A Great First Impression

Nov. 13, 2002

By Brian Gomez, thesundevils.com

On a day when head coach Rob Evans found out what's in store down theroad with the signing of four high school seniors, Sun Devil fans got aglimpse of what to expect in the immediate future.

Led by newcomers Ike Diogu and Serge Angounou, the ASU men's basketballteam rolled to a 107-89 victory over the EA Sports All-Stars before a crowdof 3,031 on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena. The freshmen forwardscombined for 32 points and 13 rebounds to pace the Sun Devils in the firstexhibition game of the season.

'I don't like playing teams you can beat pretty easily,' said Evans, whoimproved to 7-2 all-time in preseason games at ASU. 'You get a false sense ofsecurity.'

The Sun Devils trailed by two points at the break and fell behind by asmany as five early in the second half before going on a 14-0 run over afive-minute span to pull away from the EA Sports All-Stars, a team comprisedof former college players.

Senior forward Donnell Knight slammed home senior forward Tommy Smith'sdunk during the scoring spree. Smith then stole guard Maurice McLemore'serrant pass at half-court and threw one down to give ASU a 60-57 lead with15:59 remaining.

The Sun Devils extended their lead to seven points less than two minuteslater on Diogu's put-back. Diogu finished with a game-high 21 points on8-of-14 shooting from the field in his first outing at the collegiate level.

'I really didn't think I was going to get that involved,' said Diogu, whodisplayed his ability to stretch his game by nailing a pair of 3-pointers.'Coach always says to get the ball down low. From there, that opens up looksfor everybody.'

Diogu and Angounou carried the load early for ASU, which saw a 10-pointfirst-half lead go by the wayside. Diogu scored nine of his team's first 17points before taking to the bench seven minutes into the game.

Angounou picked up the slack by tossing in a shot on junior guard KennyCrandall's miss and hitting a turnaround jumper in the paint. Angounourecorded 11 points and eight boards in his Sun Devil debut. Smith tossed in16 points and had a game-high nine rebounds, while freshman guard Jamal Hillhad 12 and senior forward Shawn Redhage added 10.

'Some of the new guys were a little bit nervous out there early on,'Evans said. 'Jamal is a pretty good shooter and a pretty good defensiveplayer, but he kind of got lost a few times. There is a little more speed andquickness on this level, and you have to learn that in playing theseballgames.'

After getting outrebounded last year by the EA Sports All-Stars, ASUshored up its problems on the boards Wednesday. The Sun Devils won the battleon the glass, 48-35. They hauled down 19 offensive rebounds, many of whichresulted in second-chance points.

The EA Sports All-Stars were led by former Kansas forward Nick Bradford,who had a team-high 20 points. Former Alabama-Huntsville forward Joe Smithmade three of six shots from beyond the arc for 18 points.

ASU will return to action at 7 p.m. Monday when hosting Team ezybonds, anAustralian traveling team, in the final exhibition game of the season. TheSun Devils are scheduled to begin the regular season Nov. 22 against MoreheadState.

Senior guard Curtis Millage sat out the game due to an eligibility issue.

'Our administration is working an issue dealing with the eligibility of Curtis. Curtis Millage has done everything he needed to do. The administration felt it was in our best interest to have him not play tonight until the matter was resolved,' said Athletic Director Gene Smith. 'We have been trying to resolve the issue since the weekend.'

Reach the reporter at brian.gomez@asu.edu.

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