Arizona St. Knocks Off Nevada, 76- 63

By Brian Gomez, TheSunDevils.com

The ASU men's basketball team realized Tuesday night how easy things arewhen everything is clicking from the free-throw line.

In dire need of a win before a 10-day break for final exams, Sun Devilhead coach Rob Evans went with a new starting lineup that included juniorswingman Jamal Hill playing in place of senior forward Donnell Knight andsenior guard Kyle Dodd starting for sophomore guard Jason Braxton at thepoint. ASU freshman forward Ike Diogu was also not at full strength less than24 hours after being injected with a series of intravenous fluids to combat astomach virus that caused him to have a bad case of dehydration and a highfever.

But it didn't necessarily matter who was on the floor, as the Sun Devilsshot 80 percent from the charity stripe in a 76-63 victory over Nevada before6,983 fans at Wells Fargo Arena.

'I've received a lot of letters from people telling me we need to shootthem underhanded,' said Evans, whose team made 24 of 30 attempts at thefree-throw line to improve to 62.4 percent on the season. 'We haven't doneanything differently. We've just been shooting them like we've always shotthem and we've put a lot of emphasis on them like we always have.'

Diogu, who was 7-for-16 from inside the arc and 10-for-11 from thefree-throw line, looked sluggish early. But he eventually found his touch andfell into a zone as the game progressed.

Diogu scored six of team's last nine points in the second half to helpASU (5-3) grab a 36-28 halftime lead. He then heated up even more after thebreak to lead the Sun Devils to a much-needed win that snapped a two-gamelosing streak.

'I definitely had to push myself through it,' said Diogu, who finishedwith a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds. 'My teammates needed me and Ineeded my teammates, too. They helped me and I helped them.'

Although Hill and Dodd both got the nod in the starting lineup, Knightand Braxton were the ones who made more contributions. Hill tallied just fivepoints in 13 minutes, while Dodd was held scoreless in 12 minutes.

Braxton continued to struggle from the field, making 2 of 6 shots in 26minutes. However, his game-high seven assists, which matched a career-high, were more than enough for a team that turned the ball over only 10 times.

'We're trying to get these guys to understand that everybody is a roleplayer on this team,' Evans said. 'Some guys' role is to shoot it, some guys'role is to rebound and some guys' role is to play defense. We're trying tomake sure they understand what their roles are so that they don't get out ofcharacter.'

Knight may have had the most impressive performance when not starting forthe first time this year. He made all five of his attempts from the field for12 points and also hauled down a game-high 10 rebounds for his seconddouble-double of the season.

'That's a challenge in itself if the coach takes your starting job,'Knight said. 'That speaks for itself. You don't need to say much to me.That's enough words right there.'

Knight scored six points early when ASU went into a half-court zone thatprovided the backbone for a 14-0 run over a three-minute stretch. He tossedin four more points after the break as the Sun Devils upped their advantageto as many as 15 points and pulled away down the stretch.

'I'll take (the wins) as they come,' Knight said.

The Wolf Pack (2-4) were led by sophomore guard Kirk Snyder, who marked adouble-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds on 4-for-6 shooting fromthree-point range. Senior guard Terrance Green, the nephew of former PhoenixSuns forward A.C. Green, scored 15 points, while junior guard GaryHill-Thomas finished with 11.

'They came out and played with a passion and played harder than us,'Nevada head coach Trent Johnson said. 'We are nowhere near tough enough toplay a team like this and beat them on the road. I was disappointed with oureffort and our toughness.'

GAME NOTES: After the game, Evans credited team trainer Koicho Sato forgetting Diogu ready to play ... The Sun Devils, who are 18-3 in the past twoseasons when leading at halftime, won for just the fifth time in the past 33games when not shooting 50 percent from the field ... ASU forced 18 turnoversand outscored Nevada 20-4 in the paint ... Sun Devil senior forward ShawnRedhage was 3-for-7 from inside the arc, but made 6-of-7 shots from thefree-throw line for 12 points ... ASU senior guard Curtis Millage finished withseven points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

UP NEXT: The Sun Devils are scheduled to return to action at 6:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. MSTDec. 21 when playing Purdue in the Las Vegas Showdown. The game can be seenon ESPN2 and also will be aired on ESPN Radio 860 AM.

