Men's Hoops Take On Trojans Saturday At 6 p.m. PT
Jan. 16, 2004
ASU FACES TROJANS: The Arizona State men's basketball team (6-7/0-4 in the Pac-10), coming off its first 20-win season since 1995 and just its second in the past dozen years, takes on the USC Trojans on Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MST at the Sports Arena. The Sun Devils, with six first-year players currently in the rotation and another out with injury, are led by preseason All-American Ike Diogu, who is averaging 22.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and has scored in double digits in all 45 games of his career, the best active streak in the nation. The sophomore is averaging 11.1 free throw attempts per game on the year and is now 300-of-389 (.771) from the free throw line in his career. He has 20 career 20-point games and 11 career double-doubles (four this year) and eight other games with nine rebounds. This season, he has four 30-point games, eight 20-point games and 33 blocks after posting 31 in 32 games last year.
A MIXED BUNCH: Ten players getting a starting nod through 13 games, six starting lineups, seven newcomers playing significant minutes, a player who has not played in 15 months notches 50 minutes in his first two games last week and a starting freshman guard who was averaging 21.6 minutes per game breaking his nose has contributed to ASU's early season struggles. ASU lost 477 games of experience from last year when its six seniors graduated, as those players accounted for 117 minutes per game and Ike Diogu is the only returning starter from the NCAA win over Memphis. Tron Smith, a guard who had started six of the first seven games, broke his nose in practice over the holiday break and had surgery on Jan. 6 and is likely out until at least late January after also battling pneumonia. Serge Angounou, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, returned for his first game action on Jan. 8 vs. Stanford after rehabbing since his injury on Nov. 13, 2002, in an exhibition game.
OLD SCHOOL THREES: Ike Diogu has been fouled when making a shot 43 times in his career and has made 31-of-43 (.721) of the free throws that followed.
VS. UCLA: ASU had season-lows in points (58), three-point field goals (one), three-point shooting (1-of-13 for .077), assists (five), second-half points (33) and bench points (seven), yet was within three points in the final minute in a 66-58 loss at UCLA on Thursday. ASU was just 7-of-24 (.292) from the field in the first half and fell behind 34-25 at intermission. Stevie Moore led ASU with 17 points, while Ike Diogu added 15 points and Jason Braxton had 13, all of them coming in the second half. ASU was outrebounded 39-29.
VS. USC: USC leads the ASU series 39-27 and has won nine of the past 11, but ASU played one of best games in the past decade in the last meeting. ASU jumped out to a 46-12 lead at the 4:20 mark of the first half en route to a 58-30 halftime lead on Feb. 13, 2003, and cruised to a 108-78 win in Tempe. ASU posted season-highs for points (108), free throws (32), first half points (58) and matched its season-high with 50 second-half points. Ike Diogu is 17-of-21 (.810) from the floor against USC and 15-of-18 (.833) from the free throw line and is averaging 25 points. ASU's last win at USC came on Feb. 15, 1996, as it has lost seven straight to the Trojans at the Sports Arena, its second longest drought against Pac-10 foes as it has lost eight straight in Tucson.
L.A. ROAD TRIP: The Los Angeles road trip has been the toughest for ASU, as it has swept it just twice in 25 years of Pac-10 play, in 1986-87 and in 1979-80. Last year ASU won 75-64 at UCLA but fell 76-74 at USC as Ike Diogu was 13-of-17 (.765) from the floor on the trip and averaged 20 points per game. The Sun Devils shot 52.5 percent from the field (52-of-99) on the trip, but committed a season-high 20 turnovers in each game.
BEFORE AND AFTER: 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 68-34 (.667) after the rebuilding process.
Rob Evans: Rob Evans (172-160/.518) 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 and is 86-79 (.521) at ASU. He is 129-91 (.586) in the past seven seasons.
PLAYER QUICK NOTES
#0 Allen Morill: 17-of-25 (.680) from the free throw line...seven points vs. Western Michigan on Dec. 20...eight points and eight boards vs. Temple on Dec. 9...one of three Texans on scholarship.
#1 Jason Braxton: Has played in all 74 games in career and started in 58...averaging 29.1 minutes per game this year after averaging 21.5 his first two seasons...13 points, all of them in the second half, at UCLA on Jan. 15 and vs. fourth-ranked Stanford on Jan. 8...seven assists vs. fourth-ranked Arizona on Jan. 3...15 points and 10 assists vs. San Diego on Dec. 29.
#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).
#5 Ike Diogu: A 2004 Associated Press Preseason All-American, the first in Sun Devil history and just the 11th in Pac-10 history...31 points and 13 boards vs. California on Jan. 10...13 points, six boards and a career-high six assists vs. Stanford on Jan. 8...matched school records with 18 made free throws and 23 attempts vs. Western Michigan on Dec. 30.
#12 Kenny Crandall: Has made 33-of-38 (.868) of his free throws in Pac-10 games in his career and is 53-of-69 (.768) overall...17-of-20 (.850) free throws last year...broke right fibula on April 17, 2002, in a dirt-bike accident.
#13 Kevin Kruger: Played season-high 29 minutes on Jan. 10 vs. California...11-of-14 (.786) from the free throw line on the year...increased his minutes in each of the first six games...played 14 minutes, all in the second half, vs. Temple on Dec. 9 and had six points, two assists and zero turnovers.
#21 Stevie Moore: Sixteen points vs. fourth-ranked Stanford on Jan. 8...explosive wing who scored 20 second-half points at Nebraska and led ASU with 22 points...led Sun Devils with 23 points vs. fourth-ranked Arizona on Jan. 3...three 20-point games...southpaw who posted 26 points in season opener vs. Arkansas-Little Rock on Nov. 22...went 10-of-10 from the free throw line vs. UA-LR.
#22 Jamal Hill: Double-digit scorer in five games in 2003-2004...15 points vs. fourth-ranked Arizona on Jan. 3...18 points vs. San Diego on Dec. 29...34-of-44 (.772) from the free throw line in his career.
#23 Tron Smith: Freshman who has started six games and is averaging 21.6 minutes per game, but is out until at least the end of January with a broken nose...had surgery on Jan. 6.
#24 Justin Allen: Started against both Stanford on Jan. 8 and vs. California on Jan. 10...five points and six rebounds in nine minutes vs. San Diego on Dec. 29...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 84 games in three-year career.
#34 Wilfried Fameni: Posted 11 boards in 32 minutes at Nebraska on Dec. 3...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...13 rebounds vs. UC Riverside is tied for the sixth-most by a freshman in ASU history.