Men's Hoops Opens Pac-10 Play On Road...Again.

Dec. 31, 2002

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ASU OPENS PAC-10 PLAY: The Arizona State men's basketball team (8-3) opens Pac-10 play this week as it travels to Oregon to take on the Oregon State Beavers (7-2) on Thursday, Jan. 2, at 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MST and then plays the ninth-ranked Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Jan. 4, at 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MST. The Sun Devils are on a four-game winning streak and have not lost since a 78-55 defeat at Utah on Dec. 7. ASU is 10-6 vs. the Oregon schools under Rob Evans, including a 4-4 mark on the road.

The Pac-10 early schedule has not worked in Rob Evans' favor as this year will mark the fourth time in his five-year ASU career that the Sun Devils have opened on the road to start league play. The only home game in that time was in 2000-2001 against second-ranked Stanford.

Thursday's game at Oregon State is broadcast on Fox Sports Net, with Steve Physioc and Marques Johnson providing the commentary. Saturday's game at Oregon is not televised.

ASU is shooting 51.2 percent (109-of-213) from the field and is holding its opponents to just 40.5 percent (81-of-200) in its four-game win streak with an average victory of 17.3 points. ASU is shooting 73.7 percent from the foul line in that time (70-of-95) and is averaging just 12 turnovers per game.

WE LIKE IKE: Freshman Ike Diogu has been all that was advertised in his first 11 games, as he leads the team at 18.3 points and and 6.5 rebounds per game and is averaging 29.7 minutes. The Garland, Texas, native already has been to the line 89 times and is shooting .787 percent from the charity stripe (70-of-89). He posted 27 points against Lafayette on Nov. 30, which 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 8.1 free throw attempts per contest and is the only Sun Devil to reach double digits in scoring in all 11 contests. In his past five games, he is 36-of-38 (.947) from the free throw line. He also has made his past three three-point attempts. With his 21-point game against Nebraska on Dec. 28, he has four 20-point games. He also became the first freshman since Bennett in 1991 to earn ASU Holiday Tournament MVP honors.

SUN DEVIL DATA: Tommy Smith has posted 24 blocks on the year and has notched 18 assists in the past three games. He posted a career-high seven assists vs. Bucknell on Dec. 28 and earned ASU Classic All-Tournament Team...Jason Braxton leads the team in assists (34) and steals (19) 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...Donnell Knight is second on the team at 6.3 rebounds per game and has two double-doubles on the year...in the past two seasons, ASU is 21-3 (.875) when it leads at the half...Shawn Redhage had 14 points in 15 minutes against Purdue. He is 13-of-20 (.650) from the field in the past three games...Kyle Dodd is shooting 19-of-32 (.594) from the field...ASU has held six opponents to under 40 percent field goal shooting this year...ASU's 46 field goal attempts vs. Purdue was the fewest in the past 213 games, dating to the 1995-96 season...Ike Diogu has led the Sun Devils in scoring in the past seven games...after going 8-of-20 from the free throw line against Utah in Maui, Curtis Millage is back in the groove as he has made 12-of-16 (.750) since.

VS. OSU: ASU swept OSU in 1999-2000 for the first time since 1996, and then increased its win streak to five over the Beavers with another sweep in 2000-2001 before splitting games last year...in 1999-2000, then-freshman Tommy Smith posted six blocks in a 75-64 win in Tempe...ASU is 15-5 vs. OSU in the past 10 years and has won eight of the past nine in Tempe...in his first trip to Corvallis, Rob Evans and the Sun Devils lost by 30 (81-51) to the Beavers, matching the worst loss in Evans' five-year career at ASU, but bounced back to beat Oregon two days later...Evans is 6-2 against the Beavers, including a 2-2 mark in Corvallis...ASU matched a season-high with five blocks against OSU last year in Tempe...ASU's 22 field goals made and 12 free throw attempts at Oregon State last year were season-lows...ASU held Oregon State to just two offensive rebounds in each of the games last year...ASU was just 9-of-24 (.375) from the field in the first half at OSU last year...ASU had just seven turnovers vs. the Beavers in Tempe...OSU leads the series 33-25.

