ASU Falls In First Round Of NIT Tournament

March 17, 2005

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Ricky Morgan scored 21 points to lead UNLV past ArizonaState 89-78 in the first round of the NIT on Thursday night.

Morgan had 15 points in the first half and was 6-of-9 from the fieldoverall, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range. He was averaging 3.4 points pergame coming in the game.

The Rebels (17-13) advanced to play at South Carolina in the second roundTuesday night.

Ike Diogu had game-highs of 29 points and 11 rebounds in what may have beenhis last game for the Sun Devils (18-14). The junior power forward could be anNBA first-round draft pick this year he if decides to skip his senior season.

Diogu was 10-of-16 from the field and 8-of-11 from the free throw line.

Odartey Blankson had 19 points for the Rebels, and Jerel Blassingame andMichael Umeh each added 11.

UNLV shot 59 percent from the floor (34-of-58), including 11-for-22 from3-point range.

Arizona State made 45 percent of its shots.

UNLV, which led just about the entire game, built its largest lead of thefirst half at 30-21. The Sun Devils then went on an 8-0 run, but the Rebelspulled away late in the half and led 48-40 at intermission.

The Sun Devils scored the first five points of the second half, but came nocloser the rest of the way.

UNLV eventually built a 77-61 lead with 7:11 left, their largest lead of thegame.

UNLV first-year coach Lon Kruger went against his son, ASU sophomore guardKevin Kruger, for the first time. Kevin was 3-of-10 from the field for eightpoints.

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