Men's Hoops Hosts USC Saturday At 6 p.m.

Jan. 14, 2005

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ASU HOSTS TROJANS: The Arizona State men's basketball team (13-3; 2-2 in the Pac-10 Conference), winners of 11 of its past 13, plays host to the USC Trojans on Saturday, Jan. 15 (6 p.m. MST/Fox Sports Arizona). ASU will try and avoid losing two in a row for the first time this year, and the scenario for the game is similar to last year's ASU vs. USC matchup at this time. ASU went into the Sports Arena on Jan. 17, 2004, with a 0-4 Pac-10 record and was 6-7 overall, while USC was 9-2 and 3-2 in the league, but the Sun Devils played their best game of the year in a 100-85 victory and broke a seven-game losing streak at the Sports Arena dating to 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.

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.

VS. UCLA: ASU lost a tough 86-82 game to UCLA on Thursday as the Sun Devils hit just 7-of-14 (.500) from the free throw line in the first half (20-of-30, .667 for the game) and gave up a 32-20 lead in the first half at the 6:35 mark. UCLA shot 50.8 percent from the floor (31-of-61), just the third team to shoot 50 percent from the field against ASU this year, and became the third straight team to outrebound the Sun Devils (41-35). ASU had a season-high 67 field goal attempts but matched a season high with 21 fouls as the Bruins made 18-of-21 (.857) from the free throw line. Kevin Kruger had a season-high 18 points off the bench, while Bryson Krueger (16), Ike Diogu (15) and Serge Angounou (13) also posted double digits. Angounou led ASU on the board with 11, as he posted his third double-double.

LAST WEEKEND: 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). The Sun Devils ended Stanford's 18-game home winning streak on Jan. 6 and then topped California 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 found a third double-digit scorer in sixth-man Kevin Kruger, who after Thursday's 18-point game vs. UCLA is now averaging 12.5 points in Pac-10 play.

OLD SCHOOL THREES: Ike Diogu has been fouled when making a shot 78 times in his career and has made 60-of-78 (.769) of the free throws that followed.

IKE NOTES: Ike Diogu's play this year has been among the best in the nation. He is averaging 22.8 points (fifth in the nation as of Jan. 14) and 10.3 rebounds (tied for tenth). He has posted a Pac-10 leading eight double-doubles and leads the nation in free throws made (139) and attempted (168) and his national-best consecutive games in double-figures scoring streak is up to 75 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 13 other games with nine rebounds.PAC-10 TRIVIA: Ike Diogu leads the Pac-10 in both scoring (22.8 ppg.) and rebounds per game (10.3 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.

MORE DIOGU: Ike Diogu's national-best double figure scoring streak of 75 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.

COACH EVANS: Rob Evans (189-173/.522) 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 103-92 (.528) at ASU and has led the Sun Devils to three postseason appearances, including a 2003 NCAA appearance which was the school's first since 1995.

PLAYER QUICK NOTES

Serge Angounou is averaging 10.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in the past 13 games. He has eight games in double-digit scoring games and three double-doubles this year.

Jason Braxton is averaging 6.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the past 11 games. He has posted 10 points in three games. The senior has 64 assists and just 25 turnovers on the year. His 145 steals is eighth on the ASU career charts and his 333 assists is tied for ninth. Braxton has played in all 104 games in career and started in 86. He is 23-of-39 (.590) from the field in the past seven games and will earn his B.I.S. degree in four years in business and psychology in May of 2005.

Kevin Kruger is 32-of-75 (.427) from the three-point stripe and has notched double digits in eight games. He posted a season-high 18 points vs. UCLA on Thursday and had a career-high 22 at Arizona last year. He is averaging 12.5 points in Pac-10 play and is 79-of-101 (.782) from the free throw line in his career.

Bryson Krueger played for assistant coach Brooks Thompson at Yavapai C.C. last year and is 27-of-44 (.614) from the floor and 15-of-24 (.625) from the three-point stripe in his past nine games, but sprained his ankle in the Dec. 28 Long Island game and sprained his right knee in the Jan. 12 practice. 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 and had 16 against UCLA Thursday.

Steve Moore has two 20-point games on the year and is shooting 77.7 percent (122-of-157) from the free throw line in his 43-game career and has scored in double digits in seven of the past eight games.

ETC.: ASU is 10-1 when it outrebounds its opponent but has been outrebounded in the past three games�Ike Diogu played the 12th 40-minute game of his career and the fifth of the season Thursday against UCLA�Diogu has made 562 and attempted 713 free throws in his career, and both numbers are sixth on the Pac-10 career charts. His 1,586 points is fifth�Tyrone Jackson is 10-of-17 from the three-point stripe on the year�.Ike Diogu's six straight 20 point games from Dec. 22-Jan.8 is the fourth-best streak by a Sun Devil in the past 18 years. Eddie House posted eight straight in 1999-2000, while Jeremy Veal (1997-98) and Trent Edwards (1988-89) each had seven straight.

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