Men's Hoops Plays Host To #21 California and #17 Stanford
Feb. 26, 2002
SUN DEVILS (14-11, 7-9) HOST BAY AREA TEAMS TO CLOSE REGULAR SEASON
Pac-10 Tournament to be held March 7-9 at Staples Center
Thur., Feb. 28-vs. #21 California (20-6, 11-5)--6:30 p.m. MST
Tempe, Ariz.--Fox Sports Arizona
Sat., Mar. 2-vs. #17 Stanford (17-8, 10-6)--4 p.m. MST
Tempe, Ariz.--Fox Sports Net
All games on radio in Phoenix on KFYI 550 AM.
SAME WEEK, SAME STORY, AS DEVILS FACE RANKED FOES: The Arizona State men's basketball team (14-11, 7-9 in Pac-10), under fourth-year head coach Rob Evans and winners of three of its past five, will play ranked teams for the fourth and fifth straight games as it plays host to the No. 21 California Golden Bears on Thurs., Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m. MST on Fox Sports Arizona and concludes its regular season by hosting No. 17 Stanford on Sat., March 2 at 4 p.m. MST on Fox Sports Net. Tim Healey and ASU Hall of Famer Lionel Hollins have the radio call on the Sun Devil Radio Network, while Tom Dillon, Tim Kempton and Sam Williams have the call for Fox Sports Arizona for the California game. Barry Tompkins and Dan Belloumini have the call on Fox Sports Net for the Stanford game. ASU is coming off a 69-68 win at No. 20 UCLA on Feb. 16, its first win in Pauley since 1987, and a tough 83-75 loss at No. 14 Arizona on Feb. 20. ASU fell behind by 18 in the first half before taking the lead in the second half against the Wildcats.
When the regular season concludes ASU's current stretch of games will mark the first time in school history it will have played five straight games ranked teams. ASU's 1974-75 team came close as it played four straight games against ranked teams, also to finish the season. ASU beat No. 19 Arizona 107-92 to conclude the regular season that year and then went on to the NCAA Tournament where it beat No. 10 Alabama 97-94 in Tempe. ASU then played in Portland where it beat No. 16 UNLV 84-81 before losing to top-ranked UCLA 89-75. ASU will probably play a sixth straight ranked team in the Pac-10 Tournament next week, as the Sun Devils will be the No. 7 seed and take on the No. 2 seed. The Sun Devils are led by Chad Prewitt, who has led ASU in scoring in 13 of the past 17 games and is averaging 19.0 points and 7.4 boards in Pac-10 play. Prewitt also has shown the ability to shoot the three, as he is 19-of-35 (.543) from beyond the arc in the past 10 games. On the year, he is 29-of-67 (.433), ninth in the Pac-10, after shooting 19-of-54 (.352) in his first three seasons. He hit 5-of-7 at Stanford on Jan. 31 and was 5-of-5 at UCLA on Feb. 16. Prewitt had a career-high 33 points vs. Washington on Feb. 9, the most points by a Sun Devil since Eddie House had 40 vs. UCLA on Feb. 17, 2000, a span of the past 62 games.
QUALITY WINS: Heading into the final week of the Pac-10 season, seventh-place ASU (7-9) remains the only team to beat Oregon (12-4), Arizona (11-5) and UCLA (10-6). ASU beat Oregon 95-88 on Jan. 6 and beat No. 10 Arizona 88-72 on Jan. 23, and then won at UCLA 69-68 on Feb. 16. ASU might have as much say about who wins the Pac-10 title as the teams still in the hunt, as ASU began a five-game streak on Feb. 14 to conclude the season against teams all still contending for the title. After its loss at USC (Feb. 14) and at Arizona (Feb. 20) and win at UCLA (Feb. 16), ASU has home games against No. 21 Cal (Feb. 28) and No. 17 Stanford (March 2). ASU also topped Utah (19-6) 71-62 at America West Arena on Dec. 4.
SHOOTING AND DEFENDING THE THREE BETTER: ASU already has made 26 more three-pointers in its 16 Pac-10 games (87) than it did the whole Pac-10 season last year (61). ASU is shooting 36.1 percent (87-of-241) from the three-point stripe in Pac-10 play (sixth in the league) and is holding opponents to just 30.8 percent (77-of-250) from beyond the arc (second in the loop). Last year, the Sun Devils shot just 26.3 percent from beyond the arc in Pac-10 play (61-of-232) and its opponents shot 37.6 percent (109-of-290). Both marks were last in the Pac-10 in 2000-2001.
