Men's Hoops Meets Purdue In Vegas On Saturday At 7 p.m. PT

Dec. 16, 2002

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ASU FACES PURDUE, HOSTS HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT: The Arizona State men's basketball team (5-3) returns to the court after a 10-day break for final exams when it meets Purdue (4-2) in the Las Vegas Showdown on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MST on ESPN2. Bob Carpenter and Larry Conley will call the game for ESPN2 as the Sun Devils will make their third appearance on an ESPN station this year. ASU's Maui Invitational games against Kentucky (Nov. 25) and Utah (Nov. 27) were broadcast on ESPN. ASU is 0-4 on ESPN2, with its last appearance in the NIT last year, a 96-91 loss at UNLV on March 12, 2002. Stanford and UNLV will meet in the nightcap at the Thomas and Mack Center. Purdue plays Belmont on Dec. 18 before its game with the Sun Devils.

WE LIKE IKE: Freshman Ike Diogu has been impressive in his first eight games, as he leads the team with 18.3 points per game and is averaging 30.4 minutes and 6.3 rebounds. The Garland, Texas, native already has been to the line 69 times and is shooting .739 percent from the charity stripe (51-of-69). He increased his scoring in each of his first five games, as he posted 10 points vs. Morehead State, 13 points against No. 15 Kentucky, 19 points vs. Chaminade, 22 vs. Utah and 27 vs. Lafayette. The 27 points against Lafayette matches the fourth-best scoring mark by an ASU freshman and Diogu is the first Sun Devil freshman to post back-to-back 20-point games since Mario Bennett in 1991-92. It is the most points by an ASU freshman since Bennett set the freshman school mark with 35 against Arizona in 1992. Diogu became just the second ASU freshman to start in the the season opener in the past 10 years when he took the court on Nov. 22 against Morehead State. He is averaging 8.6 free throw attempts per contest and is the only Sun Devil to reach double digits in scoring in all eight contests. In his past two games, he is 17-18 (.944) from the free throw line and after starting the season 5-of-11 (.454), he is 46-of-58 (.793). He also has made his past three three-point attempts. With his 25-point game against Nevada on Dec. 10, he has three 20-point games.

ANOTHER NEWCOMER: Lost in the Ike Diogu numbers is the solid start for junior college transfer Jamal Hill. Hill has just four turnovers through eight games while averaging 26.1 minutes which is fifth on the team. He is fourth on the team with 9.3 points per game and is shooting 9-of-17 (.529) from the three-point stripe and 28-of-58 (.483) from the field. After scoring just two points against Morehead State in the opener, Hill averaged 13 points per game in the next five contests.

DEVIL DATA: Jason Braxton leads the team in assists (26) and steals (15) and is averaging 8.6 points in the 11 games against ranked opponents in his two-year career. Braxton matched a career-high with seven assists vs. Nevada on Dec. 10 off the bench...Tommy Smith leads the team with 19 blocks and is second on the team with 6.3 rebounds per game...Donnell Knight leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per game and has two double-doubles on the year...in the past two seasons, ASU is 18-3 (.857) when it leads at the half, 0-13 when it trails and 1-2 when tied...Justin Allen played 13 minutes against Utah and made two three-pointers...Kyle Dodd has 218 assists and just 88 turnovers in his 98-game career, a 2.48-to-1 ratio.

PURDUE SERIES: ASU is 1-3 against Purdue, as the last meeting was on Dec. 28, 1979, as Purdue won 92-87 in overtime in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. ASU is 13-12 against the Big Ten, with its last meeting a 77-60 win over Northwestern in the ASU Holiday Classic last December. Rob Evans also topped Penn State 93-85 on Dec. 29, 1999, while at ASU.

ROTATION UPDATE: Two injuries have affected the ASU rotation, as highly touted 6-8 freshman Serge Angounou will miss all of the season after injuring his kneecap in the first exhibition. Angounou had surgery on Nov. 15 and will be out for three months and will apply for a medical redshirt. Also, reserve swingman Kenny Crandall is still recovering from a broken fibula suffered in April and is limited. Senior Curtis Millage, the team's leading returning scorer from last year, missed both exhibition games and the first three games due to an eligibility issue.

