Sun Devil Host Annual Holiday Tourney Dec. 29-30, ASU Games On AZ-TV

Dec. 22, 2003

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ASU HOSTS HOLIDAY TOURNEY: The Arizona State men's basketball team (5-2), coming off its first 20-win season since 1995 and just its second in the past dozen years, plays host to the azcentral.com Hoops Classic on Monday (Dec. 29) and Tuesday (Dec. 30). Last season, the Sun Devils advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995 and for the third time in 22 seasons. Western Michigan takes on Winthrop in the opening round at 2:30 p.m., while ASU takes on San Diego at 5 p.m. The azcentral.com Hoops Classic is in its 37th year in 2003 and is a joint effort of the Fiesta Bowl, azcentral.com (the online edition of the Arizona Republic) and ASU. ASU has won 27 of the 36 events (11 of the past 14) including championship victories against Georgia, Texas, Northwestern (twice), Detroit, 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 (exceptions in 1966, 1969 and 2000). ASU's all-time record is 60-12 (.833) and is 9-1 (.900) under Rob Evans.

Sophomore preseason AP All-American Ike Diogu is averaging 24.9 points while junior college transfer Stevie Moore is averaging 15.9. Moore is 17-of-47 (.362) from the three-point stripe through the first seven games. Through seven games last year, ASU as a team was 25-of-86 (.291). ASU also has been solid at the free throw line, as it is shooting 72.9 percent from the charity stripe (159-of-218). The Sun Devils are averaging 31.1 free throw attempts per game, including Diogu's 11.3 per contest. ASU is coming off an 81-61 win over McNeese State on Dec. 22 as it forced 31 Cowboy turnovers. ASU jumped out to a 46-22 halftime lead in the win, its first halftime lead in five games.

WE LIKE IKE EVEN MORE: Sophomore Ike Diogu, ASU's first Associated Press Preseason All-American, is now 246-of-324 (.759) from the free throw line in his 39-game career. Including his career-high 38 points vs. McNeese State on Dec. 22, he now has 18 games of at least 20 points and has scored in double digits in all 39 contests. In his past 21 games (14 to finish last year and seven this year), he is averaging 21.5 points and 9.2 rebounds. Diogu's 38 points vs. McNeese State on Dec. 22 is the most by a Sun Devil since Eddie House had 40 vs. UCLA on Feb. 17, 2000, a span of the past 105 games. He has six 20-point games on the year. Diogu also has eight career double-doubles (one this year) and seven other games with nine rebounds. He also is 13-of-34 (.382) from the three-point stripe in his career.

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 67-30 (.691) after the rebuilding process.

QUICK NOTES: ASU is 16-3 (.842) at home in the past two seasons, 26-8 (.765) in the past three seasons and 59-29 (.670) 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 averaged 20 minutes in three straight games off the bench against Nebraska, Temple and Northwestern before playing three minutes due to illness against McNeese State. 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 5.14 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 110-of-138 (.797) from the free throw line...ASU went 46-45 (.505) in the three years prior to Jason Braxton joining the program and is 39-29 (.574) 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. ASU has seven newcomers in its regular rotations...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).

Rob Evans: Rob Evans (171-155/.525) is in his sixth season at Arizona State (12th 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, winning two SEC West titles, and led Ole Miss to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1937-38. The 57-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 85-74 (.535) at ASU. Evans' Ole Miss squads were known as tough man-to-man teams which ranked 13th in the nation in 1997-98 in rebounding at +6.6. 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 128-86 (.598) in the past seven seasons.

PLAYER QUICK NOTES

#0 Allen Morill: Averaged 20 minutes in three straight games against Nebraska, Temple and Northwestern before playing just three minutes due to illness against McNeese State...had six points and five boards at Northwestern on Dec. 17...posted eight points and eight boards vs. Temple on Dec. 9...sophomore who sat last year to concentrate on academics...14-of-18 (.778) from the free throw line...strong physical presence...one of three Texans on scholarship...good court awareness and tough to move near the basket...five boards in 16 minutes at Nebraska on Dec. 3...made all four free throws in eight minutes vs. UC Riverside on Nov. 29...played nine minutes in season opener vs. Arkansas-Little Rock on Nov. 22.

#1 Jason Braxton: Has played in all 68 games in career and started in 52...averaging 31.0 minutes per game this year after averaging 21.5 his first two seasons...10 points, seven assists and six boards vs. Arkansas-Little Rock in season opener on Nov. 22...posted a career high 17 points in NCAA loss to sixth-ranked Kansas on March 22, 2003.

#2 Keith Wooden: One of four Sun Devil freshmen to start the opening game of the season in the past 11 years, joining classmate Tron Smith (2003-04), Ike Diogu (2002-03) and Donnell Knight (1999-2000)...six points vs. McNeese State on Dec. 22...six points and six boards in 17 minutes in vs. UA-LR on Nov. 22.

#5 Ike Diogu: A 2004 Associated Press Preseason All-American, the first in Sun Devil history and just the 11th in Pac-10 history...six 20-point games on the year...2003 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and an All-Pac-10 selection...has scored in double digits in all 39 games in career...18 20-point games in his career and eight career double-doubles...two 30-point games this season...2002-2003 honorable mention All-American by Associated Press...27 points and Pac-10 Tournament record 18 rebounds vs. Oregon on March 13, 2003...26 points vs. both USC and UCLA on Feb. 13-15, 2003, and was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for his efforts, just the third freshman to be named Pac-10 Player of the Week in the past six seasons.