THIS HURTS: Senior forward Awvee Storey and sophomore Kenny Crandall are still on the injury list. Storey was poked in the eye on Feb. 9 against Washington and has a swollen left retina and a laceration of the lower left eyelid. Medication to help stop bleeding beneath the retina and the healing process will have Storey out of action for a minimum of two weeks. Storey has started 13 games and is averaging 15.6 minutes per game. He had started the previous six games and has notched seven double-figure scoring games this year. He led the Pac-10 in rebounding last year at 9.1 caroms per contest. ASU also is without 6-3 swingman Kenny Crandall for 4-6 weeks as he sprained a ligament in his right foot on Jan. 31 at Stanford. Crandall, who was a freshman in 1998-99 and started 23 games, went on a two-year Mormon Mission to Eugene and returned to the Sun Devils this year. A native of Mesa, Ariz., who prepped at state champion Mountain View High School, he averaged 5.9 points and 28.4 minutes per game in his initial season. Crandall is averaging 19.6 minutes per game and is 31-of-70 (.443) from the three-point stripe on the year, sixth in the Pac-10. In Pac-10 play, he is 18-of-38 (.474). He also is averaging 7.6 points and is shooting 52.1 percent from the field in Pac-10 tilts.
COMBINE THE TWO: With Crandall and Storey out of the rotation, ASU statistically is without 35.6 minutes, 13.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Players have stepped up, as Storey actually only played two minutes vs. Washington State on Feb. 7 due to a lower back sprain. Curtis Millage, who leads the team in minutes played at 29.9 per game, is the only Sun Devil to play 40 minutes when he went the distance against Washington on Feb. 9. Donnell Knight played a season-high 28 minutes at Arizona while Chad Prewitt played a career-high 38 vs. Washington en route to his career-high 33 points. Knight posted back-to-back double-digit points for the first time this year with 14 points and 10 boards vs. Washington State and 10 points vs. Washington. He has made his past 10 free throws. Also, senior Brad Nahra played a career-high 32 minutes at UCLA and had four assists.
QUICK NOTES: ASU is 14-2 (.867) when it leads at the half but 0-8 when it trails and 0-1 when tied (California, tied at 29)...freshman point guard Jason Braxton is averaging 8.7 points in the seven games against ranked opponents and is averaging 24.7 minutes in the past 10 games ...in the absence of Kenny Crandall and Awvee Storey, senior Brad Nahra played a career-high 32 minutes at UCLA...junior reserve point guard Kyle Dodd has 61 assists and just 17 turnovers on the year, a ratio of 3.59-to-1. In the past 17 games, he has 39 assists and just 11 turnovers...ASU has topped Arizona and UCLA in the same season for the first time since 1985-86...Shawn Redhage is averaging 18.9 minutes and 7.1 points in the past 11 games and is shooting 54.8 percent (34-of-62) from the field in that time...ASU is 26-4 (.867) under Evans when it shoots at least 50 percent, including a 16-2 (.889) mark in the past two seasons. ASU shot 52.5 percent at Stanford (31-of-59) on Jan. 31, including 16-of-27 (.593) in the first half, but fell 90-81...ASU has outrebounded its past six opponents by 7.7 per game...Awvee Storey earned his Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in communications and sociology at ASU's Dec. 15 mid-year commencement...sophomore Justin Allen played a season-high 16 minutes vs. Washington State on Feb. 9. He is 5-of-12 (.417) from beyond the three-point stripe in the past five games.
DISHING IT: ASU is third in the Pac-10 in assists at 16.48 per game overall, but an even more impressive stat is that ASU is averaging 16.69 per game in Pac-10 play, second in the loop. The Sun Devils don't have a player ranked in the top-10 in assists individually, but seven Sun Devils have posted at least 32 assists on the year, led by Kyle Dodd's 60 (2.44 per game).
EXHIBIT A: Chad Prewitt is the first four-year player in Rob Evans' tenure at ASU and it is tough to remember any Pac-10 player improving any more than 'Big Red' from a freshman to a senior season. ASU has been void of four-year players in its recent history, with only Eddie House (1996-2000), Jeremy Veal (1994-98), Quincy Brewer (1992-97) and Ron Riley (1992-96) playing four seasons beginning with the 1992-93 season. Prewitt, who is the 27th Sun Devil to score 1,000 points with 1,121, is averaging 17.5 points per game this year and is shooting .554 from the field. He is averaging 19.4 points and 7.7 boards in the past 17 games. Prewitt has 12 20-point games on the year (25 games) after posting just two in his first three seasons (89 games). A note on his improvement: Prewitt scored more points in the Jan. 4-6 weekend sweep of the Oregon schools (52 points) when he earned Pac-10 Player of the Week than he did his whole Pac-10 freshman season (1998-99), as he had 46 points in 18 games.
