Men's Hoops Plays Host To USC Thursday At 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 4, 2006

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SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State University men's basketball team (6-5; 0-2) opens its home slate of Pac-10 games by hosting the USC Trojans on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 6:30 p.m. and the #17 UCLA Bruins on Saturday, Jan. 7, at 2 p.m. Trey Bender and Tim Kempton will call both games for Fox Sports Net Arizona, as ASU will try and bounce back from two Pac-10 opening losses at #7 Washington (91-67 on Dec. 29) and at Washington State (64-49 on Dec. 31) last weekend. ASU advanced to the postseason for the third time in the past four seasons last year under Rob Evans last year as it finished 18-14 behind Pac-10 Player of the Year and consensus second-team All-American Ike Diogu. Junior Kevin Kruger is among the Pac-10 leaders in minutes per game (37.7/first), three-point field goals made per game (2.82/first), steals (2.0 pg/fourth), assists (4.27 pg/fourth), and scoring (16.0 ppg./sixth). Bryson Krueger is eighth in the Pac-10 in three-point percentage, shooting at a .426 clip (20-of-47). ASU also leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage, hitting on 75.3 percent of its freebies (198-of-263).

FREEBIES: ASU made free throws at a 73.5 percent rate in 2003-2004, the fifth-best mark in ASU history and the second-best in the previous 17 seasons, and then came back with the tenth-best effort last year. Through 11 games it is shooting 198-of-263 (.753), tops in the Pac-10. Leading the way are Serge Angounou (18-of-20/.900), Bryson Krueger (25-of-29/.862), Kevin Kruger (51-of-63/.810), Jeff Pendergraph (23-of-32/.719) and Tyrone Jackson (26-of-34/.765). A look at the best free throw teams in ASU annals, and note that the current clip (.753) is currently second-best.

ASU TOP SEASON FREE THROW PERCENTAGE1.      75.6    - 1978--        75.3    - 2006 (current)2.      75.4    - 19553t.       74.6    - 19983t.       74.6    - 19875.        73.5    - 20046.        73.0    - 19577.        72.9    - 20008.        72.1    - 19899.        72.0    - 198210.       71.6    - 2005

IRON MAN: Kevin Kruger's 37.7 minutes per game is one of the top marks on the ASU single-season chart. Here's a look at ASU's top single-season minutes per game numbers.

ASU MINUTES PER GAME (1962-63 to present)RK.     Player, Season  MPG1.   Stevin Smith, 1993-94   38.52.  Fat Lever, 1981-82      38.23.  Freddie Lewis, 1965-66  38.14.  Alex Austin, 1989-90    37.9--  Kevin Kruger, 2005-06   37.7T5. Jeremy Veal, 1997-98    37.5T5. Paul Williams, 1981-82  37.57.  Dwayne Fontana, 1993-94 37.3T8. Eddie House, 1999-2000  37.2T8. Seabern Hill, 1969-70   37.210. Fat Lever, 1980-81      37.1

BAD LUCK: Senior forward Allen Morill is now out for the year after having microfracture surgery on his left knee on Dec. 19. Morill had played in the first seven games, starting in two, and averaged 15.7 minutes before his injury. He posted a career-high 14 points against Alcorn State on Nov. 26 and had 10 points and nine boards in 29 minutes vs. Minnesota on Dec. 5. At the time of the injury, Morill was the second-most experienced Sun Devil (57 career games). ASU now has just one senior on the roster, Tyrone Jackson.

THAT IS NOT ALL: In addition to Morill's season-ending injury, other Sun Devils have missed games and many practices. Serge Angounou, a two-year starter, suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in practice on Dec. 4 and missed the next two games (both losses) and is practicing on a limited basis to rest the knee for games. Freshman Jeff Pendergraph had a benign tumor removed in the fall from his left femur and did not get any conditioning or practice until November, as he missed both exhibitions and the first game of the season and is still working to get strength in the leg. Sophomore Antwi Atuahene has not missed a regular season game due to a nasal fracture suffered in November, but he missed the second exhibition game and some practices and had to wear a mask the first seven games to protect his nose. And while freshman Chad Goldstein could not play in in the first six games after transferring last year from UC-Davis, it didn't stop him from catching the injury bug. He broke his nose in the fall and wore a mask in practice and in his first game at Iowa on Dec. 17. Two days later, in his first practice, his nose was broken again.

USC SERIES NOTES: USC leads the ASU series 42-28 as the Trojans swept the games last year...ASU has posted two 100-point outings in its past 80 games, both against USC. It won 108-78 on Feb. 13, 2003, in Tempe and 100-85 at USC on Jan. 17, 2004...Serge Angounou is averaging 10.7 points and six boards in three career games against USC...Kevin Kruger is averaging 12.8 points against USC in four games and is 20-of-22 (.909) from the foul line...in Tempe last year, USC shot 60 percent in the first half (18-of-30) in a 98-94 win on Jan. 15, 2005. The 98 points was the most scored against ASU at home since a 101-73 loss to third-ranked Arizona on Feb. 27, 1988. Six Sun Devils scored in double digits, led by a career-high 20 points by Angounou. ASU led 60-59 at the 10:29 mark but USC posted 39 points in just more than 10 minutes...on Feb. 12, 2005, in Los Angeles, USC took control early and shot 12-of-21 (.571) in the second half for an 82-71 win. ASU attempted a season-high 27 three-pointers and was outrebounded 37-29.

