Men's Basketball Opens Home Season Friday Night

Nov. 14, 2000

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The Arizona State men's basketball team (1-1), under third-year head coach Rob Evans, plays host to Southern Utah (Nov. 17), Colgate (Nov. 21), Kent State (Nov. 25) and BYU (Dec. 2) in its next four games. All three games will be carried on KFYI 550 AM and XTRA 910 AM in Phoenix, with Tim Healey (play-by-play) and Vic Cegles (color) calling the action. Arizona State is 1-1 after falling to Tulsa 69-67 and then defeating Winthrop 76-68 in the NABC Classic on Nov. 10-11 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Against Tulsa, ASU led for most of the game (including a 34-27 lead at the half) and had its biggest lead, 43-35, with 15:44 left. The Golden Hurricane, which won 32 games and reached the Elite Eight in 2000, came back for a 69-67 win. ASU was led by Shawn Redhage's 19 points, while Chad Prewitt added nine rebounds. Alton Mason added 11 points and a career-high eight boards.

ASU rebounded to defeat Winthrop the next night 76-68 behind Mason's 18 points, which tied a career high. ASU outrebounded Winthrop, a team which reached the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons, 35-22 and was 29-of-41 (.707) from the free throw line in the win. Shawn Redhage added 17 points while Donnell Knight had 13 and Awvee Storey 15 off the bench.

ASU shot 76.2 percent from the free throw line (48-of-63) in its first two games...Alton Mason went 13-of-16 (.813) from the free throw line, while Shawn Redhage was 16-of-18 (.889)...Tanner Shell (slight bulging disc in lower back) missed the Winthrop to last year, Donnell Knight has made 26-of-30 free throws (.870) in his past 11 games.

ASU's Wells Fargo Arena was a solid home for the Sun Devils last year, as ASU matched the school record for home wins with a 14-3 (.820) mark. ASU won all 14 games at home against unranked opponents, losing only to No. 5 Arizona, No. 23 Oregon and No. 2 Stanford. ASU was 8-0 against non-conference foes at home last year. ASU's 14 home wins matched the school record set in 1974-75, 1979-80, 1980-81, 1990-91, 1994-95 and 1997-98.

ASU is 3-0 against Southern Utah as the teams last met in 1995-96 with ASU winning 82-76. ASU has never faced Colgate and is 2-1 vs. Kent State, with KSU winning the last meeting back in 1968-69 (92-81).

The ASU and Brigham Young series dates to 1946-47, and ASU records have the Cougars leading the series 23-21, with BYU winning a 78-67 meeting last year in Provo on Dec. 7. The Cougars last visit to Tempe was the season opener on Nov. 27, 1993, when ASU beat BYU 106-95. ASU led last year's game 53-48 midway through the second half but the Cougars outscored ASU 30-15 in the final 11:14 as ASU was just 3-of-16 (.188) from the three-point stripe. Awvee Storey had 22 points and Shawn Redhage added 12, but Eddie House was 0-for-16 from the field. Both Storey and Chad Prewitt fouled out against the bigger Cougars. BYU outrebounded ASU 39-31 as the Sun Devils fell to 4-3 on the year.

Rob Evans has never faced Southern Utah or Kent State, and last year's meeting with BYU was his first. Colgate defeated Evans' Ole Miss squad 53-51 on Dec. 1, 1995, in Iowa City, Iowa.

Rob Evans (120-111/.520) is in his third season in 2000-2001 (ninth overall) as the head basketball coach at Arizona State 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, winning two SEC West titles, and led Ole Miss to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1937-38. The 54-year old Evans is a 1968 graduate of New Mexico State, where he captained two NCAA Tournament teams, is a 1989 inductee of the NMSU Athletic Hall of Fame and was named to the school's All-Time Basketball team. He is 34-30 (.530) in his his third year at ASU. Evans' Ole Miss squads were known as a tough man-to-man teams which ranked 13th in the nation and second in the SEC in 1997-98 in rebounding at +6.6, despite no player was in the top 30 in rebounding. Ole Miss held opponents to just 30 percent from the three-point stripe, best in the SEC, and to just 40.6 percent from the field. He is 76-46 (.620) in the past five seasons.