VS. NEVADA: ASU jumped out to a 27-12 lead early and topped Nevada 76-63 on Dec. 10 behind Ike Diogu's 25 points and nine boards. ASU was 24-of-30 (.800) from the free throw line and got 32 points from the bench, led by Shawn Redhage and Donnell Knight, who posted 12 points each. Knight also posted 10 boards.

VS. UTAH: Utah shot 55.6 percent from the floor (30-of-54) and outrebounded ASU 31-29 in cruising to a 78-55 win at Salt Lake City on Dec. 7. ASU shot just 8-of-25 (.320) in the second half and fell behind 40-30 at intermission. Ike Diogu led ASU with 15 points while Tommy Smith and Curtis Millage added 11 each. Utah scored 24 points off 17 ASU turnovers and outscored ASU 40-20 in the paint.

VS. BYU: BYU (5-0) jumped out to a 35-25 halftime lead and held off a late ASU rally to win 64-60 on Dec. 4. Ike Diogu led ASU with 15 points and eight boards, while Tommy Smith added 13 points and eight rebounds. BYU outrebounded ASU 37-32 and the Sun Devils were just 5-of-15 (.333) from the free throw line, including just 2-of-7 (.286) in the second half. Jamal Hill gave ASU a spark off the bench with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. BYU shot 51.1 percent (23-of-45) and set the tone with 14-of-21 (.667) shooting in the first half.

PAC-10 POLL: ASU was picked fourth by the Pac-10 Media, announced Nov. 6. It marks the highest preseason prediction for ASU since 1994-95 when it was picked fourth. Arizona was a unanimous choice for the top spot among the 27 media types. The poll: 1. UA; 2. UO; 3. UCLA; 4. ASU; 5. Cal; 6. USC; 7. Stanford; 8. OSU; 9. UW; 10. WSU.

THE REVIEW: ASU (14-15; 7-11 in Pac-10) went 4-9 against NCAA Tournament teams last season, including three from the Pac-10. ASU beat Pac-10 Champion Oregon 95-88, No. 10 Arizona 88-72, and won at No. 20 UCLA. It marked the first time ASU topped Arizona and UCLA in the same season since 1985-86. The Sun Devils were 13-9 in mid-February but three key injuries and a streak of games to finish the year against a school-record six straight ranked teams put ASU at 14-14 before it lost at UNLV 96-91 in the NIT. ASU finished the regular season by playing 11 of its final 13 games against NCAA squads.

ROB EVANS: Rob Evans (150-145/.508) is in his fifth season at Arizona State in 2002-2003 (11th 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 after going 44-65 (.403) in his first four 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 56-year old Evans is a 1968 graduate of New Mexico State, where he captained two NCAA Tournament teams, is a 1989 inductee of the Athletic Hall of Fame and was named to the school's All-Time team. He is 65-63 (.508) at ASU. Evans' Ole Miss squads were known as 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 107-79 (.575) in the past seven seasons.

ASU HOSTS HOLIDAY TOURNEY: Arizona State plays host to the azcentral.com Hoops Classic, on Friday (Dec. 27) and Saturday (Dec. 28). Nebraska (4-3) takes on UC-Santa Barbara (3-4) in the opening round at 5 p.m., while ASU takes on Bucknell (4-3) in the second game at 7:30 p.m. The azcentral.com Hoops Classic is in its 36th year in 2002 and is a joint effort of the Fiesta Bowl, azcentral.com (the online edition of the Arizona Republic) and Arizona State University. ASU has won 26 of the 35 events (including 10 of the past 13) including championship victories against Georgia, Texas, Northwestern (twice), Detroit Mercy, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Eastern Michigan and Penn State. ASU has advanced to the championship 27 of the past 28 years, and 32 of 35 overall (the only exceptions in 1966, 1969 and 2000). ASU's all-time record in the Tournament is 58-12 (.829).

