Men's Hoops Host 2005 NCAA Tournament Participant Minnesota

Dec. 4, 2005

SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State University men's basketball team (4-0) plays host to Minnesota on Monday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 p.m. at Ned Wulk Court/Wells Fargo Arena. ASU is 4-0 for the first time since 1994-95 and for just the second time in 20 seasons and will try and go 5-0 for the first time since 1985-86 against the Golden Gophers, who were 21-11 last year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. ASU advanced to the postseason for the third time in the past four seasons under Rob Evans last year as it finished 18-14 behind Pac-10 Player of the Year and consensus second-team All-American Ike Diogu. Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini will call the game for Fox Sports Net. ASU then hosts Utah Valley State on Dec. 10 (1 p.m.) before making the trip to Iowa on Sat., Dec. 17, for a 7 p.m CT tip against the 14th-ranked Hawkeyes. The Sun Devils are playing a 10-man rotation with six returners and four newcomers seeing action. Nine players are averaging at least 10 minutes per game and eight playes are averaging at least five points per game, as ASU's is using balanced scoring to make up for Diogu's 22.6 points per game last year, which was tied for fifth in the nation.

Minnesota and ASU have met three times, with Minnesota winning 70-68 in 1961-62 and 69-37 in the 1991 Maui Invitational. ASU won a 98-79 game in Tempe in the 1962-63 season.

Bryson Krueger LIGHTING IT UP: Junior Bryson Krueger has been ASU's top scorer through the first four games, as the wing is averaging 19.3 points, including a career-high 27 against North Texas. After posting double-digits in nine games and scoring at least 20 points in two games last year, Krueger has been in double figures each of the first four games and has two 20-point games. He is shooting 25-of-42 (.595) from the field, 10-of-15 (.667) from the three-point stripe and is 17-of-20 (.850) from the free throw line, as his free throw attempts is a notable figure as he went to the line just 28 times all of last year. Krueger, who ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in three-point percentage at .435 (40-of-92) last year, also is averaging 35.5 minutes per game after averaging 19.8 last year. In his 35-game career, he is 50-of-107 (.467) from the three-point stripe.

QUICK NOTES FROM FIRST FOUR GAMES: 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. He is averaging 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds...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 381 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. Jackson is averaging 24.5 minutes this year after averaging 15.1 minutes per contest last year...after starting the game 1-of-12 (.083) from the field against UCSB, 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 tied the school record for three-point percentage by hitting 8-of-11 (.742) against North Texas, led by Bryson Krueger who was perfect in five attempts...ASU topped Southern Utah 82-62 in its season opener on 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 Nov. 26 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)...ASU made 24-of-27 (.880) free throws against Southern Utah, the sixth-best mark in school history with a minimum of 20 attempts.

WELCOME ADDITION: Junior college transfer Antwi Atuahene is off to a solid start, as the sophomore has come off the bench to average 9.3 points, 3.8 boards and 3.5 assists in 20 minutes per game. He is shooting 13-of-18 (.722) from the floor and has notched double-digits in his past two games, averaging 14 points, 5.5 rebounds and five assists.

FREEBIES: 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 last year. Through four games it is shooting 101-of-130 (.777), one of the best marks in the nation. Of the six Sun Devils who have attempted at least 10 freebies, five are shooting at least 73 percent. Leading the way are Bryson Krueger (17-of-20/.850), Serge Angounou (16-of-18/.889) and Allen Morill (12-of-14/.857). A look at the best free throw teams in ASU annals.

ASU TOP SEASON FREE THROW PERCENTAGE1. 75.6    - 19782.        75.4    - 19553t.       74.6    - 19983t.       74.6    - 19875.        73.5    - 20046.      73.0    - 19577.      72.9    - 20008.      72.1    - 19899.      72.0    - 198210.     71.6    - 2005

NUMERICALLY SPEAKING: ASU is 4-0 for the first time since 1994-95 and has a chance to go to 5-0 for the first time since 1985-86 on Monday against Minnesota. ASU's best undefeated start was in 1974-75, when the Sun Devil were 9-0, while the 1980-81 team opened 7-0. Four other teams won their first five games (1985-86, 1978-79, 1975-76 and 1961-62) while this year's team joined an additional four who won their first four contests (1994-95, 1971-72, 1955-56 and 1946-47).

NOT FAR AWAY: The Sun Devils, who tied Washington State for sixth in the Pac-10 at 7-11, lost several tough games down the stretch last year, including back-to-back games which were decided by game-winning shots in the closing seconds (57-55 at Washington State on Feb. 26 and 70-68 vs. #11 Arizona on March 5). ASU also lost a three-point game at the 1:00 mark at #13 Washington (a 90-82 loss on Feb. 24) and final close call was a 95-90 overtime loss in the Pac-10 Tournament to #14 Washington on March 10, as the Huskies ended the year as a No. 1 national seed and Pac-10 Tournament champions.

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