Men's Hoops Opens Pac-10 Play In Tucson On Sunday
Dec. 31, 2004
SUN DEVILS OPEN PAC-10 PLAY: The Arizona State men's basketball team,11-1 for the first time since 1974-75 and on a nine-game win streakfor the first time since 1980-81, opens Pacific-10 Conference actionat No. 14 Arizona on Sunday, Jan. 2, at 1:30 p.m. MST. Barry Tompkinsand Dan Belluomini call the action for Fox Sports Net, as ASU triesto win in Tucson for the first time since a double-overtime 103-98contest on March 11, 1995. ASU's experience (and depth) this year isa lot better, as last year at this time Rob Evans was trying to playup to eight newcomers (including six freshman) without a seniorstarter. ASU's eight newcomers combined to average 118.1 minutes pergame they played in last year, compared to four newcomers averaging49.2 minutes in games played this year with two senior starters.
IKE NUMBERS: ASU is led by junior Ike Diogu, who is averaging 22.8points (fifth in the nation as of Dec. 31) and 10.3 rebounds (12th inthe nation) and has posted a double-double six times in ASU's currentnine-game win streak, averaging 22.4 points and 11.2 rebounds in thattime. Diogu leads the nation in free throws made (116) and attempted(129) and is fourth in free throw percentage (.899), and his 116 madefree throws is more than anyone in the nation has attempted. He hasmade his past 20 free throws and his national-best consecutive gamesin double-figures scoring streak is up to 71 games (every game of hiscareer). He now has eight 30-point games (three this year), 3720-point games (eight this year), 21 double-doubles (six this year)and 12 other games with nine rebounds.
OLD SCHOOL THREES: Ike Diogu has been fouled when making a shot 74times in his career and has made 56-of-74 (.757) of the free throwsthat followed.
KRUGER, THEN AND NOW: Sophomore Kevin Kruger is 25-of-55 (.455) fromthe three-point stripe and has notched double digits in five games.He provided a spark in the final nine games last year, averaging 29.0minutes, 12.4 points and shot 27-of-59 (.448) from the three-pointstripe. He was the team's second-leading scorer in those nine games.After shooting 4-of-27 (.148) from the three-point stripe in thefirst 18 games of his career, he is 52-of-114 (.456) in his past 21contests. He posted a season-high 17 points vs. Valparaiso and had acareer-high 22 at Arizona last year.
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 70.5 percent this year, including 129-of-126(.725) in the past seven games. Ike Diogu leads the way as he is116-of-129 (.899) from the line, including 71-of-77 (.922) in thepast eight 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. ASUhas made 222 free throws while its opponents have attemped just 213.
GET TO 50 PERCENT: ASU is 22-0 in the past three seasons when itshoots 50 percent from the field. ASU has won its past 24 games whenshooting 50 percent, with its last loss on Jan. 31, 2002, a 90-81loss at Stanford. ASU is 48-4 (.923) under Rob Evans when it shoots50 percent.
NO EASY OPENERS: ASU has not had a lot of luck in Pac-10 openersrecently, and a lot of that has to do with the schedule. This yearmarks the fifth time Rob Evans will open up on the road in his sevenyears at ASU, and the two home games were against top-five opponents.ASU lost to second-ranked Stanford on Jan. 4, 2000, in Tempe, andlast year lost to fourth-ranked Arizona 93-74 on Jan. 3, 2003. ASUfaced the eventual Pac-10 champion three straight years in its Pac-10opener from 2000-2002, going against Stanford twice and Oregon once.Next year, ASU is scheduled to open on the road on Dec. 29 atWashington, a team many media types are picking to win the leaguetitle.
ASU Pac-10 Openers Under Rob EvansDate Score Site NoteJan. 2, 1999 USC 72, ASU 70 Los Angeles, Calif. USC ends ASU6-game win streakJan. 6, 2000 #1 Stanford 86, ASU 67 Palo Alto, Calif.Stanford wins Pac-10, goes 27-4Jan. 4, 2001 #2 Stanford 94, ASU 77 Tempe, Ariz. Stanford winsPac-10, goes 31-3Dec. 20, 2001 Oregon 103, ASU 90 Eugene, Ore. Oregon winsPac-10, goes 26-9Jan. 2, 2003 ASU 67, Oregon State 47 Corvallis, Ore. ASU finishes20-12 and in NCAAsJan. 3, 2004 #4 Arizona 94, ASU 73 Tempe, Ariz. Arizona goes 20-10Jan. 2, 2005 ASU at #14 Arizona Tucson, Ariz. ASU 11-1 forfirst time since 1974-75
BLOCK PARTY: ASU has posted 32 blocks in its past four games,including nine vs. Northwestern (Dec. 20) and Valparaiso (Dec. 29).The nine blocks are the most since ASU had 13 vs. Washington on Jan.9, 2003. Ike Diogu has 31 blocks to lead ASU (2.58 per game), whileSerge Angounou has nine blocks through 12 games after posting justtwo in 15 games last year. Diogu had a career-high seven blocksagainst Santa Clara, the most by a Sun Devil since Rodger Farringtontied the school record with eight vs. Houston Baptist on Dec. 10,1996.