The Arizona State men's basketball team (19-13, 10-8 in Pac-10) posted its best season since 1994-95 in Rob Evans second year at the helm of the program in 1999-2000. The young ASU team, with six true freshmen combining for nearly 96 minutes per game and having just one senior on its roster, posted a Pac-10 road sweep for the first time since 1996 to begin the second half at WSU/Washington and notched a home sweep of the LA schools for the first time since 1986 a week later. It was ASU's first four-game Pac-10 win streak since 1995. ASU also was 3-1 in overtime, all Pac-10 road contests, and was 3-3 in games decided by three points or less after going 1-5 in 1998-99. The Sun Devils posted 19 wins for just the fourth time in the past 17 seasons, as ASU was picked to finish eighth in the Pac-10 media poll but finished in a tie for fourth with NCAA-bound UCLA (a team ASU beat 104-75 on Feb. 17 to end a 22-game losing streak to the Bruins) at 10-8, sweeping four Pac-10 teams along the way (California, Washington State, Washington and Oregon State).

ASU returns 56.3 points per game after averaging a league-best 79.3 points, which accounts for 71 percent of the scoring. ASU was scheduled to return just 32.1 points per game from a 74.5 points per game mark in 1999-2000 (43.1 percent) after losing All-Pac-10 players Bobby Lazor (18.0 ppg.) and Mike Batiste (16.7 ppg.). But led by Eddie House's 23.0 scoring mark and five players averaging more than six points per game ASU led the league in scoring last year and was 17th in the nation. It marked just the third time in school history ASU led the Pac-10 in scoring (also in 1992-93 and 1980-81). ASU's six freshmen combined for 39.8 percent of the scoring (31.5 ppg.), 38.6 percent of the rebounding (14.9 rpg.), 37.6 percent of the steals (3.2 spg.) and 44.7 percent of the assists (7.2 apg.).

The ASU program has logged some serious air miles within the past year. It started last year with a trip to the Puerto Rico Shootout, as ASU travelled 6,032 miles for its first road trip with its six freshmen. Then came trips to Brigham Young (1,016), Bay Area (1,292), Los Angeles (750), North Carolina State (3,776), Seattle/Pullman (2,216), Oregon/Oregon State (2,020) and North Carolina State again (3,776). Throw in the Nov. 9-12 trip to the NABC Classic in Chapel Hill (3,776), and ASU has flown 24,654 miles in the past calendar year.

In each of ASU's first two games, four Sun Devils reached double figures in scoring. Alton Mason, Donnell Knight and Shawn Redhage posted double-digits in both games, while Awvee Storey (15 points vs. Winthrop) and Chad Prewitt (12 points vs. Tulsa) also accomplished the feat. Last year, ASU had six games where four Sun Devils reached double digits in scoring and another two games where five players reached double digits. ASU placed four players in double digits last year vs. Portland State, Washington State, at USC, at UCLA, vs. USC and at Oregon. It had five players in double digits at American Puerto Rico and vs. Cal.

How impressive was ASU's 3-1 record in road overtime games? ASU just missed matching the NCAA record for road OT wins, which is four. Four schools notched 4-0 marks in road overtime games in one season, including ASU in 1980-81. Others were Delaware (1972-73), Cal State Fullerton (1988-89) and New Mexico St. (1993-94). ASU won road overtime games at California, Washington State and Oregon State and fell at USC after going just 1-3 in overtime.

Donnell Knight turned it up a notch for the Sun Devil on Feb. 5, when he led ASU with 16 points vs. Oregon. Knight started the year slowly but in the final 12 games was one of the key reasons why ASU was able to notch 19 wins for just the fourth time in the past 17 seasons. A look at Donnell Knight's improvement in the final 12 games of last season:

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