Sun Devils Open Season In Fine Fashion
Nov. 23, 2005
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Craig Austin scored 21 points in his first attempt to replace last season's Pac-10 player of the year, and Arizona State beat depleted Southern Utah 82-62 Wednesday night.
Bryson Krueger had 18 points in the Sun Devils' opener, and Kevin Kruger added 14 and six assists.
But the spotlight was on Austin, who stayed on campus last summer lifting weights to add 20 pounds for his assignment - pick up after Ike Diogu left for the NBA draft. The 6-foot-10 sophomore was efficient, hitting 8-of-10 field goals and 5-of-6 free throws.
Henry Uhegwu had 16 points and Steve Barnes 14 for the Thunderbirds (0-4), who completed a difficult road trip after losing to Mississippi, South Carolina State and New Mexico over the weekend.
They began the game without injured starters Rand Janes and Lubor Olsovsky and lost leading scorer Justin Allen when an elbow by Arizona State's Serge Angounou broke his nose and cut his cheek with 4:23 left in the first half.
The Thunderbirds recovered from a 48-28 halftime deficit to play Arizona State even in the second half.
But Austin kept things under control, scoring 13 points in the second and sinking the Sun Devils' only basket during a 16-8 surge that got the Thunderbirds within 76-58 with 2:03 left.
Austin had eight points in the first 6:40 of the game, then went scoreless during a 22-5 run capped by Krueger's 8-foot runner that lifted Arizona State to a 39-14 lead with 3:44 left in the first half.
Uhegwu made two free throws and a 3-pointer in 22 seconds, but Krueger restored the 25-point lead at 48-23 with another runner and a 3-pointer, sinking the long shot with 1:04 to go, before the Thunderbirds got within 20 points at halftime.