Men's Hoops Hosts Oregon State At 4 p.m. MST

March 7, 2003

Arizona State men's hoops (18-10; 10-7) closes its regular season against the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday, March 8, at 4 p.m. MST (Fox Sports Net). Arizona State is 5-3 in the second half of Pac-10 play and with a win would clinch at least a tie for fourth in the league. ASU will meet the Oregon Ducks in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center at 3:50 p.m. PT/4:50 p.m. MST on Thursday, March 13. ASU is trying to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995, the second time in the past 12 seasons and for the third time in the past 22 seasons.

VS. OREGON: In one of the best games played at Wells Fargo Arena in recent memory ASU trailed 45-41 at the half but shot 17-of-31 (.548) after recess, held the Ducks to just 10-of-32 (.313) and topped Oregon 91-77. Curtis Millage matched his career-high with 27 points, including 9-of-10 from the free throw line, while Tommy Smith also matched his career-high with 24 points and added 11 boards, four blocks and five assists. Ike Diogu matched his career high with 14 rebounds, tied for the second-most by a freshman in ASU history, and added 17 points. ASU outrebounded the Ducks 40-34 and held Oregon to just 6-of-21 (.286) from the three-point stripe. Luke Ridnour led UO with 26, 20 in the first half. ASU notched 50 points in the second half, matching a season-high for second half points.

MILLAGE HEATING UP: Curtis Millage has made 46-of-53 (.868) from the free throw line in the past 12 games and is averaging 17.4 points per game in Pac-10 play, which is fifth in the league. Millage has 12 20-point games in his career, including 27 vs. Oregon on Thursday which matched his career high. He also has made 33-of-36 (.917) free throws in the past six games and is averaging 21.8 points in that span.

DIOGU: ASU freshman Ike Diogu, Cal senior Joe Shipp and Oregon junior Luke Ridnour are the only Pac-10 players who have posted double digits in every game this year. Diogu is averaging 20.1 points and 9.4 rebounds in the past 10 games and has 10 20-point games. Senior Philip Ricci of Oregon State and Diogu are the only players in the Pac-10 ranked in the top five in scoring and rebounding as Diogu is third in scoring (18.8 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (7.6 rpg).

Diogu will set the ASU record for freshman starts at tip-off, as he has started all 28 games. Shawn Redhage (1999-2000) and Jamal Faulkner (1990-91) each started 28 games in their freshman seasons. The Garland, Texas, native has already been to the line a Pac-10-leading 229 times and is shooting .742 percent from the charity stripe (170-of-229). He also is shooting 59.9 percent from the field (175-of-292) and is at 62.4 percent (111-of-178) in Pac-10 games. Diogu already has set the ASU freshman record for points in a season with 527. He is just 11 rebounds shy of matching the ASU freshman rebound record of 224 set by Mario Bennett in 1991-92.

Diogu could become the first freshman since Cal's Shareef Abdur-Rahim in 1995-96 to finish in the league's top 10 in scoring and rebounding (Abdur-Rahim was the league's Player of the Year). He could become just the ninth freshman to earn all-league honors since Arizona and Arizona State joined the loop in 1978-79 (25 seasons ago). No freshman has earned All-Pac-10 since Jason Gardner (Arizona), Casey Jacobsen (Stanford) and Jason Kapono (UCLA) in 1999-2000 (the only freshmen to earn all-league in the past six seasons).

THE ROAD WAS GOOD: ASU opened Pac-10 play with five of its first seven and seven of its first 11 on the road and has played 14 games away from Tempe this year and is 7-7 in those games, including neutral site wins over Mountain West leading Utah (Maui Invitational) and Purdue (Las Vegas Showdown). After one game in the Pac-10 Tournament in March, ASU will have played 15 home games and 15 games away from Tempe.

UPDATED RPI CHATTER: ASU has an updated RPI of No. 32, according to collegeRPI.com (Mar. 7). Others in the Pac-10 include Arizona (1), Stanford (17), California (29), Oregon (51), Washington (137), USC (138), Oregon State (148), UCLA (157) and Washington State (216).

IN THE PAC-10: ASU ranks first in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.484), fewest turnovers per game (13.8) and blocks per game (4.54), and is third in scoring (76.7), scoring margin (+7.8) and rebounding margin (+4.2). Tommy Smith has posted a Pac-10 leading 63 blocks on the year.

DODD PLAYING WELL: Point guard Kyle Dodd has 43 assists and just six turnovers in the past nine games. He posted a season-high 14 points vs. UCLA on Feb. 16. Dodd leads the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 4.68 and has 68 assists and just 11 turnovers in the 17 league games.

PATIENCE: When Rob Evans arrived at ASU in the spring of 1998, many talked about his final two years at Ole Miss when he went 42-16 (.724) and won two SEC West titles. Before those seasons, Evans took a program many called 'below ground' and had a 44-65 (.403) mark in his first four seasons. At ASU, Evans was 60-60 in his first four years before the 18-10 (.643) record this year. Overall, Evans is 104-125 (.454) in his first four years of building a program and is 60-26 (.698) after the rebuilding process.

