ASU's Season Ends With Loss To No. 22 Arizona

By Brian Gomez,

TUCSON -- A frustrating Pac-10 season came to an end Sunday for the Arizona State men's basketball team the same way in which it started - with a lopsided loss to Arizona.

Redshirt freshman guard Kevin Kruger and junior guard Stevie Moore combined for 41 points, and sophomore forward Ike Diogu scored in double figures for the 59th straight game, but ASU couldn't stop UA's balanced scoring attack, and dropped a 106-81 decision before 14,587 at McKale Center.

Five Wildcats scored in double figures, as junior guard Salim Stoudamire and sophomore guard Hassan Adams had 21 apiece to lead the way. Sophomore guard Chris Rodgers and junior center Channing Frye each pitched in 20 points, and sophomore forward Andre Iguodala finished with 12 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.

Kruger paced the Sun Devils with a career-high 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting from three-point range, and Moore and Diogu had 19 apiece. Diogu also had a game-high 14 rebounds, his most since Jan. 24 against Oregon State.

ASU committed 18 turnovers and shot 43.8 percent from the field, compared to a 54.2 percent effort by UA, which swept the season series between the rivals and beat the Sun Devils for the ninth straight time in Tucson.

'They made runs on us when we made mistakes,' said ASU coach Rob Evans, whose team trailed by 13 points early in the second half before Frye came alive, and the Wildcats pulled away. 'We shot the ball a little too quick, and we did some things that young basketball teams do that you can't do on the road against good teams.'

Kruger drilled back-to-back three-point shots in the opening two minutes of the second half, trimming UA's 14-point halftime lead to 53-40 with 18 minutes remaining, but Frye converted his second straight three-point play, and then tossed in four more points, as the Wildcats (19-8, 11-7 Pac-10) grabbed a 60-45 edge.

UA took control for good with about 16 minutes to go by scoring 13 unanswered points, four of which came from Rodgers on a pair of driving layups. The Sun Devils (10-17, 4-14) went more than six minutes without a field goal during the game-breaking stretch.

'They weren't really getting into their half-court offense, they were mainly getting transition baskets,' said Moore, who shot 8-for-12 from the field. 'We didn't find the right people, and they were hitting big shots.'

ASU stayed close early behind Kruger, who overcame foul trouble to sink three three-pointers in the opening five minutes, when the Sun Devils built an 11-8 lead, their largest of the game.

UA went ahead 26-15 with 11:26 left before the break on consecutive three-point shots by Stoudamire, but ASU pulled within one point less than four minutes later on a 10-0 run that was capped by Moore's three-pointer from the top of the key.

The Wildcats outscored the Sun Devils 20-7 over the final seven minutes of the first half, as Rodgers tossed in five straight points, before Iguodala added four in a row on a turnaround jumper and a dunk.

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March 7, 2004

AP Sports Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. - Chris Rodgers scored a career-high 20 points and No. 22Arizona wrapped up its regular season with a 106-81 victory over Arizona Stateon Sunday.

Salim Stoudamire and Hassan Adams added 21 points apiece for the Wildcats(19-8, 11-7 Pac-10), who beat Arizona State for the 18th time in 19 tries.

Channing Frye scored 20, Andre Iguodala had 12 points and 11 rebounds andMustafa Shakur had a career-best 11 assists with just one turnover for Arizona.The freshman point guard's previous best was seven assists.

The game had no bearing on the Pac-10 tournament seedings. Arizona wound upthird, its lowest finish since 1997. Arizona State (10-17, 4-14) finished lastand didn't qualify for the tournament.

The Wildcats will play Southern California in the first round of theconference tournament on Thursday.

Freshman Kenny Kruger scored a career-best 22 points for the Sun Devils. IkeDiogu, the Pac-10 scoring leader, had 19 points and 14 rebounds. The sophomorecenter has scored in double figures in all 59 of his college games. StevieMoore also scored 19 for ASU.

Arizona's 18-4 run put the Wildcats up 26-13 on Rodgers' 3-pointer with11:20 left in the half. But Diogu scored the first four in a 10-0 spurt thatcut the Wildcats' lead to 26-25 on Stevie Moore's 3-pointer 7:34 before thebreak.

Rodgers followed with a 3-pointer and Arizona was off and running again.Rodgers scored eight in 20-2 outburst that gave the Wildcats a 46-27 lead with1:01 to play in the half.

Arizona State scored the last five points of the half to make it 46-32, butArizona turned it on again to start the second half. The Wildcats made nine oftheir first 11 shots. The Sun Devils were down 60-47 after Diogu's two freethrows with 16 minutes to play.

Arizona scored the next 13, the last two on Stoudamire's steal and no-lookpass to Rodgers for a layup, to go up 73-47 with 12:13 remaining.

Arizona shot 57 percent in the second half (21-for-37) and 54 percent forthe game (39-for-72).

Rodgers - the sixth man in what usually is a six-man rotation - made 8-of-10shots, 3-of-4 3-pointers. His previous career-best was 17 points.

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