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

Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICSNevada vs Arizona State12-10-02 7:00 p.m. at Tempe, AZ (Wells Fargo Arena)--------------------------------------------------------------------------------VISITORS: Nevada 2-4                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN01 Snyder, Kirk........ f  7-13   4-6    3-7    2  8 10   4  21  6  8  0  1  3621 Pinkney, Kevinn..... f  2-8    0-1    0-0    2  2  4   2   4  1  1  1  1  3645 Ochs, Matt.......... c  1-3    0-0    0-0    3  1  4   3   2  1  0  1  0  1404 Green, Terrance..... g  6-14   2-7    1-4    1  2  3   1  15  4  1  0  0  2723 Hill-Thomas, Gary... g  3-7    0-0    5-8    2  3  5   3  11  0  1  0  1  2603 Okeson, Todd........    1-5    1-4    1-2    0  1  1   2   4  1  1  0  1  2011 Browne, Dean........    0-2    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   4   0  0  2  0  0   713 Petty, Jerry........    1-3    0-1    0-0    1  1  2   3   2  1  3  1  1  1842 Paul, Sean..........    2-3    0-0    0-0    0  3  3   4   4  0  1  2  0  1455 Eversteyn, Jason....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2   TEAM................                         4  2  6   Totals..............   23-58   7-19  10-21  15 24 39  26  63 14 18  5  5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-27 40.7% 2nd Half: 12-31 38.7% Game: 39.7% DEADB3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-10 30.0% 2nd Half: 4-9 44.4% Game: 36.8% REBSF Throw % 1st Half: 3-7 42.9% 2nd Half: 7-14 50.0% Game: 47.6% 3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------HOME TEAM: Arizona State 5-3 TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN04 Smith, Tommy........ f 3-5 0-1 1-2 2 3 5 4 7 0 2 0 1 2022 Hill, Jamal......... f 2-4 0-0 1-2 1 3 4 1 5 1 0 0 0 1305 Diogu, Ike.......... c 7-16 1-1 10-11 4 5 9 2 25 0 2 3 0 3603 Dodd, Kyle.......... g 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 3 1 0 0 1214 Millage, Curtis..... g 2-11 0-1 3-4 0 3 3 2 7 1 2 0 2 2801 Braxton, Jason...... 2-6 0-0 1-2 0 2 2 3 5 7 2 0 3 2612 Crandall, Kenny..... 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 921 Knight, Donnell..... 5-5 0-0 2-2 2 8 10 4 12 3 1 0 0 3233 Osborne, Chris...... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 442 Redhage, Shawn...... 3-7 0-0 6-7 0 1 1 2 12 1 0 1 1 20 TEAM................ 2 1 3 Totals.............. 25-57 2-5 24-30 11 28 39 19 76 16 10 4 8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-28 39.3% 2nd Half: 14-29 48.3% Game: 43.9% DEADB3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-1 100 % 2nd Half: 1-4 25.0% Game: 40.0% REBSF Throw % 1st Half: 13-16 81.3% 2nd Half: 11-14 78.6% Game: 80.0% 3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Officials: Andy Rios, Billy Gianquinto, Brian HarrisonTechnical fouls: Nevada-None. Arizona State-None.Attendance: 6983Score by Periods 1st 2nd TotalNevada........................ 28 35 - 63Arizona State................. 36 40 - 76Points in the paint-NEVADA 10,ASU 28. Points off turnovers-NEVADA 7,ASU 15.2nd chance points-NEVADA 16,ASU 13.Bench points-NEVADA 10,ASU 32. Score tied-2 times. Lead changed-2 times.Last FG-NEVADA 2nd-01:37, ASU 2nd-01:43.

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