Diogu Posts 34 Points And 11 Boards In 98-96 Win

Nov. 18, 2002

By Brian Gomez, thesundevils.com

The ASU men's basketball team got 34 points Monday night from freshmanforward Ike Diogu.

With freshman forward Serge Angounou out for the seasons with an injuredright knee, senior guard Curtis Millage sidelined because of an academiceligibility issue and senior forward Tommy Smith confined to the bench infoul trouble, the Sun Devils needed just about all of them. ASU squeaked outa 98-96 victory over Team EzyBonds before a crowd of 3,751 in the exhibitionfinale at Wells Fargo Arena.

'To this point, I haven't seen the commitment I want to see on thedefensive end of the floor, and especially tonight on the glass,' said SunDevil head coach Rob Evans, whose team will begin the regular season whenhosting Morehead State at 5:30 p.m. Friday. 'It has to be a consistent effortfor us to be a good basketball team.'

Diogu, who was 21-of-33 from the floor in the two exhibition games and shot 77.8 percent from the floor his senior year, shouldered much of the load after the break for ASU, which went on a 6-0 run over the last 1:21 of the first half to draw even with TeamEzyBonds, a traveling team consisting primarily of Australian players. Hescored 10 of his team's first 14 points in the second half to give the SunDevils a 63-59 lead with 13:52 remaining.

'I have no problem getting the ball on the block,' said Diogu, who alsohauled down a game-high 11 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensiveend. 'I was just trying to pick up the slack because we played pretty bad asa team. I was trying to give my team some energy anyway I could, whether itbe rebounds, blocks or points.'

ASU grabbed a four-point lead with just over nine minutes left whensenior guard Kyle Dodd scored on a crossover, before junior guard Jamal Hilldrained a turnaround jumper. But the Sun Devils fell behind by as many asfour points five minutes later after Smith fouled out.

'You can't make those kinds of fouls,' Evans said. 'That's lack ofconcentration. We've got to get him to where he's more focused.'

ASU went ahead by two points with 1:11 remaining on the strength ofHill's acrobatic lay-up. However, Team EzyBonds reclaimed the lead on theensuing possession when forward Jason Sedlock drained a three-pointer.

Diogu answered the bell with a powerful dunk on a touch pass from seniorforward Shawn Redhage. After Dodd made the second of two free throws, TeamEzyBonds had a chance to draw even on their final possession, but forwardDamien Anderson's off-balanced shot from beyond the arc failed to draw iron.

'There were a lot of things (Evans) didn't like about this game, andthere were some things he did like, but he said all the mistakes we made arecorrectable,' Diogu said. 'We just need to come in on Wednesday ready tolisten and ready to get better.'

Three other Sun Devils besides Diogu finished in double figures, asRedhage had 15 points, freshman point guard Jason Braxton tossed in 14 andHill added 13. Dodd also had eight rebounds, to go along with eight points.Center Jamie Holmes led Team EzyBonds with a team-high 19 points.

Notes: Diogu's 34 points would have been the second-best effort by a freshman Sun Devil, as Mario Bennett's 35 against Arizona in 1992 is the school record...ASU is 8-2 in exhibition games under Evans...Diogu had 22 points in the second half.

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

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