Men's Basketball Takes on NAU in Title Game of Sleep America ASU Holiday Tournament

Dec. 22, 2005


SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State men's basketball team (5-3) takes on Northern Arizona in the championship game of the Sleep America ASU Holiday Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. ASU topped Boise State 64-49 in its first-round game, holding the Broncos to 20-second half points and just 6-of-24 (.250) from the field, as the Broncos missed all nine second-half three-point attempts. ASU was led by freshman Jeff Pendergraph with 16 points and seven boards, while Kevin Kruger added 11 points. Redshirt freshman Chad Goldstein came off the bench to notch eight points and five boards in 20 minutes in just his second game of the year. The Sun Devils are currently shooting 74.6 percent from the free throw line. Of the nine players who saw action last night, four were first-year players (Pendergraph, Goldstein, Antwi Atuahene and Bruno Claudino) while three are second-year players (Craig Austin, Tyrone Jackson and Bryson Krueger). ASU and NAU last met on Nov. 17, 1998, when the Lumberjacks won in Tempe for the first time since 1954-55 with a 76-60 victory. NAU jumped out to a 43-26 halftime lead and broke a 10-game ASU win streak in the series, with its previous win on Dec. 12, 1985, in Flagstaff. ASU leads the series 77-57 according to its records.

BAD LUCK: ASU has been hit by the injury bug, as senior Allen Morill is now out for the year after having microfracture surgery on his left knee on Dec. 19. Morill had played in seven games this year, starting in two, and averaged 15.7 minutes. He posted a career-high 14 points against Alcorn State on Nov. 26 and had 10 points and nine boards in 29 minutes vs. Minnesota on Dec. 5. Morill is the second-most experienced Sun Devil, as his 57 career games is second only to Kevin Kruger's 67, and leaves ASU with just one senior, Tyrone Jackson.

MORE: In addition to Morill's season-ending injury, other Sun Devils have missed games and many practices. Serge Angounou, a two-year starter, suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in practice on Dec. 4 and missed the next two games (both losses) and is practicing on a limited basis to rest the knee. Freshman Jeff Pendergraph had a benign tumor removed in the fall from his left femur and did not get any conditioning or practice until November, as he missed both exhibitions and the first game and is still working to get strength in the leg. Sophomore Antwi Atuahene has not missed a regular season game due to a nasal fracture suffered in November, but he missed the second exhibition game and some practices and had to wear a mask the first seven games to protect his nose. And while freshman Chad Goldstein could not play in in the first six games after transferring last year from UC-Davis, it didn't stop him from catching the injury bug. He broke his nose in the fall and wore a mask in practice and in his first game at Iowa on Dec. 17. The day he was able to play without the mask (Dec. 19), he broke his nose again in practice.

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 eight games it is shooting 156-of-209 (.746). A look at the best free throw teams in ASU annals.ASU TOP SEASON FREE THROW PERCENTAGE1. 75.6 - 1978 6. 73.0 - 19572. 75.4 - 1955 7. 72.9 - 20003t. 74.6 - 1998 (74.6 mark this year) 8. 72.1 - 19893t. 74.6 - 1987 9. 72.0 - 19825. 73.5 - 2004 10. 71.6 - 2005

SLEEP AMERICA HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT: The ASU holiday tournament is in its 39th year in 2005, as ASU has won 28 of the 38 events (12 of the past 16) including championship victories against Georgia, Texas, Northwestern (twice), Detroit, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Eastern Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska and Valparaiso. ASU has advanced to the championship 31 of the past 32 years and 36 of 39 overall (exceptions in 1966, 1969 and 2000). ASU's all-time record is 64-13 (.831) and it is 13-2 (.867) under Rob Evans.

QUICK NOTES: ASU has committed less turnovers than its opponent in seven of its eight games...ASU started 4-0 this year for the first time since 1994-95...sophomore 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. As a freshman the San Diego, Calif., native scored 17 points in 17 games last year...Tyrone Jackson is averaging 28.0 minutes this year after averaging 15.1 minutes per contest last year...Kevin Kruger is averaging 38.2 minutes per game this year...Jeff Pendergraph became just the fourth ASU freshman in the past nine years to notch 20-points when he posted 20 against Utah Valley State on Dec. 10. Only Ike Diogu (12 in 2002-03), Kevin Kruger (two as a redshirt freshman in 2003-04) and Tanner Shell (one in 1999-2000) have notched that number since the 1997-98 season in their freshman season...only one freshman has won ASU Holiday Tournament MVP honors since from 1992-present (past 14 tournaments), as Ike Diogu earned the honor in December of 2002�Pendergraph is now averaging 9.9 points per game...Serge Angounou is 18-of-20 (.900) from the free throw line on the year.


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