Men's Hoops Takes On Two 2004 NCAA Tournament Teams In Las Vegas

Nov. 24, 2004

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ASU PLAYING SEVEN GAMES IN 16 DAYS TO GET STARTED: The Arizona State men's basketball team is opening the year with seven games in 16 days and travels to Las Vegas to play UTEP on Friday, Nov. 26, at Valley High School at 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 MST as part of the Las Vegas Invitational. ASU then takes on either Vanderbilt or Southern Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 27. UTEP, Southern Illinois and Vanderbilt all made the 2004 NCAA Tournament. UTEP (24-8 last year) is picked to win the WAC and Southern Illinois (25-5) is picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference. ASU then goes straight from Las Vegas to Temple, where it takes on Hall of Fame coach John Chaney on Nov. 30.

AGAINST DELAWARE STATE: ASU topped Delaware State 67-56 on Nov. 23 behind Ike Diogu's 32 points and nine boards. Diogu tied his own school record with 18 free throws made on 21 attempts. ASU held Delaware State to 5-of-22 (.227) from the field in the second half. Kevin Kruger added 12 points off the bench for ASU, including three three-pointers. It marked the sixth 30-point game for Diogu in his 61-game career.

IN THE OPENER: ASU beat Jackson State 79-48 on Nov. 21, 2004, to win its 15th straight home opener. Ike Diogu led the way with 24 points, his 60th straight game in double digits and his 30th 20-point game. ASU held the Tigers to just 16-of-60 (.267) from the floor, the fifth-best defensive effort by any Rob Evans-coached team (348 games overall) and the third-best mark in his ASU tenure (181 games). The Sun Devils posted 13 steals, their most since they had 14 vs. Prairie View A & M on Dec. 1, 2001, a span of the previous 84 games.

DIOGU NOTES: Ike Diogu averaged 22.8 points per game in 2003-2004, which not only led the Pac-10 but was ninth in the nation. Diogu entered 2004-2005 season as the nation's third-leading returning scorer and is the first Pac-10 scoring leader to be back on campus the following season since Reggie Miller won the honors in 1985-86 and returned in 1986-87. He also averaged a Pac-10 best 36.9 minutes per game and grabbed 8.9 rebounds per game (second in the Pac-10). The junior has scored in double digits in all 61 career games, the best active streak in the nation. The Garland, Texas, native averaged 11.03 free throw attempts per game last year and broke the 40 year-old Pac-10 season record for free throws made with 243. He now has six 30-point games, 31 20-point games, 15 double-doubles and 11 other games with nine rebounds.

Points Per Game, Nation's Top Returning Scorers FROM 2003-2004	'04 Rk.	Name, Team	Cl.	G	FGM	3FG	FT	PTS	PPG	1.	Keydren Clark, St. Peters	So.	29	233	112	197	775	26.7	4.	Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont	Jr.	24	203	14	159	579	24.1	9.	Ike Diogu, Arizona State	So.	27	179	14	243	615	22.8	17.	Jose Juan Barea, Northeastern	So.	26	180	73	105	538	20.7	18.	Ken Tutt, Oral Roberts	Fr.	28	193	101	92	579	20.7

VS. LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL FIELD: ASU is 51-44 against UTEP but has not played the Miners since Dec. 3, 1984, when UTEP topped ASU 68-57. ASU is 2-0 against Vanderbilt (65-53 in 1981-82 and 67-61 in 1994-95) and is 2-1 against Southern Illinois. ASU beat the Salukis 79-78 in 1965-66, lost 62-59 in 1967-68 and won 92-74 in 1979-80.

RECRUITS GET HIGH MARKS IN SUMMER: ASU's incoming recruiting class is ranked 14th (tied with Indiana) in the nation by Clark Francis of Hoop Scoop. ASU added guard Tyrone Jackson of Fresno City College, wing Bryson Krueger of Yavapai College, wing Tim Pierce of Hercules High School in Oakland and forward Craig Austin of El Camino High School in San Diego to its roster. Others ranked in the top 15 from the Pac-10 include Oregon (eighth) and USC and UCLA (tied for ninth). The rankings were in the June issue of Basketball Times.

DEVIL DATA: ASU was third in the nation in free throw attempts at 27.56 per game, behind only Texas Southern (28.3) and Niagara (28.2)...ASU shot 73.5 percent from the free throw line, the fifth-best mark in school history, second-best in the past 17 seasons and fourth in the Pac-10...ASU went 19-of-20 (.950) from the free throw line against UCLA on Feb. 12, which set the school single-game mark for 20 attempts...Kevin Kruger provided a spark in the final nine games, averaging 29.0 minutes, 12.4 points and shot 27-of-59 (.448) from the three-point stripe. He was the team's second-leading scorer in those nine games...the Sun Devils are 31-16 (.660) in the past four seasons and are 64-37 (.634) under Evans in his seven years in Wells Fargo Arena.

VS. TEMPLE: The first four games between the Owls and Sun Devils have been at neutral sites, as ASU leads the series 3-1, with the last meeting a 70-66 win on Dec. 9, 2003, at Phoenix's America West Arena. Prior to that, the previous meeting was a 73-65 Sun Devil win on Dec. 27, 1976, in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. ASU also won 74-67 on Dec. 28, 1971, also in the Rainbow Classic. Temple's win over ASU was 82-63 on Dec. 28, 1966, in Oklahoma City. Rob Evans is 2-1 vs. Temple, as his Ole Miss Rebels fell to Temple 62-40 on March 14, 1997, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Kansas City. Ole Miss topped No. 18 Temple 87-74 the next season in Oxford. ASU made a 15-4 run in the final four minutes and Ike Diogu had nine of his 23 points in the final 3:09 in last year's Sun Devil win. ASU held Temple to 33.8 field goal shooting and just nine assists, both opponent season-lows, in a game that had 43 fouls. Steve Moore added 15 points.

ACADEMICALLY: Despite published reports that say 'the state's three public universities have graduated only two male basketball players in the past five years' and '...not a single men's basketball player graduated from the three institutions last year' ASU has had success in the classroom recently. Here's a look at scholarship players already earning degrees who have played for Rob Evans: Kenny Crandall (B.I.S., Business and Communications, 2004), Justin Allen (B.S., Justice Studies, 2003), Tyson Johnston (B.A., Sociology 2003), Chad Prewitt (B.I.S., Business and Communications, 2002), Awvee Storey (B.I.S., Sociology, 2001), Okeme Oziwo (B.S.W., Social Work, 1999) and Bobby Lazor (B.S., Marketing, 1998).

MORE DIOGU: Ike Diogu's national-best double figure scoring streak of 61 games still has a ways to go until it reaches NCAA-record levels. The NCAA record is 115 set by La Salle's Lionel Simmons from 1987-90. Diogu's lowest point total in his career was 10 against Morehead State on Nov. 22, 2003, the first game of his career.

OLD SCHOOL THREES: Ike Diogu has been fouled when making a shot 61 times in his career and has made 43-of-61 (.705) of the free throws that followed.

SP: ASU will wear 'SP' on its white (home) uniforms in honor of former Sun Devil coach Stever Patterson, who passed away this past summer.