VS. UO: ASU has won three of the past four against the Ducks...ASU leads the series 30-23 and swept the Ducks for the first time since 1992-93 in 2000-2001, which was the second-longest drought among ASU Pac-10 foes (ASU has swept UCLA just once, in 1979-80)...last year, ASU gave Oregon one of its four defeats in Pac-10 play, a 95-88 win in Tempe...ASU is 4-4 in its past eight trips to Eugene, the Ducks are 5-3 against ASU in Tempe in that time...Donnell Knight is averaging 7.7 points per game against the Ducks in his six career games and is shooting 16-of-29 (.551) from the field...Tommy Smith is averaging 12.7 points and is 33-of-48 (.687) from the field against UO, including a 17-of-25 (.680) mark in Eugene...Rob Evans is 4-4 vs. the Ducks and Ernie Kent, including a 2-2 mark in Eugene...ASU made a season-high 10 three-pointers in Eugene last year and also had a season-high five blocks...ASU had a season-low 24 total rebounds and 15 defensive rebounds at Oregon last year...Kenny Crandall was 5-of-5 from the field last year vs. Oregon in Tempe, including three three-pointers, and scored 14 points...Jason Braxton had four steals at Oregon last year...Oregon's 103 points in Eugene last year was the most posted against any Rob Evans' team in regulation...Oregon made 35 free throws and posted 48 first-half points...in Tempe, ASU made 18-of-24 (.750) from the field in the second half and held Oregon to just 4-of-20 (.200) from the three-point stripe.

ANOTHER NEWCOMER: Lost in the Ike Diogu numbers is the solid start for junior college transfer Jamal Hill. Hill has just six turnovers through 11 games while averaging 23.9 minutes. He is fourth on the team with 8.5 points per game and is shooting 12-of-29 (.414) from the three-point stripe. After scoring just two points against Morehead St. in the opener, Hill averaged 13 points per game in the next five contests.

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.

EFFICIENT: ASU played one of the most efficient games in recent memory with its 70-53 win over Purdue on Dec. 21 in the Las Vegas Showdown. ASU was 25-of-46 (.543) from the field, outrebounded Purdue 35-26 and led by as many as 20. ASU's 46 field goal attempts is the fewest in the past 213 games, dating to when it also attempted just 46 in a win over SMU on Dec. 29, 1995. ASU held Purdue to just 17-of-43 (.395) from the field and allowed 26 rebounds and just four assists.

REDHAGE RALLYING: Senior Shawn Redhage has been solid off the bench. The Lincoln, Neb., native is 13-of-20 (.650) from the field in the past four games and is averaging 9.8 points and 16.3 minutes. He posted 14 points in 15 minutes vs. Purdue on Dec. 21, the most points he has had since scoring 16 vs. UCLA on Jan. 18, 2001, in his sophomore season. He has posted double digits in scoring in three games this year, matching last year's total.

ROB EVANS: Rob Evans (154-144/.517) 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 68-63 (.519) 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 110-76 (.593) in the past seven seasons.

PAC-10 FRESHMAN NOTE: Ike Diogu was one of only four freshman in the Pac-10 to start the season opener this year, joining Mike Jensen (Washington), Lamar Hurd (Oregon State) and Andre Igoudala (Arizona).

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: Shooting 19-of-32 (.594) from the field this year...posted nine points vs. Nebraska on Dec. 28...12 points vs. Chaminade on Nov. 26...in his 101-game career, he has 223 assists and just 91 turnovers, a 2.5-to-1 ratio...averaging just one turnover every 22.82 minutes in his career (2077 minutes and 91 turnovers)...had 10 points at Washington on Jan. 10, 2002...has seven dunks in four-year career.

#4 TOMMY SMITH: Earned ASU Holiday Classic All-Tournament honors...had 16 points, seven boards and six assists vs. Nebraska on Dec. 28...had a career-high seven assists vs. Bucknell on Dec. 28...averaging six assists in his past three games...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 four 20-point games on the year...has made 36-of-38 (.947) free throws in his past five games...averaging seven boards in his past eight games...21 points and seven boards vs. Nebraska on Dec. 28 which earned him ASU Classic MVP honors...18 points and nine boards vs. Purdue on Dec. 21...25 points and nine boards vs. Nevada on Dec. 10...15 points and eight boards vs. BYU on Dec. 4...27 points vs. Lafayette on Nov. 30...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...after going 8-of-20 from the free throw line against Utah on Nov. 27, he is back in the groove as he has hit 12-of-16 (.750)...13 points, four boards and five assists vs. Nebraska on Dec. 28...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...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 36-of-48 (.750) free throws in his past 35 games....eight points and seven boards vs. Nebraska on Dec. 28...15 points vs. Bucknell on Dec. 27...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...eight points in 17 minutes vs. Bucknell on Dec. 28...seven points vs. Purdue on Dec. 21...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 62 games in three-year career...has played in nine games this season...hit first-half three-pointer vs. Nebraska on Dec. 28...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 three double-figure scoring games this year after having three all of last year...posted 14 points in 15 minutes against Purdue on Dec. 21...14 points against Purdue was the most since Jan. 18, 2001, when he had 16 vs. UCLA in his sophomore season...12 points vs. Nevada on Dec. 10...13 points vs. Chaminade on Nov. 26...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 187-of-235 (.796) free throws in his four-year career...also has 64 blocks in his career, ninth-best in ASU history.

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