Men's Hoops (13-2) Hosts UCLA And USC This Weekend
Jan. 11, 2005
ASU RETURNS WITH TWO ROAD WINS: The Arizona State men's basketball team (13-2; 2-1 in the Pac-10 Conference), winners of 11 of its past 12, returns to Wells Fargo Arena/Ned Wulk Court to take on the UCLA Bruins on Thursday, Jan. 13 (6:30 p.m. MST/Fox Sports Net) and the USC Trojans on Saturday, Jan. 15 (6 p.m. MST/Fox Sports Arizona). The Sun Devils returned from their Bay Area trip with two wins for the first time since 1984-85 (and for just the fourth time in 27 seasons) and after opening the Pac-10 season with three straight road games now have six of the next eight at home. ASU is 13-2 for the first time since 1980-81 and is 9-0 at home for the first time since 1997-98. The Sun Devils ended Stanford's 18-game home winning streak on Jan. 6 and then topped Californa 79-70 on Jan. 8 despite being down 50-44 midway through the second half. ASU committed just 23 turnovers on the road trip, fed Ike Diogu for a season-high 16 field goal attempts in both games and have found a third double-digit scorer in its three Pac-10 games in sixth-man Kevin Kruger (10.7 ppg.). The obvious reason for ASU's success is the play of Ike Diogu, but ASU's experience and depth this year are also a lot better. Last year at this time Rob Evans was trying to play up to eight newcomers (including six freshman) without a senior starter. ASU's eight newcomers combined to average 118.1 minutes per game they played in last year, compared to four newcomers averaging 47.3 minutes in games played this year with two senior starters and two-time All-Pac-10 honoree Ike Diogu. ASU also has made 268 free throws while its opponents have attempted 264.
OLD SCHOOL THREES: Ike Diogu has been fouled when making a shot 77 times in his career and has made 59-of-77 (.766) of the free throws that followed.
JUST HOW GOOD IS HE?: Ike Diogu's play this year has been among the best in the nation. He is averaging 23.3 points (fifth in the nation as of Jan. 10) and 10.4 rebounds (12th) and is one of only three players to average at least 20 points and 10 boards, joining Andrew Bogut of Utah (20.2 ppg. and 11.5 rpg.) and Michael Harris of Rice (20.1 ppg. and 11.2 rpg.). He has posted a Pac-10 leading eight double-doubles and six straight 20-point games. Diogu leads the nation in free throws made (136) and attempted (161) and is sixth in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.845). His 136 made free throws is more than all but one player in the nation has attempted (Glen McGowan of Pepperdine has attempted 142), while the next closet player to his 136 makes is Juan Mendez of Niagara with 95. His national-best consecutive games in double-figures scoring streak is up to 74 games (every game of his career). He has eight 30-point games (three this year), 40 20-point games (11 this year), 23 double-doubles (eight this year) and 12 other games with nine rebounds. He also leads the Pac-10 in blocks at 2.73 per game. His numbers continue to rise in Pac-10 play, as he is averaging 25.3 points and 11.0 boards through three league tilts this season. In addition to scoring, rebounding and blocks, he also leads the league in offensive boards (3.4 per game) and ranks second in field goal percentage (.621) and fourth in minutes per game (34.20).
ALL OF THEM LIKE IKE: ESPN.com asked seven of its college basketball experts (Andy Katz, Pat Forde, Jay Bilas, Fran Fraschilla, Doug Gottlieb, Joe Lunardi and Andy Glockner) to pick a five-man midseason All-American team the first week of January. Only one player in the nation was a unanimous pick on each ballot--Ike Diogu. In addition, Jay Bilas selected Ike as his preseason Player of the Year.
PAC-10 TRIVIA: Ike Diogu leads the Pac-10 in both scoring (23.3 ppg.) and rebounds per game (10.4 rpg.). Only A.C. Green of Oregon State (1984-85) and Mark McNamara of California (1981-82) have led the Pac-10 in both categories. Diogu also leads the league in blocks at 2.73 per game. Since blocks became an official statistic in 1977-78, no player has led the league in all three categories.
KRUGER, THEN AND NOW: Sophomore Kevin Kruger is 30-of-67 (.448) from the three-point stripe (fifth in the league) and has notched double digits in seven games. He provided a spark in the final nine games last year, averaging 29.0 minutes, 12.4 points and shooting 27-of-59 (.448) from the three-point stripe. He was the team's second-leading scorer in those nine games. After shooting 4-of-27 (.148) from the three-point stripe in the first 18 games of his career, he is 57-of-126 (.452) in his past 24 contests. He posted a season-high 17 points vs. Valparaiso and had a career-high 22 at Arizona last year.