SUN DEVIL THREE-DOT DATA: Jason Braxton is averaging six points, 5.6rebounds and five assists in the past six games. He tied acareer-high with eight boards against both UC Riverside and Cal StateNorthridge and has 50 assists and just 17 turnovers on the year. His137 steals and 319 assists are both ninth on the ASU careerchart...sophomore Serge Angounou is averaging 10.1 points and 7.2rebounds in ASU's nine-game win streak...Steve Moore has two 20-pointgames on the year and is shooting 78.6 percent (114-of-145) from thefree throw line in his 39-game career...sophomore newcomer BrysonKrueger, who played for assistant coach Brooks Thompson at YavapaiC.C. last year, is 18-of-28 (.643) from the floor and 10-of-16 (.625)from the three-point stripe in his past five games, but sprained hisankle in the Dec. 28 Long Island game and is out for the Arizonagame. He had a season-high 23 points against UC Riverside on Dec. 12.
ONE FINAL NOTE ABOUT ITS STREAK: ASU's current nine-game win streakis its best since 1980-81, and winning seven straight is somethingthe Sun Devils could not accomplish in the previous 23 seasons asthey posted four six-game win streaks (1990-91, 1992-93, 1994-95 and1998-99), but had not won seven straight prior to this year they won11 straight in 1980-81. Every other Pac-10 team had posted aseven-game win streak since the 1990-91 season. Stanford (2003-04, 26straight wins), Arizona (2003-04, 9), California (2002-03, 8), USC(2001-02, 9) and UCLA (2001-02, 9) all have posted at least sevenstraight wins once in the past three seasons, with Oregon (1998-99,7), Washington State (1993-94, 7), Oregon State (1992-93, 7) andWashington (1990-91, 7) all winning at least seven straight in the1990s. Washington could also be close to moving up the chart, as ithas won six straight entering its Dec. 31 Pac-10 opener vs.California.
DEVIL THREE-DOT TEAM DATA: The Sun Devils are 38-16 (.703) in thepast four seasons and are 71-37 (.657) under Evans in his seven yearsin Wells Fargo Arena....ASU has outrebounded 10 of 12 opponents onthe year and is 10-0 in those games. ASU was outrebounded last yearfor the first time in Rob Evans six years...ASU was 13-of-20 (.650)from the three-point stripe vs. Northwestern on Dec. 20, its mostthree-pointers since it hit 13 at Oregon on Jan. 27, 1996 (tied forfifth in school history). The 65 percent three-point shooting is aschool record (minimum 20 attempts), topping the 60 percent mark setat Stanford on Feb. 28, 1987 (12-of-20)...ASU is 11-1, something ithas done just twice, as both the 1974-75 and 1962-63 Sun Devils went15-1...ASU is 9-0 at home after going 7-8 at Wells Fargo Arena lastyear.
Rob Evans: Rob Evans (187-171/.522) 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 is101-90 (.529) 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 144-102 (.585) in the past nine seasons. Hereached his 100th win at ASU against Long Island on Dec. 28, becomingjust the third coach in ASU history to top the century mark, joiningNed Wulk (406-272 from 1957-82) and Bill Frieder (132-108 from1989-97).
KRUGER STARTING: Sophomore Kevin Kruger will probably be in thestarting lineup for the sixth time in his career on Sunday at Arizonawith the ankle injury to Bryson Krueger, which statistically iscertainly not a bad thing. In his five career starts, Kevin Kruger isaveraging 16.4 points in 34.2 minutes and is shooting 18-of-37 (.486)from the field. He posted career highs in points (22) andthree-pointers made (six) in his start last year at Arizona on March7.Kevin Kruger's FIVE CAREER STARTSOpp., Date FG-A 3P-A FT-A PTS ASST STL MinOregon St., 2/19/04 5-10/.500 4-8/.500 6-6/100.020 2 3 33:00Oregon, 2/21/04 5-10/.500 2-6/.333 5-7/.714 172 2 40:00Washington St, 2/26/04 2-7/.286 2-6/.333 0-0/.0006 4 3 32:00#22 Arizona, 3/7/04 7-13/.538 6-10/.600 2-2/100.022 6 2 34:00Valparaiso,12/29/04 4-8/.500 4-7/.571 5-6/.83317 3 2 32:00Totals/Avg. 23-48/.479 18-37/.486 18-21/.857 16.43.4 2.4 34.2
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)...is539-of-672 (.802) from the free throw line in his career...entered2004-2005 season as the nation's third-leading returning scorer andis the first Pac-10 scoring leader to be back on campus the followingseason since Reggie Miller won the honors in 1985-86 and returned in1986-87...also averaged a Pac-10 best 36.9 minutes per game andgrabbed 8.9 rebounds per game (second in the Pac-10) lastyear...Garland, Texas, native averaged 11.03 free throw attempts pergame last year and broke the 40 year-old Pac-10 season record forfree throws made with 243.