UCLA SERIES NOTES: UCLA leads the series 50-14, but ASU has won four of the past seven after UCLA had won 25 of the previous 26...ASU has won two of the past three against UCLA in Tempe...UCLA had won 22 straight overall 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...Kevin Kruger is 14-of-15 (.933) from the free throw line in his four career games against the Bruins. He averaged 12.5 points against UCLA last year...Serge Angounou is 12-of-20 (.600) from the field against UCLA in three career games and is averaging 8.3 points, including 10.5 points in the two games last year...last year in Tempe on Jan. 13, ASU led 32-20 at the 6:35 mark of the first half but UCLA finished the half on a 22-9 run and held off the Sun Devils in the second half to win 86-82. The game was decided at the foul line, as the Bruins made 18-of-21 (.857) and ASU made just 20-of-30 (.667), including just 7-of-14 (.500) in the first half. Kevin Kruger posted 18 points off the bench for ASU while Bryson Krueger added 16 points, including 4-of-5 from the three-point stripe. ASU had just nine turnovers and posted 67 field goal attempts but made just 28 of them (.418) while allowing UCLA to shoot 50.8 percent (31-of-61). UCLA also outrebounded the Sun Devils 41-35...in the game at Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 10, 2005, UCLA shot 14-of-20 (.700) from the field in the second half and was 13-of-21 (.619) from the three-point stripe in racing to a 95-76 win as it led 46-32 at the half.

AT #7 WASHINGTON (DEC. 29): ASU forced just three turnovers and was outscored 51-29 in the second half in falling at Washington 91-67 in the Pac-10 opener for both teams. ASU led 38-36 late in the first half, but UW scored the final four points of the first half and the first 10 of the second in running their homecourt win streak to 32. ASU shot just 9-of-31 (.290) from the field in the second half while Washington was 16-of-28 (.571). ASU still leads the series 33-26 but the Huskies have won the past six...Rob Evans is now 7-9 against Washington, while Kevin Kruger has averaged 17.3 points against the Huskies in his past three games...UW set ASU opponent season highs for points (91), field goals made (29) and attempted (68) and blocks (6) while ASU had season-lows in steals (one) and turnovers (12).

AT WASHINGTON STATE (DEC. 31): ASU scored just 22 second-half points (its fewest since Feb. 8, 2001, also against WSU) as a close game at the 5:00 mark turned into a 15-point loss as the Cougars topped ASU 64-49. WSU led 50-47 at the 5:00 mark but went on a 14-2 run to seal the game. WSU shot 9-of-18 (.500) in the second half and held ASU to just 8-of-25 (.320). Kevin Kruger led ASU with 23 points on 6-of-16 (.375) shooting, but the rest of the Sun Devils were just 12-of-35 (.343)...ASU has won five of the past nine against the Cougars and 11 of the past 17 and still leads the series 31-27...Rob Evans is now 9-6 against WSU, including a 4-4 mark in Pullman.

ADDITIONS: Junior college transfer Antwi Atuahene is off to a solid start, as the sophomore is averaging 6.6 points, 3.5 boards and 2.9 assists in 21.0 minutes per game (fourth-most on the team). He is shooting 29-of-53 (.547) from the floor. Freshman Jeff Pendergraph became just the fourth ASU freshman in the past nine years to notch 20-points when he posted 20 against Utah Valley State on Dec. 10. Only Ike Diogu (12 in 2002-03), Kevin Kruger (two as a redshirt freshman in 2003-04) and Tanner Shell (one in 1999-2000) have notched that number since the 1997-98 season in their freshman season.

NIGHTMARE FOR OPPONENTS: Kevin Kruger (16.0 ppg. in 2005-06) was one of three Sun Devils who averaged double-digit points in Pac-10 play (11.8 ppg.) and he has picked up where he left off from last year. He averaged 12.2 points in the final 13 games and has made 182-of-224 (.813) free throws in his 70-game career. Kruger has started 26 games in his career and was second on the team in minutes per game last year, averaging 29.8 per game. He is among the Pac-10 leaders in minutes per game (37.7/first), steals (2.0 pg/fourth), assists (4.27 pg/fourth), three-point field goals made per game (2.82/first) and scoring (16.0 ppg./sixth).

QUICK NOTES: ASU has committed less turnovers than its opponent in eight of its 11 games...ASU started 4-0 this year for the first time since 1994-95...Tyrone Jackson is averaging 27.7 minutes this year after averaging 15.1 minutes per contest last year...ASU tied the school record for three-point percentage by hitting 8-of-11 (.742) against North Texas, led by Bryson Krueger who was perfect in five attempts...ASU made 32-of-40 (.800) free throws against Alcorn State on Nov. 26, its most made free throws since it hit 35 in the season opener against Arkansas-Little Rock on Nov. 22, 2003...ASU made 24-of-27 (.880) free throws against Southern Utah, the sixth-best mark in school history with a minimum of 20 attempts...ASU had 13 steals vs. SUU, matching last season's season-high set in the first game against Jackson State and forced 27 turnovers, the most forced by ASU since Dec. 22, 2003...sophomore Craig Austin's 21 points vs. Southern Utah not only was a career-high, it was four more points than he scored all of last season. As a freshman the San Diego, Calif., native scored 17 points in 17 games last year.

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