Men's Hoops Hosts Holiday Tournament Dec. 28-29
Dec. 27, 2004
SUN DEVILS CONTINUE HOMESTAND: The Arizona State men's basketballteam, 9-1 for the first time since the 1990-91 team also started 9-1,hosts its annual holiday tournament Dec. 28-29 at Wells FargoArena/Ned Wulk Court. Penn State and Valparaiso meet at 4:30 p.m. onTuesday, Dec. 28, while ASU takes on Long Island at 7 p.m., with theconsolation game (4:30 p.m.) and championship (7 p.m.) taking placeWednesday (Dec. 29). ASU enters the game on a seven-game win streak,its best win streak since the 1980-81 team won 11 straight afteropening the year with seven straight wins. With two games before thePac-10 season opens Jan. 2 at Arizona (1:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Net),ASU has a chance to open the season 11-1, something it has done justtwice, as both the 1974-75 and 1962-63 Sun Devils opened the season15-1. ASU is 7-0 at home after going 7-8 at Wells Fargo Arena lastyear, and is one win away from matching last year's win total(10-17). Head Coach Rob Evans also is sitting on 99 wins at ASU andwould become just the third coach in ASU history to top the centurymark, joining Ned Wulk (406-272 from 1957-82) and Bill Frieder(132-108 from 1989-97). ASU beat Santa Clara and Northwestern afterfinal exams and before the holiday break.
ABOUT THE SEVEN-GAME WIN STREAK: ASU's current seven-game win streakis something the Sun Devils could not accomplish in the previous 23seasons as they posted four six-game win streaks (1990-91, 1992-93,1994-95 and 1998-99), but had not won seven straight since they wontheir first seven games in 1980-81 and then won 11 straight that sameyear. Every other Pac-10 team has posted a seven-game win streaksince the 1990-91 season. Stanford (2003-04, 26 straight wins),Arizona (2003-04, 9), California (2002-03, 8), USC (2001-02, 9) andUCLA (2001-02, 9) all have posted at least seven straight wins in thepast three seasons, with Oregon (1998-99, 7), Washington State(1993-94, 7), Oregon State (1992-93, 7) and Washington (1990-91, 7)all winning at least seven straight in the 1990s. Washington couldalso be close to moving up the chart, as it has won six straightentering its Dec. 31 Pac-10 opener vs. California.
IKE ON A ROLL: ASU is led by junior Ike Diogu, who is averaging 23.2points (fifth in the nation as of Dec. 27), 10.5 rebounds (tied fortenth in the nation) and has posted a double-double five times inASU's current seven-game win streak, averaging 23.0 points and 11.9rebounds in that time. Diogu is the only player in the nation rankedin the top-10 in both scoring and rebounding, and also leads thenation in free throws made (97) and attempted (110) and is fourth infree throw percentage (.882).
DEVIL DATA: Jason Braxton is averaging 6.2 rebounds and 5.2 assistsin the past five games. He tied a career-high with eight boardsagainst both UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge and has 41 assistsand just 15 turnovers on the year. His 133 career steals is tenth onthe ASU career chart...sophomore Serge Angounou is averaging 10.1points and 7.1 rebounds in ASU's seven-game win streak...Steve Moorehas two 20-point games on the year and is shooting 79.2 percent(114-of-134) from the free throw line in his 37-game career...the SunDevils are 36-16 (.692) in the past four seasons and are 69-37 (.651)under Evans in his seven years in Wells Fargo Arena....ASU hasoutrebounded eight of 10 opponents on the year and is 8-0 in thosegames...sophomore newcomer Bryson Krueger, who played for assistantcoach Brooks Thompson at Yavapai C.C. last year, is 17-of-26 (.654)from the floor and 9-of-15 (.600) from the three-point stripe in thepast four games. He had a season-high 23 points against UC Riversideon Dec. 12.
FREE THROWS: ASU shot 73.5 percent at the free throw line last year,the fifth-best mark in school history and second-best in the past 17seasons. It is shooting 71.1 percent this year, including 94-of-126(.746) in the past five games. Ike Diogu leads the way as he is97-of-110 (.882) from the line, including 52-of-58 (.897) in the pastsix games. ASU was third in the nation last year in free throwattempts at 27.56 per game, behind only Texas Southern (28.3) andNiagara (28.2). It is averaging 26.3 attempts per game this year.
