Men's Hoops Opens Pac-10 Play At Seventh-Ranked Washington
Dec. 28, 2005
SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State University men's basketball team(6-3) opens Pac-10 play on the road and takes on a top-10 team whenit travels to face the seventh-ranked Washington Huskies (10-0) onThursday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. PT (no television). Washington leads thenation in scoring (91.6 ppg.) and boasts the nation's longest currenthome win streak as it has won 31 straight at Hec Ed Pavilion. The SunDevils then travel across the Evergreen state for a New Year's Evematinee game against the Washington State Cougars (7-2) on Saturday,Dec. 31, at 3 p.m. PT/4 p.m. MST as Trey Bender and Tom Kuyper willcall the game on Fox Sports Net Arizona. Early season games showsigns of ASU being a strong perimeter team, as through games of Dec.26 the Sun Devils were leading the Pac-10 in three-point percentage(.400) and were second in free throw percentage (.750). ASU advancedto the postseason for the third time in the past four seasons lastyear under Rob Evans last year as it finished 18-14 behind Pac-10Player of the Year and consensus second-team All-American Ike Diogu.Junior Kevin Kruger is among the Pac-10 leaders in minutes per game(38.3/first), steals (2.33 pg/third), assists (4.56 pg/third),three-point field goals made per game (2.56/third) and scoring (15.0ppg./T-11th). Bryson Krueger is third in the Pac-10 in three-pointpercentage, shooting at a .457 clip (16-of-35).
NO EASY OPENERS: With Arizona winning the 2005 Pac-10 title, lastyear marked the fourth time in the previous six years that ASU openedthe season with an eventual Pac-10 champion, as ASU faced theeventual Pac-10 champion three straight years in its Pac-10 openerfrom 2000-2002, facing Stanford in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 and thenopening with Oregon in 2001-2002. ASU opens Pac-10 play Thursday at2005 Pac-10 Tournament champion, undefeated and seventh-rankedWashington. This year also will mark the sixth time in his eightyears Rob Evans has opened Pac-10 play on the road, and the two homegames were against top-five teams. ASU lost to second-ranked Stanfordon Jan. 4, 2000, in Tempe, and to fourth-ranked Arizona 93-74 on Jan.3, 2003.
ASU PAC-10 OPENERS UNDER Rob EvansDate Score Site Note
Dec. 29, 2005 ASU at #7 Washington Seattle, Wash.UW home streak at 31
Jan. 2, 2005 #14 Arizona 97, ASU 79 Tucson, Ariz.Arizona wins Pac-10 at 14-4
Jan. 3, 2004 #4 Arizona 93, ASU 74 Tempe, Ariz.Arizona goes 20-10
Jan. 2, 2003 ASU 67, OSU 47 Corvallis, Ore.ASU finishes 20-12 and in NCAAs
Dec. 20, 2001 Oregon 103, ASU 90 Eugene, Ore.UO wins Pac-10, goes 26-9
Jan. 4, 2001 #2 Stanford 94, ASU 77 Tempe, Ariz.Stanford wins Pac-10, goes 31-3
Jan. 6, 2000 #1 Stanford 86, ASU 67 Palo Alto, Calif.Stanford wins Pac-10, goes 27-4
Jan. 2, 1999 USC 72, ASU 70 Los Angeles, Calif.USC ends ASU 6-game win streak
BAD LUCK: ASU has been hit by the injury bug, as senior forward AllenMorill is now out for the year after having microfracture surgery onhis left knee on Dec. 19. Morill had played in all seven games thisyear, starting in two, and averaged 15.7 minutes before his injury.He posted a career-high 14 points against Alcorn State on Nov. 26 andhad 10 points and nine boards in 29 minutes vs. Minnesota on Dec. 5.Morill is the second-most experienced Sun Devil, as his 57 careergames is second only to Kevin Kruger's 66, and leaves ASU with justone senior on the roster, Tyrone Jackson.
THAT IS NOT ALL: In addition to Morill's season-ending injury, otherSun Devils have missed games and many practices. Serge Angounou, atwo-year starter, suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in practiceon Dec. 4 and missed the next two games (both losses) and ispracticing on a limited basis to rest the knee for games. FreshmanJeff Pendergraph had a benign tumor removed in the fall from his leftfemur and did not get any conditioning or practice until November, ashe missed both exhibitions and the first game of the season and isstill working to get strength in the leg. Sophomore Antwi Atuahenehas not missed a regular season game due to a nasal fracture sufferedin November, but he missed the second exhibition game and somepractices and had to wear a mask the first seven games to protect hisnose. And while freshman Chad Goldstein could not play in in thefirst six games after transferring last year from UC-Davis, it didn'tstop him from catching the injury bug. He broke his nose in the falland wore a mask in practice and in his first game at Iowa on Dec. 17.Two days later, in his first practice, his nose was broken again.