VS. ARIZONA (FEB. 20): ASU fell behind by as many as 18 late in the first half but battled back to take a second-half lead before falling at No. 14 Arizona 83-75 on Wednesday, Feb. 20. ASU was 8-of-19 (.421) from the three-point stripe and had just 13 turnovers but was just 15-of-31 (.484) from the free throw line. Curtis Millage had a season-high 27 points while Chad Prewitt added 15 points and eight boards and Jason Braxton had 10 points and eight boards.
THE CAL GAME (FEB. 2): ASU and Cal were tied at 29 at the end of the first half on Feb. 2 but Cal was 12-of-23 (.527) from the field in the second half and won 67-59 at Haas Pavilion. Tommy Smith was the only Sun Devil in double figures as he had 15 points and seven boards. ASU was just 8-of-13 (.615) from the free throw line, including a 1-of-3 (.333) effort in the second half. ASU outrebounded the Bears 42-27 and had 20 offensive boards. ASU matched season-lows for free throws (eight) and assists (nine). The ASU-Cal series had been predictable the past decade, with the home team winning 18 of the past 21 games. ASU leads the overall series 29-23. ASU swept the Golden Bears in 1999-2000 for the first time since 1994-95 and Rob Evans is 3-4 against Cal and its head coach, Ben Braun. California has won three straight in the series.
THE STANFORD GAME (JAN. 31): ASU played one of its best games of the year in a 90-81 loss at No. 18 Stanford. ASU shot 52.5 percent from the field (31-of-59), including 59.3 percent (16-of-27) in the first half, but Casey Jacobsen poured in 49 points to lead the Cardinal. ASU was a season high 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from the three-point stripe and had just 13 turnovers. The difference was at the free throw line, as Stanford was 30-of-47 (.638) and ASU was 10-of-14 (.714) and was whistled for a season-high 33 fouls. Stanford also matched an ASU opponent's season high with 50 percent shooting from the three-point stripe (8-of-16). Stanford leads the series 27-24 and the Cardinal has won the past eight and 12 of the past 13. ASU's only win in that time was on Jan. 31, 1998, when ASU topped at fourth-ranked Stanford 90-87 in overtime.
ONE MORE PREWITT IMPROVEMENT NOTE: How big of a scoring improvement has Prewitt made to become the 19th leading scorer in ASU history with at least three games to play? Only one other player in ASU's top 25 scoring chart scored less in his first year. ASU 1988 Hall of Fame inductee Fat Lever is currently 18th on the ASU scoring chart with 1,137 points but averaged just 3.6 points in his freshman year of 1978-79. Lever ended up averaging 9.2 points in his sophomore year, 11.6 in his junior year and 16.6 in his senior year for a 10.1 career average. Prewitt averaged just 4.1 points in his freshman year.
REDHAGE PLAYING WELL: Junior Shawn Redhage, the best free throw shooter in ASU history, has made 27-of-34 (.794) from the line this year and is playing very well off the bench recently. Redhage had a season-high 13 points at California on Feb. 2 is averaging 18.9 minutes and 7.1 points in the past 11 games and is shooting 54.8 percent (34-of-62) from the field in that time. He played a season-high 24 minutes at Washington State on Jan. 12 and posted eight points and also played 24 minutes vs. Washington on Feb. 9. He had seven assists vs. UCLA on Jan. 17 and had eight points and six boards at UCLA on Feb. 16 in 15 minutes. Redhage shot 80-of-98 (.816) last year from the line, fourth in the Pac-10.
IMPACT RECRUIT: Junior Curtis Millage is making his mark in his initial season, as he is one of three players to start all 25 games (Tommy Smith and Chad Prewitt are the others) and leads the team in minutes per game at 29.9. He is averaging 14.3 points in Pac-10. In his past 20 games, he is averaging 14.6 points, including a season-high 27 at Arizona on Feb. 20 and 24 at Washington State on Jan. 12. He is 33-of-40 (.825) from the free throw line in the past 12 games and is averaging 5.8 boards in his past 10 games. He has led the team in rebounding in three of the past eight games, including 11 at California on Feb. 2. He played 40 minutes vs. Washington on Feb. 9 and is averaging 32.7 minutes in the past six games.
ROB EVANS: Rob Evans (146-137/.516) 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 60-56 (.517) 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 102-71 (.590) in the past six seasons.