ALREADY MAKING HIS MARK: Ike Diogu's 27-point performance against Lafayette on Nov. 30 tied for the fourth-best freshman scoring mark in ASU history. It marked the best scoring mark by a freshman since Mario Bennett set the mark with 35 against fifth-ranked Arizona on Feb. 20, 1992. A look at the top freshman scoring games in the ASU record books:

ASU FRESHMAN SINGLE-GAME POINTSRk.	Pts.	Player1.	35	Mario Bennett vs. #5 Arizona, Feb. 20, 19922.	31	Byron Scott vs. #18 Arizona, Feb. 23, 19803.	29	Jamal Faulkner vs. #2 Arkansas (NCAA), March 17, 19914.	27	Ike Diogu vs. Lafayette, Nov. 30, 2002	27	Jamal Faulkner at Oregon, Feb. 28, 1991	27	Byron Scott vs. Arizona, Dec. 27, 19797.	25	Ike Diogu vs. Nevada, Dec. 10, 2002

PLAYER QUICK NOTES

#1 JASON BRAXTON: Had 11 points vs. Utah on Nov. 27...matched a career-high with seven assists vs. Chaminade (Nov. 26) and vs. Nevada (Dec. 10)...started the final 20 games at point guard last year...averaged 26.3 minutes and 8.8 points in the final 14 games last year...averaging 8.6 points in the 11 games against ranked opponents...had career-high 17 points, including 5-of-6 from the free throw line, in 34 minutes in season finale at UNLV on March 12.

#3 KYLE DODD: Had 12 points vs. Chaminade on Nov. 26...in his 98-game career, he has 218 assists and just 88 turnovers, a 2.48-to-1 ratio...averaging just one turnover every 23.01 minutes in his career (2025 minutes and 88 turnovers)...had 10 points at Washington on Jan. 1, 2002...has six dunks in four-year career.

#4 TOMMY SMITH: Has five career doubles-doubles...posted 13 points and eight boards vs. BYU on Dec. 4...had eight points, 11 boards and six blocks vs. Utah on Nov. 27...posted 12 points, seven boards and five blocks vs. Chaminade on Nov. 26.

#5 IKE DIOGU: Has scored in double digits in every game...has three 20-point games on the year...has made 17-of-18 (.944) free throws in his past two games...averaging seven boards in his past five games...played 37 minutes vs. Utah on Nov. 27 and had 22 points, eight boards and zero turnovers.

#12 KENNY CRANDALL: Has made 7-of-8 (.875) free throws on the year...five assists vs. Morehead State on Novs. 22 in season opener...broke his right fibula on April 17 in a dirt-bike accident and is still recovering...missed six games in early February last season with a sprained ligament in right foot...in Pac-10 games he shot 21-of-46 (.457) from the three-point stripe last year...35-of-83 (.422) from the three-point stripe last season.

#14 CURTIS MILLAGE: Has four 20-point games in his career, all of them away from Tempe...posted 26 points in his season debut vs. Utah on Nov. 27...averaged 14.4 points in final 17 games last year...45-of-57 (.789) from the free throw line in final 16 games last year...made 27-of-33 (.818) free throws in the final eight games...posted three 20-point games last year, all of them on the road...15 points and career-high six assists vs. No. 17 Stanford on March 2, 2002...career-highs with 27 points and four three-pointers at No. 14 Arizona on Feb. 20, 2002...24 points at Washington State on Jan. 12, 2002.

#21 DONNELL KNIGHT: Has four career double-doubles...has made 31-of-40 (.775) free throws in his past 32 games....12 points and 10 boards off the bench vs. Nevada on Dec. 10 and made all five field goal attempts...posted 15 points and 12 boards vs. Morehead State in season opener on Nov. 22.

#22 JAMAL HILL: Junior college transfer who has been both a starter and first player off the bench...has made 7-of-10 (.700) in past six games from three-point stripe...12 points vs. BYU on Dec. 4 on 5-of-7 shooting...has been in double figures in four games...17 points vs. Chaminade on Nov. 26...16 points vs. No. 15 Kentucky on Nov. 25 in season-high 37 minutes...averaged 35 minutes per game in Maui Invitational with Curtis Millage sitting the first two games.

#24 JUSTIN ALLEN: Redshirted 2000-2001 season with Hodgkin's Disease and is getting back into basketball shape...has played in 59 games in three-year career...has played in six games this season...hit two three-pointers at Utah on Dec. 7, 2002.

#42 SHAWN REDHAGE: Excellent student-athlete who has a 3.56 GPA in construction science...2001 and 2002 Pac-10 All-Academic selection...has two double-figure scoring games this year...averaged 16.3 minutes and 5.9 points in the final 15 games last year and shot 52.8 percent (38-of-72) from the field in that time...has made 182-of-229 (.795) free throws in his four-year career.

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