Men's Basketball Hosts McNeese State Monday At 6 p.m.

Dec. 21, 2003

SUN DEVILS PLAY FINAL GAME BEFORE HOLIDAYS: The Arizona State men's basketball team (4-2), coming off its first 20-win season since 1995 and just its second in the past dozen years, takes on the McNeese State Cowboys on Monday, Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. Last season, the Sun Devils advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995 and for the third time in 22 seasons. Tenth-seeded ASU topped seventh-seeded and No. 19 Memphis 84-71 in Oklahoma City before falling to sixth-ranked and second-seeded Kansas 108-76. ASU plays McNeese State and then hosts its annual holiday tournament on Dec. 29-30, as it plays San Diego in the first round. Winthrop and Western Michigan complete the field.

ASU has two scorers averaging 17 points, as sophomore preseason AP All-American Ike Diogu is at 22.7 while junior college transfer Steve Moore is averaging 17.0. Moore is 16-of-44 (.364) from the three-point stripe through the first six games. Through six games last year, ASU as a team was 19-of-70 (.271). ASU also has been solid at the free throw line, as it is shooting 71.7 percent from the charity stripe (134-of-187). The Sun Devils are averaging 31.2 free throw attempts per game, including Diogu's 10.6 per contest.

AT NORTHWESTERN (DEC. 17): ASU trailed at the half for the fourth straight game and fell behind by as many as 13 before taking the lead, but a T.J. Parker jump shot with no time remaining gave Northwestern a 63-61 win in Evanston. Ike Diogu led ASU with 23 points and 14 rebounds and was the only Sun Devil in double digits. ASU had just eight turnovers and outrebounded Northwestern 43-35. Northwestern had 20 assists and led 40-27 early in the second half. ASU was just 5-of-22 (.227) from the three-point stripe.

WE LIKE IKE EVEN MORE: Sophomore Ike Diogu, ASU's first Associated Press Preseason All-American, is now 232-of-309 (.751) from the free throw line in his 38-game career. Including his career-high 31 points vs. UC Riverside on Nov. 29, he now has 17 games of at least 20 points and has scored in double digits in all 38 contests. In his past 20 games (14 to finish last year and six this year), he is averaging 20.7 points and 9.3 rebounds. Diogu's 31 points vs. UC Riverside on Nov. 29 is the most by a Sun Devil in the past 45 games, as Chad Prewitt had 33 vs. Washington on Feb. 9, 2002. He has five 20-point games on the year. Diogu also has eight career double-doubles (one this year) and seven other games with nine rebounds.

QUICK NOTES: ASU is 15-3 (.833) at home in the past two seasons, 25-8 (.756) in the past three seasons and 58-29 (.667) under Rob Evans...ASU hit 10 three-pointers against Nebraska for the first time in 57 games. The last time ASU hit 10 three-pointers was on Dec. 20, 2001, at Oregon. Its 25 three-point attempts vs. the Cornhuskers is the most since it took 27 vs. UCLA on Jan. 17, 2002...Allen Morill is averaging 20 minutes in the past three games off the bench. He is 14-of-18 (.778) from the free throw line on the year...Steve Moore had 20 second-half points at Nebraska on Dec. 3. His five three-pointers made is the most by a Sun Devil since Chad Prewitt hit five at UCLA on Feb. 16, 2002...ASU is averaging 5.7 three-pointers made per game. It was last in the league last year at 4.09...ASU's top three scorers (Ike Diogu, Steve Moore and Wilfried Fameni) are shooting 90-of-113 (.796) from the free throw line...ASU went 46-45 (.505) in the three years prior to Jason Braxton joining the program and is 38-29 (.567) in the three years since...five players are seeing at least 20 minutes a game for ASU, including three in their first year of Division I hoops...this year marks the first time ASU has returned its top scorer in the past four seasons. ASU is one of four Pac-10 teams that returns its top scorer, along with USC (Desmon Farmer/18.7), Washington St. (Marcus Moore/18.2) and Washington (Nate Robinson/13.0).

PATIENCE: When Rob Evans arrived at ASU in the spring of 1998, many talked about his final two years at Ole Miss when he went 42-16 (.724) and won two SEC West titles with a program that had been to just one NCAA Tournament. Before those two seasons, Evans took a program many called 'below ground' and had a 44-65 (.403) mark in his first four seasons. At ASU, Evans was 60-60 in his first four years before the 20-12 (.625) record last year. Overall, Evans is 104-125 (.454) in his first four years of building a program and is now 66-30 (.688) after the rebuilding process.

ASU HOSTS HOLIDAY TOURNEY: Arizona State plays host to the Hoops Classic, on Monday (Dec. 29) and Tuesday (Dec. 30). Western Michigan (5-1) takes on Winthrop in the opening round at 2:30 p.m., while ASU takes on San Diego in the second game at 5 p.m. The Hoops Classic is in its 37th year in 2003 and is a joint effort of the Fiesta Bowl, (the online edition of the Arizona Republic) and Arizona State University. ASU has won 27 of the 36 events (including 11 of the past 14) including championship victories against Georgia, Texas, Northwestern (twice), Detroit Mercy, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Eastern Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska. ASU has advanced to the championship 28 of the past 29 years, and 33 of 36 overall (the only exceptions in 1966, 1969 and 2000). ASU's all-time record in the Tournament is 60-12 (.833) and is 9-1 (.900) under Rob Evans.

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