BLOCK PARTY: ASU has posted 47 blocks in its past seven games (6.7 per game), including nine vs. Northwestern (Dec. 20) and Valparaiso (Dec. 29), the most since ASU had 13 vs. Washington on Jan. 9, 2003. Ike Diogu has 41 blocks to lead the Pac-10 (2.73 per game), while Serge Angounou has 11 blocks through 15 games after posting just two in 15 games last year. Diogu had a career-high seven blocks against Santa Clara, the most by a Sun Devil since Rodger Farrington tied the school record with eight vs. Houston Baptist on Dec. 10, 1996.
THREE-DOT DATA: Jason Braxton is averaging 6.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists in the past 10 games. He has posted 10 points in three games. He has 62 assists and just 24 turnovers on the year, a 2.58 ratio which is third in the league. His 142 steals is eighth on the ASU career charts and his 331 assists is tenth...sophomore Serge Angounou is averaging 9.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in the past 12 games...Steve Moore has two 20-point games on the year and is shooting 78.6 percent (121-of-154) from the free throw line in his 42-game career and has scored in double digits in the past seven games...sophomore newcomer Bryson Krueger, who played for assistant coach Brooks Thompson at Yavapai C.C. last year, is 21-of-36 (.583) from the floor and 11-of-20 (.550) from the three-point stripe in his past eight games, but sprained his ankle in the Dec. 28 Long Island game. He missed the Dec. 29 game at Valparaiso and played just eight minutes at Arizona on Jan. 2. He had a season-high 23 points against UC Riverside on Dec. 12...junior college transfer Tyrone Jackson is 10-of-16 (.625) from the three-point stripe and had five points, four assists and three steals in 16 minutes at California on Jan. 8.
DEVIL THREE-DOT TEAM DATA: ASU was third in the nation last year in free throw attempts at 27.56 per game, behind only Texas Southern (28.3) and Niagara (28.2). It is averaging 25.6 attempts per game this year. ASU has made 268 free throws while its opponents have attempted 2264...the Sun Devils are 38-16 (.703) in the past four seasons and are 71-37 (.657) under Evans in his seven years in Wells Fargo Arena....ASU has outrebounded 11 of 15 opponents on the year and is 10-1 in those games. ASU was outrebounded last year for 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 most three-pointers since it hit 13 at Oregon on Jan. 27, 1996 (tied for fifth in school history). The 65 percent three-point shooting is a school record (minimum 20 attempts), topping the 60 percent mark set at Stanford on Feb. 28, 1987 (12-of-20)...ASU was 11-1 before falling at Arizona on Jan. 2, something it has done just twice, as both the 1974-75 and 1962-63 Sun Devils went 15-1...ASU is 9-0 at home after going 7-8 at Wells Fargo Arena last year...ASU's 11 wins is the most regular-season non-conference wins since the 1975-76 squad was 12-1 in non-conference play before going 5-9 in the WAC.
MORE DIOGU: Ike Diogu's national-best double figure scoring streak of 74 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 Morehead State on Nov. 22, 2003, the first game of his career. The next longest active streak in the Pac-10 belongs to David Lucas of Oregon State with 16 straight games in double digits.
AT STANFORD (JAN. 6): ASU broke Stanford's 18-game home winning streak and ended a streak of 13 straight Cardinal wins over ASU dating to Jan. 31, 1998, with an 81-69 win. ASU jumped out to a 39-31 halftime lead and led by as many as 18 (68-49) in the second half. Ike Diogu made his first six shots from the floor and finished with 28 points and 15 rebounds. Steve Moore had 19 points, including three three-pointers, while Allen Morill had eight points in nine minutes off the bench. Jason Braxton added eight points and seven assists for ASU, which shot 52.7 percent (29-of-55) from the field and held Stanford to just 39.1 percent (27-of-69). ASU had 11 turnovers, including just four in the first half.
AT CALIFORNIA (JAN. 8): ASU won in Berkeley for just the second time in 10 years with a 79-70 win behind Ike Diogu's 25 points, while Steve Moore added 18. ASU fell behind 50-44 at the 14:08 mark of the second half but outscored Cal 35-20 from that point on and shot 17-of-32 (.531) from the field in the second half. ASU had just 12 turnovers, including just three in the second half. ASU's bench contributed 21 points (11 from Kevin Kruger) in 67 minutes as Tyrone Jackson also posted five points and four assists in 16 minutes.