#12 Kenny Crandall: Has made 33-of-38 (.868) of his free throws in Pac-10 games in his three-year career and is 53-of-69 (.768) overall...averaged 7.5 minutes in his final 13 games last year...played 20 minutes at top-ranked Arizona on Jan. 22, 2003, and made 4-of-7 three-pointers and had season-high 12 points...17-of-20 (.850) free throws last year...broke right fibula on April 17, 2002, in a dirt-bike accident and played through pain all of 2002-2003.

#13 Kevin Kruger: Increased his minutes in each of the first six games, beginning with one minute in the season opener and then playing 27 in the sixth game at Northwestern on Dec. 17...dependable and sturdy guard...played 27 minutes at Northwestern on Dec. 17 and had four assists...played 14 minutes, all in the second half, vs. Temple on Dec. 9 and had six points, two assists and zero turnovers...also had steal with under a minute to give ASU a chance to win the Temple game while tied...played 16 minutes in first four games.

#21 STEVIE MOORE: Explosive wing who scored 20 second-half points at Nebraska and led ASU with 22 points...two 20-point games...16 points in 33 minutes on 6-of-8 shooting vs. UC Riverside on Nov. 29...14 points, nine boards and five assists in 30 minutes vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 24...southpaw who posted 26 points in season opener vs. Arkansas-Little Rock on Nov. 22, the most points by a Sun Devil in a his debut since Isaac Burton had 28 vs. BYU on Nov. 27, 1993...went 10-of-10 from the free throw line vs. UA-LR.

#22 Jamal Hill: Double-digit scorer in three games in 2003-2004...both a starter (four games) and first player off the bench in 2002-2003...averaged 12.5 points on the 2003 Washington road trip and played 31 minutes without a turnover in the overtime win at Washington...28-of-38 (.737) from the free throw line in his career...posted 14 points against both Washington (Jan. 9) and Washington State (Jan. 11)...was in double figures in 10 games last year.

#23 Tron Smith: Freshman who has started six games and is averaging 21.6 minutes per game...posted eight points vs. McNeese State (Dec. 22), vs. Temple (Dec. 9) and vs. Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 24)...also had five boards vs. Temple.

#24 Justin Allen: Had six points on two second-half three-pointers at Northwestern on Dec. 17...posted five points, six boards and 19 minutes, the most he has played since he learned he had Hodgkin's Disease in fall of 2000, vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 24...redshirted 2000-2001 season with Hodgkin's Disease...recipient of the 2003 V Foundation Comeback Award, given annually to someone in all of college basketball who embodies the spirit and courage of Jimmy Valvano...has played in 78 games in three-year career...played in 19 games last season.

#34 Wilfried Fameni: Posted 11 boards in 32 minutes at Nebraska on Dec. 3...yes, his first name is spelled with two 'i's', that is not a typo...became just the third Sun Devil freshman in the past 12 seasons to register a double-double with his 16-point, 13-rebound performance vs. UC Riverside on Nov. 29. Chad Prewitt posted one double-double in 1998-99 and Ike Diogu had seven last year...13 rebounds vs. UC Riverside is tied for the sixth-most by a freshman in ASU history...11 points vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 24...opened year with 11 points and eight boards vs. Arkansas-Little Rock on Nov. 22 off the bench.

LEVER ASU'S CHOICE FOR 2004 PAC-10 HALL OF HONOR: Athletic Director Gene Smith and Rob Evans announced that the Sun Devil family will induct Lafayette 'Fat' Lever into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in the spring of 2004. The Hall of Honor inducted its first class in March of 2002 at the Pac-10 Tournament Hall of Honor Banquet. Byron Scott was ASU's initial inductee while Ned Wulk was inducted on March 12, 2003. The Pac-10 Basketball Hall of Honor was created to recognize athletes and coaches who have made significant contributions to the tradition and heritage of the Pac-10 Conference. This year's banquet will be held on March 10, the night before the Pac-10 men's basketball tournament begins.

Lever is a 1988 Arizona State Hall of Fame inductee who was a four-year letterman from 1978-82 who returned to school and finished his B.A. in Education in 1996. Included in his four years was the 1979-80 season as the Sun Devils finished 22-7, second in the Pac-10 at 15-3, with a national top-20 ranking in both wire service polls and an NCAA Tournament berth. In 1980-81, ASU went 24-4 and concluded the season with an upset-victory at undefeated, top-ranked and Pac-10 champion Oregon State. A three-year starter, Lever earned second-team Associated Press All-American honors in 1981-82. He earned All-Pac-10 accolades in 1980-81 and 1981-82 and led ASU in assists and steals for three straight seasons. His 1,137 points ranks 19th on the school's career scoring chart. The 11th overall pick in he 1982 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers Lever played with the Trail Blazers from 1982-84, was on the Denver Nuggets squad from 1984-90 and finished his career with the Dallas Mavericks from 1990-94.

OLD NOTES: ASU's 47 free throw attempts vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 24 is tied for the eighth-most in Sun Devil history and is the second-most in the past nine seasons. ASU attempted a school-record 57 vs. Utah last year in the Maui Invtational...Steve Moore's 26 points vs. Arkansas Little Rock on Nov. 22 is the most by a Sun Devil newcomer in the first game since junior college transfer Isaac Burton scored 28 on Nov. 27, 1993, in a 106-95 Sun Devil win over Brigham Young...Stevie Moore's 10-of-10 outing at the free throw line was the first time a Sun Devil had been perfect in at least 10 free throws in a game since Arthur Thomas was 13-of-13 on Dec. 4, 1987, against San Diego State.

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