RECRUITS GET HIGH MARKS: ASU's recruiting class was ranked 14th (tiedwith Indiana) by Clark Francis of Hoop Scoop. ASU has added TyroneJackson (Fresno C.C.), Bryson Krueger (Yavapai C.C.), Tim Pierce(Hercules High School/Oakland) and Craig Austin (El Camino HighSchool/San Diego), while others ranked in the top 15 from the Pac-10included Oregon (eighth) and USC and UCLA (tied for ninth). Therankings were in the June issue of Basketball Times.
ACADEMICALLY: Despite erroneous published reports (since corrected)that said 'the state's three public universities have graduated onlytwo male basketball players in the past five years' and '...not asingle men's basketball player graduated from the three institutionslast year' ASU has had success in the classroom recently. Here's alook at scholarship players already earning degrees who have playedfor Rob Evans: Kenny Crandall (B.I.S., business and communications,2004), Justin Allen (B.S., justice studies, 2003), Tyson Johnston(B.A., sociology 2003), Chad Prewitt (B.I.S., business andcommunications, 2002), Awvee Storey (B.I.S., sociology, 2001), OkemeOziwo (B.S.W., social work, 1999) and Bobby Lazor (B.S., marketing,1998). In addition, senior Jason Braxton will earn his B.I.S. inbusiness and psychology in May of 2005, graduating in four years.
PLAYER QUICK NOTES/SEASON AND CAREER HIGHS
#1 Jason Braxton: Has played in all 100 games in career and startedin 82...12-of-17 (.706) from the field in the past four games...hastwo 10-point games on the year (Fairleigh Dickinson andNorthwestern)...seven points and eight boards vs. CS Northridge onDec. 4...4.8 assists per game last year was fourth in Pac-10...2.04steals per game and 2.06 assist-to-turnover ratio were second in theleague...averaged 28.7 minutes per game last year after averaging21.5 his first two seasons...will earn his B.I.S. degree in fouryears in business and psychology in May of 2005.
#5 Ike Diogu: An ESPN.com third-team All-American in 2003-2004...setPac-10 season record last year with 243 made free throws...a 2004Associated Press Preseason All-American, the first in Sun Devilhistory and 11th in Pac-10 history...a 2002-2003 and 2003-2004Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American...averaged 37.5minutes in the final 17 games last year...12-of-12 outing at the FTline at USC on Jan. 17, 2004, is the first time a Sun Devil wasperfect in at least 12 free throws in a game since Arthur Thomas was13-of-13 on Dec. 4, 1987, against San Diego State...2003 Pac-10Freshman of the Year and an All-Pac-10 selection in his first twoseasons...Pac-10 Tournament record 18 rebounds vs. Oregon on March13, 2003.
MORE DIOGU: Ike Diogu's national-best double figure scoring streak of71 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.
#12 Bryson Krueger: Sophomore played for current ASU assistant coachBrooks Thompson at Yavapai C.C. for one season before arriving atASU...18-of-28 (.643) from the floor and 10-of-16 (.625) from thethree-point stripe in his past five games...injured ankle on Dec. 28vs. Long Island and missed Dec. 29 win over Valparaiso...had aseason-high 23 points against UC Riverside on Dec. 12...posted 14points against Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 6...12 points vs. UTEP onNov. 26.
#13 Kevin Kruger: Is 25-of-55 (.455) from the three-point stripe andhas notched double digits in five games...after shooting 4-of-27(.148) from the three-point stripe in the first 18 games of hiscareer, he is 52-of-114 (.456) in his past 21 contests...60-of-79(.759) from the free throw line in career...averaged 29.0 minutes,12.4 points and shot 27-of-59 (.448) from three and was team'ssecond-leading scorer in final nine games last year...made 31three-pointers last year, seventh-best by an ASU freshman...had 22points, including 6-of-10 from three, at No. 22 Arizona on March 7,2004...17 points in career-high 40 minutes at Oregon on Feb. 21,2004...20 points in first start at Oregon State on Feb. 19, 2004.
#21 Steve Moore: Has two 20-point games this year (vs. Vanderbilt andCal State Northridge)...led ASU with 18 points vs. Northwestern onDec. 20...made 48 three-pointers last year, the most by a Sun Devilsince Eddie House hit 73 in 1999-2000...finished eighth in the Pac-10in free throw shooting (.814)...averaged 17 points on Los Angelesroad trip and was 15-of-18 (.833) from the free throw line...had 20second-half points at Nebraska on Dec. 3, 2003ï¿½posted three 20-pointgames last year.
#45 Serge Angounou: Working his way back into shape after missing allof 2002-2003 with a knee injury suffered on Nov. 13, 2002...averaging10.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in nine-game win streak...has six gamesin double digits in scoring and two double-doubles this year...had 11points and 11 boards vs. Valparaiso on Dec. 30...posted 14 points vs.Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 6...did not score in the first twocontests this year but posted 13 points vs. Vanderbilt on Nov. 27 and13 points and 14 boards in 34 minutes at Temple on Nov. 30...missedthe first 12 games last year.