Men's Hoops Looks For Best Four-Game Start Since 1994-95 Wednesday

Nov. 29, 2005

SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State University men's basketball team takes on the North Texas Mean Green (1-1) on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2005 at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU will try and improve to 4-0 for the first time since 1994-95 and for the second time in just 20 seasons, as it topped UCSB 73-57 on Monday, outscoring the Gauchos 44-28 in the second half to improve to 3-0. After starting the game 1-of-12 (.083) from the field, ASU shot 22-of-40 (.550) the rest of the way and put five players in double figures, as Antwi Atuahene had 15 points and nine boards. ASU is 1-1 against North Texas, winning 75-66 on Dec. 2, 1972, and falling 89-86 on the road on Jan. 12, 1976.

NOTES FROM FIRST THREE GAMES: Bryson Krueger played a career-high 37 minutes against Alcorn State after playing a career-high 34 against Southern Utah. He played 35 minutes against UCSB...Craig Austin's 21 points vs. Southern Utah not only was a career-high, it was four more points than he scored all of last season. The sophomore scored 17 points in 17 games last year...ASU had 13 steals vs. SUU, matching last season's season-high set in the first game against Jackson State...ASU forced 27 turnovers against SUU, tied for the seventh-most by a Rob Evans' team in his 380 career games and the most forced by ASU since Dec. 22, 2003 (31 against McNeese State)...Tyrone Jackson played a career-high 29 minutes and Kevin Kruger had a career-high four steals against Southern Utah.

FIRST TWO GAMES: ASU topped Southern Utah 82-62 in its season opener on Wednesday (Nov. 23) behind a career-high 21 points from Craig Austin and then came back from a seven-point second-half deficit (52-45 at 14:40) to top Alcorn State 86-74 on Saturday behind 21-point efforts from Bryson Krueger and Kevin Kruger. ASU made 32-of-40 (.800) free throws against Alcorn State, its most made free throws since it hit 35 in the season opener against Arkansas-Little Rock on Nov. 22, 2003 (past 60 games).

AT THE FREE THROW STRIPE: ASU has continued its solid free throw shooting from the past two seasons by making 78-of-99 from the charity stripe (.788) through the first three games. ASU made free throws at a 73.5 percent rate in 2003-2004, the fifth-best mark in ASU history and the second-best in the previous 17 seasons, and then came back with the tenth-best effort in school history last year. A look at the best free throw teams in ASU history.

ASU TOP SEASON FT%1.      75.6    - 19782.      75.4    - 19553.      74.6    - 1998, 19875.      73.5    - 20046.      73.0    - 19577.      72.9    - 20008.      72.1    - 19899.      72.0    - 198210.     71.6    - 2005

AT WELLS FARGO ARENA: The Sun Devils are 45-21 (.682) in the past five seasons and are 78-42 (.650) under Evans in his eight years in Wells Fargo Arena. His 1999-2000 team went 14-3, matching the school record for home wins, while last year's team was 13-5. After the game against North Texas on Wednesday (Nov. 30) at 7 p.m. ASU then hosts Minnesota on Monday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Net. Minnesota was 21-11 last year and went to the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

NIGHTMARE FOR OPPONENTS: Kevin Kruger was one of three Sun Devils who averaged double-digit scoring in Pac-10 play (11.8 ppg.) and had 17 double-digit scoring games in 2004-2005. He averaged 12.2 points in the final 13 games, has made 148-of-183 (.809) free throws in his 62-game career. He matched a career-high with 22 points vs. #14 Washington at the Pac-10 Tournament on March 10. He has started 18 games in his career and was second on the team in minutes per game last year, averaging 29.8 minutes per game.

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