HOME COOKING: ASU has won nine straight home tilts to start the year, which is the third-best season-opening home mark in Wells Fargo Arena's history, which opened in 1974-75. ASU posted a 14-0 home mark in 1974-75 and went on to post wins in its first six games of 1975-76, giving it a 20-game home winning streak, the longest in school history. A quick look at other quick home starts:
Year Opening Streak Notes1974-75 14 25-4 overall; 14-0 at home1997-98 10 Finished year 14-4 at home and 18-14 overall2004-05 9 13-2 overall start for first time since 1981
VS. UCLA: UCLA leads the series 48-14, but ASU has won four of the past five. UCLA had won 22 straight before ASU ended the streak with a 104-75 win on Feb. 17, 2000, in Tempe and swept the Bruins in 2002-2003 for just the second time in school history. Last season, UCLA topped ASU 66-58 on Jan. 15 in Pauley Pavilion as T.J. Cummings had 21 points and 12 boards. UCLA outrebounded the Sun Devils 39-29 and held ASU to just 7-of-24 (.292) from the field in the first half. ASU was a season-low 1-of-13 (.077) from the three-point stripe and had just five assists. Stevie Moore led ASU with 17 points. On Feb. 12 in Tempe, ASU set a school record for free throw percentage (minimum 20 attempts) by making 19-of-20 (.950) in a 74-62 Sun Devil overtime win. ASU matched a season-high with nine steals and came back from 14 in the second half and also was down 59-52 with 14 seconds left. ASU held the Bruins without a field goal in 10 attempts in overtime and Justin Allen came off the bench to score 11 points in 24 minutes.
VS. USC: USC leads the ASU series 40-28, as it topped the Sun Devils 93-84 in overtime on Feb. 14, 2004, in Tempe in the last meeting as ASU played its second straight overtime game for the first time since 1985-86. Ike Diogu is 28-of-41 (.683) from the floor against USC and 36-of-40 (.900) from the free throw line and is averaging 24.0 points in his four career games. Last year, ASU broke a seven-game losing streak at the Sports Arena with a 100-85 win over USC on Jan. 17, 2004, its first win at USC since Feb. 15, 1996. ASU had season-highs for points (100), field goal percentage (.612), three-point percentage (.714) and second-half points (55) as it trailed by 14 late in the first half before outscoring USC 55-37. Ike Diogu led ASU with 27 points, including perfection in 12 free throw attempts and three three-pointers. ASU had five players in double figures as Jason Braxton dished out a career-high 12 assists, tied for the ninth-best mark in ASU history. ASU's 10-of-14 (.714) mark from the three-point stripe is the fourth-best in school history. ASU's 55 second-half points was the most in the second half since it had 55 vs. Oregon on March 1, 2001, a span of the previous 78 games.
COACH EVANS: Rob Evans (189-172/.524) is in his seventh season at Arizona State (13th 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 58-year old Evans is a 1968 graduate of New Mexico State, where he captained two NCAA Tournament teams and is a 1989 inductee of the Athletic Hall of Fame. He is 103-91 (.531) at ASU and has led the Sun Devils to three postseason appearances, including a 2003 NCAA appearance that was the school's first since 1995. He is 146-103 (.586) in the past nine seasons. He reached his 100th win at ASU against Long Island on Dec. 28, becoming just the third coach in ASU history to top the century mark, joining Ned Wulk (406-272 from 1957-82) and Bill Frieder (132-108 from 1989-97).
RECRUITS GET HIGH MARKS: ASU's recruiting class was ranked 14th (tied with Indiana) by Clark Francis of Hoop Scoop. ASU has added Tyrone Jackson (Fresno C.C.), Bryson Krueger (Yavapai C.C.), Tim Pierce (Hercules High School/Oakland) and Craig Austin (El Camino High School/San Diego), while others ranked in the top 15 from the Pac-10 included Oregon (eighth) and USC and UCLA (tied for ninth). The rankings were in the June issue of Basketball Times.
KRUGER STARTING: Sophomore Kevin Kruger was in the starting lineup for the sixth time in his career on at Arizona on Jan. 2 with the ankle injury to Bryson Krueger, which statistically is certainly not a bad thing. In his six career starts, Kevin Kruger is averaging 16.0 points in 33.7 minutes and is shooting 21-of-43 (.488) from the three-point stripe. He posted career highs in points (22) and three-pointers made (six) in his start last year at Arizona on March 7.
