Men's Hoops Opens Exhibition Season Thursday.
Nov. 2, 2005
SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State University men's basketball team(18-14 in 2004-2005) returns six lettermen for the 2005-2006 season,as ASU will try and improve on last year's 18-win season, just theeighth in the past 22 seasons of Sun Devil basketball. ASU advancedto the postseason for the third time in the past four seasons underhead coach Rob Evans last year and will begin its exhibition seasonon Thursday, Nov. 3, against the Carleton Ravens. ASU loses threestarters from last year's team, including Pac-10 Player of the YearIke Diogu. ASU opens its regular season on Nov. 23 against SouthernUtah. The Sun Devils are 12-2 in exhibition games under Rob Evans.
REGARDING THE OPENER: ASU beat Jackson State 79-48 on Nov. 21, 2004,to win its 15th straight home opener last season. The last time ASUlost a home opener was on Dec. 5, 1989, when ASU fell to BYU 65-64.Rob Evans is now 11-2 in overall season lid-lifters in his 13 seasons(6-1 at ASU). ASU is 4-0 against this year's opening game opponent,Southern Utah, as ASU won 94-72 on Nov. 17, 2000, although SouthernUtah went on to the NCAA Tournament that year.
JUNIOR COLLEGE HELP: Tony Jimenez, who covers junior colleges forBasketball Times, ranked ASU's incoming duo of Antwi Atuahene(Trinity Valley C.C.) and Bruno Claudino (College of Southern Idaho)as the tenth-best junior college recruits in the nation entering thisyear in the July of 2005 issue. His top ten included Oklahoma State,Texas A & M, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico, Oklahoma, UNLV, Utah State,UTEP and Nevada. Jimenez called Atuahene a 'solid team leader' andsaid Claudino 'is expected to add punch inside' for the Sun Devils,who will have Atuahene in uniform for three seasons.
NOT FAR AWAY: The Sun Devils, who tied Washington State for sixth inthe Pac-10 at 7-11, lost several tough games down the stretch lastyear, including back-to-back games which were decided by game-winningshots in the closing seconds (57-55 at Washington State on Feb. 26and 70-68 vs. #11 Arizona on March 5). ASU also lost a three-pointgame at the 1:00 mark at #13 Washington (a 90-82 loss on Feb. 24) andfinal close call was a 95-90 overtime loss in the Pac-10 Tournamentto #14 Washington on March 10, as the Huskies ended the year as a No.1 national seed and Pac-10 Tournament champions.
Kevin Kruger: Kevin Kruger was one of three Sun Devils who averageddouble-digit scoring in Pac-10 play (11.8 ppg.) and had 17double-digit scoring games in 2004-2005. He averaged 12.2 points inthe final 13 games, has made 131-of-161 (.814) free throws in his59-game career and was 66-of-74 (.892) from the foul line in Pac-10games, second in the loop, last year. He matched a career-high with22 points vs. #14 Washington at the Pac-10 Tournament on March 10.
FREE THROWS: ASU made free throws at a 73.5 percent rate in2003-2004, the fifth-best mark in ASU history and the second-best inthe previous 17 seasons, and then came back with the tenth-besteffort in school history last year. A look at the best free throwteams in ASU history.
ASU TOP SEASON FT%1. 75.6 - 19782. 75.4 - 19553. 74.6 - 1998 - 19875. 73.5 - 20046. 73.0 - 19577. 72.9 - 20008. 72.1 - 19899. 72.0 - 198210. 71.6 - 2005
Rob Evans: Rob Evans (194-184/.513) is in his eighth 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, winning two SEC West titles, and led Ole Miss toback-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1937-38. The59-year old Evans is a 1968 graduate of New Mexico State, where hecaptained two NCAA Tournament teams and is a 1989 inductee of theAthletic Hall of Fame. He is 108-103 (.512) at ASU and has led theSun Devils to four postseason appearances, including a 2003 NCAAappearance that was the school's first since 1995. He is 151-115(.568) in the past nine seasons. He reached his 100th win at ASUagainst Long Island on Dec. 28, becoming just the third coach in ASUhistory to top the century mark, joining Ned Wulk (406-272 from1957-82) and Bill Frieder (132-108 from 1989-97).
TEAM HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST YEAR: Beat Oregon State for the seventhstraight time in Tempe with a 75-73 win on Feb. 17...swept Oregon forthe ninth time in its 27 years of Pac-10 play (and for the first timesince 2000-2001) with a 66-56 win in Tempe on Feb. 19 and won atOregon for the fourth time in seven years under Rob Evans and for thesecond straight year on Jan. 22...swept Stanford for the first timesince 1993-94 with an 81-69 win at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 6, whichstopped the Cardinal's 18-game home win streak, and then won in Tempefor the first time since 1994-95 with a 74-67 win on Feb. 3...sweptthe Bay Area road trip on Jan. 6-8 for the first time since 1984-85.It marked just the fourth road sweep of Stanford and California in 27Pac-10 seasons. ASU topped Stanford 81-69 on Jan. 6 and toppedCalifornia 79-70 two days later...won nine straight games fromNovember 27-Dec. 29, the longest Sun Devil win streak since the1980-81 team won 11 straight...opened season 11-1 for the first timesince the 1974-75 and 1962-63 teams started 15-1.
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