Sun Devils Fall To UCLA, 66-58

Jan 15, 2004

By Brian Gomez, TheSunDevils.com

LOS ANGELES - The Arizona State men's basketball team featured another new look Thursday, yet couldn't overcome the same problems that have lingered throughout the season.

Plagued by poor shooting and an inability to box out, particularly on the defensive end, ASU was unable to keep pace with upstart UCLA, and dropped a 66-58 decision to the Bruins before 9,327 at Pauley Pavilion.

The loss marked the fifth straight for the Sun Devils, who remained winless in the Pac-10, despite receiving an early spark from redshirt freshman forward Serge Angounou in his first career start.

'We had the shots we wanted, and I thought we executed pretty well, but we just didn't make shots,' said ASU head coach Rob Evans, whose team shot 19-for-54 from the field and 1-for-13 from three-point range, and was outrebounded 39-29, negating 17 forced turnovers.

Even sure-handed sophomore forward Ike Diogu struggled on a frustrating night in which the Sun Devils (6-7, 0-4 Pac-10) didn't have quite enough rhythm on offense to match their newfound defensive intensity.

Constantly swarmed with double teams in the post, Diogu managed 15 points on a 3-for-14 effort from the field before fouling out for only the fourth time in his 45-game career with 4:29 remaining.

Junior guards Steve Moore and Jason Braxton helped compensate for Diogu by combining for 30 points, although no other Sun Devils scored in double figures. Angounou had four points in 20 minutes.

'I missed some real close shots,' Diogu said. 'I was just missing open looks that I normally hit.'

UCLA (9-3, 5-0) used an 11-4 run over the final five minutes of the first half to gain a 34-25 lead at intermission, and wasted little time extending its cushion to double digits after the break.

Junior swingman Dijon Thompson's back-to-back jumpers gave the Bruins a 10-point lead, which grew to 13 points when junior guard Janou Rubin scored on a driving layup off the glass.

Leading 51-38 with 7:59 to go, UCLA suddenly went cold, and ASU began chipping away at the large deficit. Braxton keyed the comeback, scoring 11 straight points on a plethora of athletic drives to the basket to bring the Sun Devils within four points with 42 seconds left.

ASU freshman forward Wilfried Fameni's three-pointer trimmed the lead to 61-58 with 24.4 seconds remaining after senior forward T.J. Cummings made a pair of free throws, however, the Bruins responded. Junior guard Cedric Bozeman and Thompson each made two free throws in the closing 23 seconds to put the game away.

'We're in a slump and a losing streak, and it's really demoralizing,' said Braxton, who scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. 'We can't stand losing. It's the worst feeling in the world.'

Cummings marked game highs with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Thompson added 19 points, and freshman forward Trevor Ariza tossed in 16 points.

UP NEXT: ASU continues its Pac-10 road swing at 7 p.m. MST Saturday against Southern California. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and heard on ESPN Radio 860 AM.

Reach the reporter at brian.gomez@asu.edu.

By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES - T.J. Cummings had 21 points and 12 rebounds and UCLAdefeated Arizona State 66-58 Thursday night for the Bruins' first 5-0 Pac-10start in nine years.

UCLA (9-3) took over sole possession of first place in the conference fromidle Stanford (4-0). The Bruins were a season removed from winning the 1995national championship when they opened conference play with a 5-0 mark in1995-96 under Jim Harrick.

Arizona State (6-7, 0-4) lost its fifth straight game and had its three-gamewinning streak against the Bruins snapped. Last season, the Sun Devils sweptUCLA for just the second time in school history.

Arizona State's Ike Diogu fouled out with 4:29 remaining and finished with15 points - below his Pac-10-leading average of 23.4. The sophomore extendedhis streak of double-figure scoring games to 45, which leads the nation.

Diogu grabbed six rebounds - three less than his average - as the Sun Devilswere outrebounded 39-29.

Steve Moore led the Sun Devils with 17 points and Jason Braxton added 13.Arizona State shot just 35 percent for the game.

The Bruins have had trouble holding onto leads recently, and they nearly letanother one get away. Dijon Thompson hit a 3-pointer to give UCLA a 54-42 lead.Then Diogu scored his last basket and Braxton took over, scoring 11 straightpoints to draw the Sun Devils to 59-55 with 42 seconds left.

Cummings hit two free throws for a 61-55 lead. Then Wilfried Fameni hit a3-pointer to get Arizona State within three points with 24 seconds left.Thompson kept up his recent clutch performances at the line, hitting two freethrows for a 65-58 lead.

Thompson added 19 points and Trevor Ariza had 16 for UCLA, which made12-of-14 free throws over the final 4� minutes.

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