Men's Hoops Hosts Nevada Tuesday At 7 p.m.
Dec. 9, 2002
ASU FACES HOSTS NEVADA, TAKES TIME OFF FOR FINALS: The Arizona State men's basketball team (4-3) will host the Nevada Wolf Pack (2-3) on Dec. 10 before taking a 10-day break for final exams. The Sun Devils then will meet Purdue (4-1) in the Las Vegas Showdown on Dec. 21 at 6:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. MST on ESPN2. KAZ-TV in Phoenix will broadcast the Nevada game with George Allen and Doug Gerlach on the call. The Sun Devils have lost two straight, a 64-60 loss to BYU in Tempe on Dec. 4 and a 78-55 loss at Utah on Dec. 7. In those two games, the opponents shot a combined 53-of-99 (.535) while ASU was just 45-of-113 (.398). ASU also was outrebounded and was trailing at halftime by 10 points in both contests. The Sun Devils will try to avoid being outrebounded in three straight games for the first time since January of 2000, when ASU was outboarded in five straight games. Bob Carpenter and Larry Conley will call the game for ESPN2 vs. Purdue on Dec. 21, as ASU will make its third appearance on an ESPN station this year. ASU's Maui Invitational games against Kentucky (Nov. 25) and Utah (Nov. 27) were broadcast on ESPN. ASU is 0-4 on ESPN2, with its last appearance in the NIT last year, a 96-91 loss at UNLV on March 12, 2002.
WE LIKE IKE: Freshman Ike Diogu has been impressive in his first seven games, as he leads the team with 17.3 points per game and is averaging 29.6 minutes and 5.9 rebounds. The Garland, Texas, native already has been to the line 58 times and is shooting .707 percent from the charity stripe (41-of-58). He increased his scoring in each of his first five games, as he posted 10 points vs. Morehead State, 13 points against No. 15 Kentucky, 19 points vs. Chaminade, 22 vs. Utah and 27 vs. Lafayette. The 27 points against Lafayette matches the fourth-best scoring mark by an ASU freshman and Diogu is the first Sun Devil freshman to post back-to-back 20-point games since Mario Bennett in 1991-92. It is the most points by an ASU freshman since Bennett set the freshman school mark with 35 against Arizona in 1992. Diogu became just the second ASU freshman to start in the the season opener in the past 10 years (Donnell Knight started the opener in 1999-2000) when he took the court on Nov. 22 against Morehead State. He is averaging 8.3 free throw attempts per contest and is the only Sun Devil to reach double digits in scoring in all seven contests.
ANOTHER NEWCOMER: Lost in the Ike Diogu numbers is the solid start for junior college transfer Jamal Hill. Hill has just four turnovers through seven games while averaging 28.0 minutes which is third on the team. He is fourth on the team with 9.9 points per game and is shooting 9-of-17 (.529) from the three-point stripe and 26-of-54 (.481) from the field. After scoring just two points against Morehead State in the opener, Hill averaged 13 points per game in the next five contests.
DEVIL DATA: Jason Braxton leads the team in assists (19) and steals (12) and is averaging 8.6 points in the 11 games against ranked opponents in his two-year career...Tommy Smith leads the team with 19 blocks on the season and with 6.4 rebounds per game...Donnell Knight is averaging 6.1 rebounds per game...in the past two seasons, ASU is 17-3 (.850) when it leads at the half, 0-13 when it trails and 1-2 when tied...ASU is 28-4 (.875) under Evans when it shoots at least 50 percent, including an 18-2 (.900) mark in the past three seasons...Justin Allen played 13 minutes against Utah and made two three-pointers...ASU did not have a blocked shot against the Utes...Kyle Dodd has 215 assists and just 87 turnovers in his 97-game career, a 2.5-to-1 ratio.
VS. UTAH: Utah shot 55.6 percent from the floor (30-of-54) and outrebounded ASU 31-29 in cruising to a 78-55 win at Salt Lake City on Dec. 7. ASU shot just 8-of-25 (.320) in the second half and fell behind 40-30 at intermission. Ike Diogu led ASU with 15 points while Tommy Smith and Curtis Millage added 11 each. Utah scored 24 points off 17 ASU turnovers and outscored ASU 40-20 in the paint.