AT THE LINE: Ike Diogu's 229 free throw attempts (8.18 per game) is on pace to break the ASU single-season mark of 234 (7.09 pg) set by Mario Bennett in 1994-95. If he keeps this pace, he would crack the Pac-10 single-season list and would register the most free throws since Harold Miner attempted 286 in 1991-92, which is third on the Pac-10 single-season list. He has made more free throws this year than any other Pac-10 player has attempted. With four more free throws made and six more attempts he will set the school record in both categories.

REDHAGE CONTINUES SOLID PLAY: Shawn Redhage posted one of the best performances off the bench in all of college basketball this season on Feb. 8 at Washington in ASU's 79-77 overtime win. Redhage had a career-high 29 points (8-of-11) from the floor, and also had career highs in free throws made (11) and attempted (18). The construction science major with a 3.61 grade point average and two-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection posted season highs in rebounds (eight, but since topped with 12 vs. USC), assists (five) and minutes (34). On Feb. 13 against USC, Redhage had 16 points (including 8-of-9 from the free throw line) and matched his career-high with 12 rebounds for the second double-double of his career. Redhage now has 10 double-figure scoring games this year after having three all of last year. Redhage matched the ASU freshman record with 28 starts in 1999-2000 and has posted double digits in seven of the past 11 games. His 29 points is the most by a Sun Devil off the bench since at least the 1979-80 season. He is 57-of-112 (.509) from the field in the past 20 games and started at Cal on March 1 and had 16 points.

AT OSU (JAN. 2): ASU held OSU to just 17-of-51 (.333) from the field, including 7-of-30 (.233) in the second half, and topped the Beavers 67-47 on Jan. 2. ASU allowed just 18 second-half points and outrebounded the Beavers 42-27. Curtis Millage had 16 points to lead the Sun Devils while Ike Diogu posted his first double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. ASU had just 11 turnovers and its bench outscored the Beaver subs 16-6. Tommy Smith added eight points, eight boards and three blocks. The 47 points is the fewest allowed in a road game since a 58-47 win at Stanford on Jan. 27, 1991. It also matched the fifth-lowest opponent point total in ASU's 25 years of Pac-10 play. The win was the Sun Devils first Pac-10 road opening win since 1991-92, which snapped a 10-game Pac-10 road opening skid. ASU had a season-low 15 fouls and posted defensive bests in opponents points (47), field goals (17) and second-half points (18).

ROB EVANS: Rob Evans (164-151/.521) is in his fifth season at Arizona State (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, 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 78-70 (.527) 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. 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 120-83 (.591) in the past seven seasons.

OTHER PLAYER QUICK NOTES

#1 JASON BRAXTON: Has 14 assists and just six turnovers in the past six games...matched a career-high with seven assists and zero turnovers vs. USC on Feb. 13...nine points and five boards at UCLA on Jan. 16...did not turn the ball over in 47 minutes on Oregon road trip...11 points vs. Utah on Nov. 27.

#4 TOMMY SMITH: Matched his career high with 24 points and added 11 boards and five assists vs. Oregon on March 6...18 points and eight boards vs. top-ranked Arizona on Feb. 22...16 points and eight boards vs. UCLA on Feb. 15...17 points (7-of-10 shooting) in Feb. 6 win at Washington State...14 points, seven boards and zero turnovers vs. WSU on Jan. 11...career-high 16 boards, 13 points, six bocks and five assists vs. Washington on Jan. 9...seven career doubles-doubles...13 points and eight boards vs. BYU on Dec. 4...eight points, 11 boards and six blocks vs. Utah on Nov. 27.

#12 KENNY CRANDALL: Averaging 9.9 minutes in his past nine games...played 20 minutes at top-ranked Arizona on Jan. 22 and made 4-of-7 three-pointers and had season-high 12 points...16-of-18 (.889) free throws on the year...broke right fibula on April 17 in a dirt-bike accident and is still recovering...has played double-digit minutes 10 times this year.

#21 DONNELL KNIGHT: Four career double-doubles...10 points in 26 minutes vs. No. 20 California on Jan. 30...13 points at USC on Jan. 18...13 points and eight boards vs. Washington State on Jan. 11...eight points and seven boards vs. Nebraska on Dec. 28...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 (four games) and first player off the bench...solid game vs. top-ranked Arizona with 12 points, including three three-pointers...12 points vs. USC on Feb. 13...averaged 12.5 points on the Washington road trip and played 31 minutes without a turnover in the overtime win at Washington...20-of-27 (.741) from the free throw line on the year...posted 14 points against both Washington (Jan. 9) and Washington State (Jan. 11)...seven points at Oregon on Jan. 4...eight points in 20 minutes in Pac-10 opener at Oregon State on Jan. 2...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 10 games and in four of the past eight 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.

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