WASHINGTON SERIES NOTES: ASU leads the series 33-25 but the Huskieshave won the past five...Rob Evans is 7-8 against Washington...KevinKruger averaged 17 points against the Huskies last year...in the 2005Pac-10 Tournament on Mar. 17, ASU fell 90-85 in overtime to theeventual Pac-10 champions after the Huskies led by 18 three times inthe first half, as it made 14 of its first 17 shots from the field.Kevin Kruger matched a career-high with 22 points...last year inSeattle ASU played well enough to win a lot of games but came upshort in a 90-82 loss at No. 13 Washington on Feb. 24. Kevin Krugerhit five three-pointers en route to 17 points as ASU made 29-of-32(.906) free throws, including 17-of-18 (.944) from Ike Diogu andoutrebounded the Huskies 36-26, but UW hit 11-of-16 (.688) from thethree-point stripe and 31-of-56 (.554) from the field. It scored anopponent's season-high 52 first-half points...in Tempe, ASU held a43-41 lead at the 14:05 mark of the second half but the tenth-rankedHuskies went on an 11-0 run in racing to a 79-70 win on Jan. 30,2005. ASU committed 21 turnovers to the Huskies' 11. UW hit 22-of-25(.880) free throws in the game, including 15-of-17 (.882) in thesecond half.
VS. WASHINGTON STATE: ASU has won five of the past eight against theCougars and 11 of the past 16...ASU leads the series 31-26 and RobEvans is 9-5 against WSU, including a 4-3 mark in Pullman...ASU alsois 5-1 in six overtime games against the Cougars...last year inPullman, Chris Schlatter hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left forthe game winner after ASU forced a missed shot but could not get therebound in a 57-55 loss on March 5. ASU had season-lows in points(55), first-half points (19), free throw attempts (nine) and assists(eight)...Kevin Kruger had 13 points in the Jan. 27 68-62 ASU winlast year in Tempe, as ASU jumped out to a 33-23 halftime lead andled by as many as 13 in the second half. ASU tied a season high bymaking 81.8 percent of its free throws (18-of-22). The Sun Devilsoutrebounded the Cougars 37-23 and posted 20 assists on 22 made fieldgoals. Bryson Krueger had 13 points, all of them in the second half,while Kevin Kruger had12 of his 14 points in the first half,including four three-pointers.
ADDITIONS: Junior college transfer Antwi Atuahene is off to a solidstart, as the sophomore is averaging 6.8 points, 3.6 boards and 3.0assists in 21.3 minutes per game (fourth-most on the team). He isshooting 24-of-43 (.558) from the floor. Freshman Jeff Pendergraphbecame just the fourth ASU freshman in the past nine years to notch20-points when he posted 20 against Utah Valley State on Dec. 10.Only Ike Diogu (12 in 2002-03), Kevin Kruger (two as a redshirtfreshman in 2003-04) and Tanner Shell (one in 1999-2000) have notchedthat number since the 1997-98 season in their freshman season.
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 theprevious 17 seasons, and then came back with the tenth-best effortlast year. Through nine games it is shooting 171-of-228 (.750).Leading the way are Serge Angounou (18-of-20/.900), Bryson Krueger(23-of-27/.852), Kevin Kruger (36-of-45/.800), Jeff Pendergraph(23-of-31/.742) and Tyrone Jackson (24-of-32/.750). A look at thebest free throw teams in ASU annals, and note that the current clip(.750) is currently third-best.ASU TOP SEASON FREE THROW PERCENTAGE1. 75.6 - 1978 6. 73.0 - 19572. 75.4 - 1955 (.750 mark this year) 7. 72.9 - 20003t. 74.6 - 1998 8. 72.1 - 19893t. 74.6 - 1987 9. 72.0 - 19825. 73.5 - 2004 10. 71.6 - 2005
NIGHTMARE FOR OPPONENTS: Kevin Kruger (15.0 ppg. in 2005-06) was oneof three Sun Devils who averaged double-digit points in Pac-10 play(11.8 ppg.) and he has picked up where he left off from last year. Heaveraged 12.2 points in the final 13 games and has made 167-of-206(.811) free throws in his 68-game career. Kruger has started 24 gamesin his career and was second on the team in minutes per game lastyear, averaging 29.8 per game. He is averaging 38.3 minutes per gamethis year, tops in the Pac-10.