VS. BYU: BYU (5-0) jumped out to a 35-25 halftime lead and held off a late ASU rally to top the Sun Devils 64-60 on Dec. 4. Ike Diogu led ASU with 15 points and eight boards, while Tommy Smith added 13 points and eight rebounds. BYU outrebounded ASU 37-32 and the Sun Devils were just 5-of-15 (.333) from the free throw line, including just 2-of-7 (.286) in the second half. Jamal Hill gave ASU a spark off the bench with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including two three-pointers. BYU shot 51.1 percent (23-of-45) for the game and set the tone with 14-of-21 (.667) shooting in the first half.
SHOOTING IT: The 63.3 percent field goal shooting (38-of-60) against Chaminade in Maui on Nov. 26 was the best shooting night by a Sun Devil team since March 9, 1990, when ASU was 30-of-45 (.667) against Oregon State in the Pac-10 Tournament. It marks the best shooting night by an Evans-coached team (294 games) and ASU's best in the past 370 games. It is the eighth-best shooting night in school history.
ROTATION UPDATE: Two injuries have affected the ASU rotation, as highly touted 6-8 freshman Serge Angounou will miss all of the season after injuring his kneecap in the first exhibition. Angounou had surgery on Nov. 15 and will be out for three months and will apply for a medical redshirt. Also, reserve swingman Kenny Crandall is still recovering from a broken fibula suffered in April and is limited. Senior Curtis Millage, the team's leading returning scorer from last year, missed both exhibition games and the first three games due to an eligibility issue.
PAC-10 POLL: ASU was picked fourth by the Pac-10 Media, announced Nov. 6. It marks the highest preseason prediction for ASU since 1994-95 when it was picked fourth. Arizona was a unanimous choice for the top spot among the 27 media types. The poll: 1. UA; 2. UO; 3. UCLA; 4. ASU; 5. Cal; 6. USC; 7. Stanford; 8. OSU; 9. UW; 10. WSU.
LAST YEAR'S REVIEW: ASU (14-15; 7-11 in Pac-10) beat four NCAA Tournament teams last season, including three from the Pac-10. ASU beat Pac-10 Champion Oregon 95-88 on Jan. 6, No. 10 Arizona 88-72 on Jan. 23 and won at No. 20 UCLA 69-68 on Feb. 16. It marked the first time ASU has topped Arizona and UCLA in the same season since 1985-86. The Sun Devils were 13-9 in mid-February but three key injuries and a streak of games to finish the year against six straight ranked teams put ASU at 14-14 before it lost at UNLV 96-91 in the NIT. ASU went 4-9 against NCAA Tournament teams as it also beat Utah and finished the regular season by playing 11 of its final 13 games against NCAA squads. ASU's six-game stretch to finish the regular season was the first time in school history it played six straight ranked teams.
ROB EVANS: Rob Evans (150-144/.510) is in his fifth season at Arizona State in 2002-2003 (11th overall) 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 after going 44-65 (.403) in his first four 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 56-year old Evans is a 1968 graduate of New Mexico State, where he captained two NCAA Tournament teams, is a 1989 inductee of the Athletic Hall of Fame and was named to the school's All-Time team. He is 64-63 (.504) at ASU. Evans' Ole Miss squads were known as 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 nationally. 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 106-79 (.572) in the past seven seasons.
ALREADY MAKING HIS MARK: Ike Diogu's 27-point performance against Lafayette on Nov. 30 tied for the fourth-best freshman scoring mark in ASU history. It marked the best scoring mark by a freshman since Mario Bennett set the mark with 35 against fifth-ranked Arizona on Feb. 20, 1992. A look at the top freshman scoring games in the ASU record books:
ASU FRESHMAN SINGLE-GAME POINTS1. 35 - Mario Bennett vs. #5 Arizona, Feb. 20, 19922. 31 - Byron Scott vs. #18 Arizona, Feb. 23, 19803. 29 - Jamal Faulkner vs. #2 Arkansas (NCAA), March 17, 19914. 27 - Ike Diogu vs. Lafayette, Nov. 30, 2002 27 - Jamal Faulkner at Oregon, Feb. 28, 1991 27 - Byron Scott vs. Arizona, Dec. 27, 1979