ASU VS. NORTHWESTERN (DEC. 20): ASU had one of its most impressivewins in the past few seasons, as it topped Northwestern 90-55 on Dec.20 behind a 55-point second half. ASU placed five players in doublefigures for the first time this year and shot 18-of-26 (.692) in thesecond half, including 8-of-10 (.800) from the three-point stripe,and held the Wildcats to just 7-of-28 (.250) after halftime. ASU was13-of-20 (.650) from the three-point stripe, its most three-pointersmade since it hit 13 at Oregon on Jan. 27, 1996 (tied for fifth inschool history). The 65 percent three-point shooting is a schoolrecord (minimum 20 attempts), topping the 60 percent mark set atStanford on Feb. 28, 1987 (12-of-20). ASU committed just sixturnovers, the second-fewest in Rob Evans seven years at ASU. ASUalso had season highs in points (90), field goals made (31), shootingpercentage (31-of-52 for 59.6 percent) and blocks (nine). The blockswere the most since ASU had 13 vs. Washington on Jan. 9, 2003, a spanof the previous 54 games. ASU also had season lows in turnovers (six)and fouls (12) and held Northwestern to 1-of-10 (.100) from thethree-point stripe, three steals and 23 second-half points.
NEWCOMERS: ASU's experience (and depth) this year is a lot better, aslast year at this time Rob Evans was trying to play up to sevennewcomers. ASU's seven newcomers combined to average 118.1 minutesper games played last year, compared to four newcomers averaging 45.9minutes this year.
KRUGER, PART II: Sophomore Kevin Kruger is making a difference on theperimeter as well, as he is 19-of-45 (.422) from the three-pointstripe and has notched double digits in four games. He provided aspark in the final nine games last year, averaging 29.0 minutes, 12.4points and shot 27-of-59 (.448) from the three-point stripe. He wasthe team's second-leading scorer in those nine games. After shooting4-of-27 (.148) from the three-point stripe in the first 18 games ofhis career, he is 46-of-104 (.442) in his past 19 contests.
Rob Evans: Rob Evans (185-171/.520) is in his seventh season atArizona State (13th overall) after being hired on April 7, 1998. The1997 SEC Coach of the Year spent six seasons at Ole Miss, compilingan 86-81 (.515) record. He led the Rebels to a 42-16 record in hisfinal two seasons after going 44-65 (.403) in his first four, winningtwo SEC West titles, and led Ole Miss to back-to-back 20-win seasonsfor the first time since 1937-38. The 58-year old Evans is a 1968graduate of New Mexico State, where he captained two NCAA Tournamentteams and is a 1989 inductee of the Athletic Hall of Fame. He is99-90 (.524) at ASU and has led the Sun Devils to three postseasonappearances, including a 2003 NCAA appearance that was the school'sfirst since 1995. He is 142-102 (.582) in the past nine seasons.
MORE DIOGU NOTES: Ike Diogu averaged 22.8 points per game in2003-2004, which not only led the Pac-10 but was ninth in the nation.Only two Sun Devils have finished in the nation's top-10 in scoring,as Eddie House was fourth in 1999-2000 (23.0 points per game)...hasscored in double digits in all 69 career games, the best activestreak in the nation...in his career he now has eight 30-point games(three this year), 35 20-point games (six this year), 20double-doubles (five this year) and 12 other games with ninerebounds...is 520-of-653 (.796) from the free throw line in hiscareer...entered 2004-2005 season as the nation's third-leadingreturning scorer and is the first Pac-10 scoring leader to be back oncampus the following season since Reggie Miller won the honors in1985-86 and returned in 1986-87...also averaged a Pac-10 best 36.9minutes per game and grabbed 8.9 rebounds per game (second in thePac-10) last year...Garland, Texas, native averaged 11.03 free throwattempts per game last year and broke the 40 year-old Pac-10 seasonrecord for free throws made with 243.
MORE DIOGU: Ike Diogu's national-best double figure scoring streak of69 games still has a ways to go until it reaches NCAA-record levels.The NCAA record is 115 set by La Salle's Lionel Simmons from 1987-90.Diogu's lowest point total in his career was 10 against MoreheadState on Nov. 22, 2003, the first game of his career. Nate Robinsonof Washington is second in the Pac-10 with 15 consecutive games indouble digits.
HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT FACTS: The ASU Hoops Classic is in its 38th yearin 2004, as ASU has won 27 of the 37 events (11 of the past 15)including championship victories against Georgia, Texas, Northwestern(twice), Detroit, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Eastern Michigan, Penn Stateand Nebraska. ASU has advanced to the championship 29 of the past 30years and 34 of 37 overall (exceptions in 1966, 1969 and 2000). ASU'sall-time record is 61-13 (.824) and is 10-2 (.833) under Rob Evans.Ike Diogu earned Hoops Classic MVP honors in December of 2003 as ASUtopped Bucknell and Nebraska, while last year Steve Moore and Dioguearned All-Tournament honors as ASU topped San Diego 89-70 in thefirst round but fell to eventual MAC champion Western Michigan 81-76in the championship game.