ACADEMICALLY: Despite erroneous reports (since corrected) that said 'the state's three public universities have graduated only two male basketball players in the past five years' and '...not a single men's basketball player graduated from the three institutions last year' ASU has had success in the classroom. Here's a look at scholarship players already earning degrees under 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 and communications, 2002), Awvee Storey (B.I.S., sociology, 2001), Okeme Oziwo (B.S.W., social work, 1999) and Bobby Lazor (B.S., marketing, 1998). In addition, senior Jason Braxton will earn his B.I.S. in business and psychology in May of 2005, graduating in four years.
OLD DIOGU NOTES: Ike Diogu averaged 22.8 points per game in 2003-2004, 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)...is 559-of-704 (.794) from the free throw line in his career...entered 2004-2005 season as the nation's third-leading returning scorer and is the first Pac-10 scoring leader to be back on campus the following season since Reggie Miller won the honors in 1985-86 and returned in 1986-87...also averaged a Pac-10 best 36.9 minutes per game and grabbed 8.9 rebounds per game (second in the Pac-10) last year...Garland, Texas, native averaged 11.03 free throw attempts per game last year and broke the 40 year-old
PAC-10 POLL: ASU was picked tenth by the Pac-10 media, announced Nov. 4. UA was the choice for the top spot among the 26 media folks. The poll: 1. UA; 2. UW; 3. STAN; 4. UO; 5. UCLA; 6. USC; 7. CAL; 8. OSU; 9. WSU; 10. ASU.
PLAYER QUICK NOTES
#1 Jason Braxton: Has played in all 103 games in career and started in 85...21-of-35 (.600) from the field in the past six games...has three 10-point games on the year (at Arizona, vs. Fairleigh Dickinson and vs. Northwestern)...seven points and eight boards vs. CS Northridge on Dec. 4...4.8 assists per game last year was fourth in Pac-10...2.04 steals per game and 2.06 assist-to-turnover ratio were second in the league...averaged 28.7 minutes per game last year after averaging 21.5 his first two seasons...will earn his B.I.S. degree in four years in business and psychology in May of 2005.
#5 Ike Diogu: An ESPN.com third-team All-American in 2003-2004...set Pac-10 season record last year with 243 made free throws...a 2004 Associated Press Preseason All-American, the first in Sun Devil history and 11th in Pac-10 history...a 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American...averaged 37.5 minutes in the final 17 games last year...12-of-12 outing at the FT line at USC on Jan. 17, 2004, is the first time a Sun Devil was perfect in at least 12 free throws in a game since Arthur Thomas was 13-of-13 on Dec. 4, 1987, against San Diego State...2003 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and an All-Pac-10 selection in his first two seasons...Pac-10 Tournament record 18 rebounds vs. Oregon on March 13, 2003.
#12 Bryson Krueger: Sophomore played for current ASU assistant coach Brooks Thompson at Yavapai C.C. for one season before arriving at ASU...21-of-36 (.583) from the floor and 11-of-20 (.550) from the three-point stripe in his past eight games...injured ankle on Dec. 28 vs. Long Island, missed Dec. 29 win over Valparaiso and played just eight minutes at Arizona on Jan. 2...had a season-high 23 points against UC Riverside on Dec. 12...posted 14 points against Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 6...12 points vs. UTEP on Nov. 26.
#13 Kevin Kruger: Is 30-of-67 (.448) from the three-point stripe and has notched double digits in seven games...after shooting 4-of-27 (.148) from the three-point stripe in the first 18 games of his career, he is 57-of-126 (.452) in his past 24 contests...69-of-90 (.767) 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's second-leading scorer in final nine games last year...had 22 points, 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: Posted 20 points vs. Vanderbilt and vs. Cal State Northridge...averaging 14.3 points in past seven games...has been in double figures in 12 games on the year and in past seven...led ASU with 18 points vs. Northwestern on Dec. 20...made 48 three-pointers last year, the most by a Sun Devil since Eddie House hit 73 in 1999-2000...finished eighth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting (.814)...averaged 17 points on Los Angeles road trip and was 15-of-18 (.833) from the free throw line...had 20 second-half points at Nebraska on Dec. 3, 2003...posted three 20-point games last year.
#45 Serge Angounou: Working his way back into shape after missing all of 2002-2003 with a knee injury suffered on Nov. 13, 2002...averaging 9.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in past 12 games...has seven games in double digits in scoring and two double-doubles this year...had 11 points and 11 boards vs. Valparaiso on Dec. 30...posted 14 points vs. Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 6...did not score in the first two contests this year but posted 13 points vs. Vanderbilt on Nov. 27 and 13 points and 14 boards in 34 minutes at Temple on Nov. 30...missed the first 12 games last year.