QUICK NOTES: ASU has committed less turnovers than its opponent ineight of its nine games...ASU started 4-0 this year for the firsttime since 1994-95...Tyrone Jackson is averaging 27.7 minutes thisyear after averaging 15.1 minutes per contest last year...ASU tiedthe school record for three-point percentage by hitting 8-of-11(.742) against North Texas, led by Bryson Krueger who was perfect infive attempts...ASU made 32-of-40 (.800) free throws against AlcornState on Nov. 26, its most made free throws since it hit 35 in theseason opener against Arkansas-Little Rock on Nov. 22, 2003...ASUmade 24-of-27 (.880) free throws against Southern Utah, thesixth-best mark in school history with a minimum of 20 attempts...ASUhad 13 steals vs. SUU, matching last season's season-high set in thefirst game against Jackson State and forced 27 turnovers, the mostforced by ASU since Dec. 22, 2003...sophomore Craig Austin's 21points vs. Southern Utah not only was a career-high, it was four morepoints than he scored all of last season. As a freshman the SanDiego, Calif., native scored 17 points in 17 games last year.
NOT FAR AWAY: The Sun Devils, who tied Washington State for sixth inthe Pac-10 at 7-11, lost several tough games down the stretch lastyear, including back-to-back games which were decided by game-winningshots in the closing seconds (57-55 at Washington State on Feb. 26and 70-68 vs. #11 Arizona on March 5). ASU also lost a three-pointgame at the 1:00 mark at #13 Washington (a 90-82 loss on Feb. 24) andfinal close call was a 95-90 overtime loss in the Pac-10 Tournamentto #14 Washington on March 10, as the Huskies ended the year as a No.1 national seed and Pac-10 Tournament champions.
ON THE OPENING DAY ROSTER: Three Sun Devils made the NBA opening dayrosters this year, as 2005 Lottery pick (ninth overall) and 2005Pac-10 Player of the Year Ike Diogu (Golden State Warriors), isjoined by 1999-2000 Pac-10 Player of the Year Eddie House (PhoenixSuns) and Awvee Storey (Washington Wizards), the Pac-10's leadingrebounder in 2000-2001, in wearing a NBA uniform this year. Diogubecame the seventh ASU first-round pick and the first since MarioBennett went to Phoenix in 1995 with the 27th pick. He is the highestSun Devil to be drafted since Byron Scott went fourth in 1983.
COACH EVANS: Rob Evans (200-187/.517) is in his eighth season at ASU(13th overall) after being hired on April 7, 1998. The 1997 SEC Coachof the Year spent six seasons at Ole Miss, compiling an 86-81 (.515)record. He led the Rebels to a 42-16 record in his final two seasons,winning two SEC West titles, and led Ole Miss to back-to-back 20-winseasons for the first time since 1937-38. The 59-year old Evans is a1968 graduate of New Mexico State, where he captained two NCAATournament teams and is a 1989 inductee of the Athletic Hall of Fame.He is 114-106 (.518) at ASU and has led the Sun Devils to fourpostseason appearances, including a 2003 NCAA appearance that was theschool's first since 1995. He is 157-118 (.571) in the past nineseasons. He reached his 100th win at ASU against Long Island on Dec.28, becoming just the third ASU coach to top the century mark,joining Ned Wulk (406-272 from 1957-82) and Bill Frieder (132-108from 1989-97).
WAY TO EARLY: It is probably too early to start looking at seasonrecords, but Kevin Kruger's 38.3 minutes per game is worthmentioning. Here's a look at ASU's top single-season minutes per gamemarks.ASU MINUTES PER GAME (1962-63 to present)RK. Player, Season MPG1. Stevin Smith, 1993-94 38.5-- Kevin Kruger, 2005-06 38.32. Fat Lever, 1981-82 38.23. Freddie Lewis, 1965-66 38.14. Alex Austin, 1989-90 37.9T5. Jeremy Veal, 1997-98 37.5T5. Paul Williams, 1981-82 37.57. Dwayne Fontana, 1993-94 37.3T8. Eddie House, 1999-2000 37.2T8. Seabern Hill, 1969-70 37.210. Fat Lever, 1980-81 37.1
ROAD SWEEPS: ASU has swept the Washington road trip five times andtwice under Rob Evans, most recently in 2003. The five sweeps overallis the most on any road trip in ASU's 27-year Pac-10 history.ASU Pac-10 Road SweepsLA Schools: 1987, 1980Bay Area: 2005, 1985, 1981, 1980UO/OSU: 2001, 1996, 1993, 1981UW/WSU: 2003, 2000, 1992, 1990, 1981