIT champion Tulsa last year 69-67 in the NABC Classic in Chapel Hill in the season lid-lifter. The last time ASU lost a home opener was on Dec. 5, 1989, when ASU fell to BYU 65-64.