Arizona State Tops Beavers 83-79

Jan 24, 2004

By Brian Gomez, TheSunDevils.com

The Arizona State men's basketball team finally gave its fans something to cheer about Saturday night.

In danger of dropping six straight home games for the first time in building history, ASU broke a dry spell by beating Oregon State 83-79 for its first win at Wells Fargo Arena since Dec. 29.

But it wasn't easy.

The Sun Devils squandered a nine-point, second-half lead, before rallying down the stretch behind sophomore forward Ike Diogu, who scored 10 of his team's final 16 points in the closing six minutes.

Diogu led all Sun Devils with 24 points and 15 rebounds on a 4-for-6 effort from the field and a 16-for-22 outing from the free-throw line. Senior swingman Jamal Hill scored 17 points off the bench, junior point guard Jason Braxton and freshman forward Keith Wooden added 12 apiece and sophomore forward Allen Morill had nine, setting a new season high.

Braxton's 12 points put him in double figures for the fourth straight game. He's averaging 12.5 points and six assists on 59.4 percent shooting during that time.

'We kept battling back and fighting back, and we stepped up late and made some key plays,' said ASU head coach Rob Evans, whose team shot 48 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from three-point range and 71.4 percent from the free-throw line, and outrebounded its opponent for the first time in seven games.

Trailing 68-64 with 6:32 remaining, the Sun Devils (8-8, 2-5 Pac-10) pulled even less than two minutes later when Diogu made the second of two free throws after Hill's three-pointer.

Oregon State (8-9, 2-5) reclaimed a four-point lead with 4:13 to go on junior forward David Lucas' back-to-back buckets, but ASU slowly chipped away at the deficit with Diogu on the line. Diogu went 6-for-10 from the charity stripe down the stretch, giving the Sun Devils a 77-76 lead with 1:38 remaining.

Junior guard J.S. Nash tied the game with a free throw on Oregon State's next trip up the floor, however, ASU quickly answered, as Hill drained two free throws to give the Sun Devils a lead they would not relinquish.

'I knew my free throws coming down in the clutch would be big,' said Hill, whose 33 minutes were the most he had played since last year's Maui Invitational. 'When I got the ball, I knew they were going to foul, but I was ready to step up and hit those free throws and put this game away.'

The Beavers had their chances in the closing minute, although sophomore guard Lamar Hurd's three-pointer rimmed out, and Hurd later couldn't corral a ball that ASU redshirt freshman guard Kevin Kruger slammed off his chest following Braxton's errant in-bounds pass.

The Sun Devils scored their final 13 points from the line, and made seven straight free throws to close the game. Hill sank four in a row, junior guard Steve Moore added a pair and Diogu made one following a miss.

'We've got a lot of basketball left,' Diogu said. 'There's no reason to rejoice now. It's only our second win in Pac-10.'

For Oregon State, Lucas scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field. Sophomore guard Chris Stephens tossed in 11 points, and Nash had 10.

UP NEXT: ASU begins a four-game road swing at 8 p.m. MST Thursday at Washington State. There's no television, but the game can be heard on ESPN Radio 860 AM.

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

By MEL REISNER
AP Sports Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Ike Diogu had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and StevieMoore and Jamal Hill made crucial free throws near the end to lift ArizonaState to an 83-79 win over Oregon State on Saturday night.

Hill had 17 points in the victory, only the Sun Devils' second in eightgames. Keith Wooden and Jason Braxton had 12 apiece for Arizona State (8-8, 2-5Pac-10), which won its sixth straight against the Beavers in Tempe.

David Lucas had a career-high 27 points for Oregon State (8-9, 2-5). ChrisStephens scored 11 and J.S. Nash 10.

The Beavers made up a nine-point deficit in the second half to lead 74-70with 4:14 left.

Diogu, a preaseason All-American, scored in double figures for thenational-high 48th consecutive time, going 16-of-22 from the free-throw line tocome within one of the school's record for attempts.

Moore opened an 81-77 lead with his two free thows with 31.6 seconds left.After Nash drove for a dunk, Hill made two with 15.1 seconds to go.

Nash's left-handed bank shot gave the Beavers a 76-73 lead with 2:49 left,but the game turned on a foul by Lucas 24 seconds later, followed by atechnical on Kyle Jeffers.

Diogu made only two of the four free throws, but made both when he wasfouled by Jeffers with 1:38 to go, and the Sun Devils regained the lead at77-76.

The Sun Devils were leading 62-55 when Wooden missed the front end of aone-and-one with 9:15 to go.

Oregon State responded with a 13-2 run to take a 68-64 lead with 6:32 toplay. Lucas and Jeffers had a basket and two free throws each during the spurt,and Stephens tied the game for the first time at

Lucas had a personal 6-0 run in the first 1:44 of the second half, andOregon State closed within 43-40.

The Sun Devils surged again, taking a 56-47 lead with 14:08 left on AllenMorill's dunk after Jeffers fell and lost a defensive rebound.

The Sun Devils had two early 10-point leads, both after layups by Braxton.But the Beavers outscored Arizona State 17-11 in a 6:14 span capped by Nash's3-pointer that lifted the Beavers within 27-23 with 8:00 remaining in the firsthalf.

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