Men's Hoops Hosts Cal (Jan. 19) And Stanford (Jan. 21) At 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 17, 2006
SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State University men's basketball team(7-8; 1-5) comes home after a split at the Oregon schools and hostsCalifornia (Jan. 19), Stanford (Jan. 21) and Arizona (Wed., Jan. 25)in its next three games. ASU is 20-7 (.741) against the Golden Bearsin Tempe since Pac-10 play started in 1978-79, its best recordagainst any Pac-10 foe, and also will look to win three straightagainst Stanford for the first time since 1992-94 when it won fivestraight. Both games are broadcast by Fox Sports Net Arizona at 6:30p.m. MST with Trey Bender and Tim Kempton on the call. ASU advancedto the postseason for the third time in the past four seasons lastyear under Rob Evans as it finished 18-14 behind Pac-10 Player of theYear and consensus second-team All-American Ike Diogu. This year,junior Kevin Kruger leads the way as he is among the Pac-10 leadersin minutes per game (38.13/first), three-point field goals made pergame (2.73/first), steals (1.60 pg/seventh), assists (4.20 pg/fifth)and scoring (14.3 ppg./10th).
DEFENSE: ASU has picked it up at the defensive end in the past twoweeks, as it has held its past three opponents to 40.3 percent fromthe floor (64-of-159) and just 9-of-42 (.214) from the three-pointstripe. It ranks second in the league in field goal percentagedefense in Pac-10 play, giving up just 42.3 percent (135-of-319) andthe defense was on display on Saturday in Corvallis. Oregon Statecurrently leads the league in conference games at 50.2 percentshooting and entered the game at 53.4 percent in its four Pac-10games, but ASU held the Beavers to just 22-of-56 (.393) in GillColiseum. On Jan. 7 against No. 17 UCLA, ASU held the Bruins,currently second in the league shooting at a .477 clip in Pac-10games, to just 18-of-50 (.360) and just 1-of-15 (.067) from thethree-point stripe.
THIRD TIME WAS THE CHARM: After playing (but losing) back-to-backone-point games for the first time since 1982-83 Jan. 5-7, ASU got inthe win column in a tight game with its 65-63 overtime win at OregonState on Saturday (Jan. 14), as Rob Evans is now 6-4 in road overtimegames at ASU. The Sun Devils lost 66-65 to USC on Jan. 5 as LodrickStewart's only bucket of the game was when he hit a three-pointerwith seconds remaining to give the Trojans the win. ASU then wasleading UCLA 60-59 with under 10 seconds left on Jan. 7, but JordanFarmar hit a runner in the final seconds to give the No. 17 Bruinsthe 61-60 win. ASU's last back-to-back one-point games came on Jan.10, 1983, (87-86 loss to sixth-ranked UCLA) and Jan. 13, 1983, (75-74at Washington State).
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 15 games it is shooting 234-of-318 (.736),currently the fifth-best mark in school history. Leading the way areSerge Angounou (26-of-31/.839), Bryson Krueger (29-of-33/.879), KevinKruger (55-of-69/.797), Jeff Pendergraph (26-of-37/.703) and TyroneJackson (26-of-34/.765). A look at the best free throw teams in ASUannals.
ASU TOP SEASON FREE THROW PERCENTAGE1. 75.6 - 19782. 75.4 - 19553t. 74.6 - 19983t. 74.6 - 19875. 73.6 - 2006 (current)6. 73.5 - 20047. 73.0 - 19578. 72.9 - 20009. 72.1 - 198910. 72.0 - 198211. 71.6 - 2005
IRON MAN: Kevin Kruger's 38.1 minutes per game is one of the topmarks on the ASU single-season chart. Here's a look at ASU's topsingle-season minutes per game numbers.ASU MINUTES PER GAME (1962-63 to present)RK. Player, Season MPG1. Stevin Smith, 1993-94 38.52. Fat Lever, 1981-82 38.2T3. Kevin Kruger, 2005-06 38.1T3. Freddie Lewis, 1965-66 38.15. Alex Austin, 1989-90 37.9T6. Jeremy Veal, 1997-98 37.5T6. Paul Williams, 1981-82 37.58. Dwayne Fontana, 1993-94 37.3T9. Eddie House, 1999-2000 37.2T9. Seabern Hill, 1969-70 37.211. Fat Lever, 1980-81 37.1
*After scoring just 11 bench points against USC (five), UCLA (zero)and Oregon (six), ASU's reserves posted 20 points at Oregon State inthe 65-63 OT win on Jan. 14.
*ASU has led at the half in three of its past five games, but is onlyaveraging 26.8 first-half points in that time.
*In the six Pac-10 games, ASU's opponents have shot 50 more freethrows (140-90), resulting in 46 more points (109-63). ASU has beenoutscored by 53 points in those six games.
*Kevin Kruger has posted four 40-minute games on the year.
CAL SERIES: ASU leads the Cal series 31-28 but Cal has won the pasttwo in Tempe and eight of ten overall...ASU is 20-7 (.741) againstthe Golden Bears in Tempe since joining the Pac-10, its best recordagainst any opponent...the series had been predictable the pastdecade, with the home team winning 21 of the past 28 games...in thelast meeting on Feb. 5, 2005, ASU led 31-18 at the 6:22 mark of thefirst half but Cal outscored ASU 16-5 to end the half in an 84-82Golden Bear win in Tempe that was decided on a Richard Midgleyfollow-up with just over two seconds left. Cal shot 31-of-52 (.596)from the field, the third-best mark against a Rob Evans' team inWells Fargo Arena, including 17-of-25 (.680) in the second half. IkeDiogu led ASU with 35 points, while Serge Angounou and Kevin Krugeradded 15 each. ASU had just 10 turnovers and posted 69 field goalattempts, but Cal made 20-of-22 (.909) from the free throw line...ASUhas not swept Cal since the 1999-2000 season.ASU VS. PAC-10 IN TEMPERk. Team Record1. California 20-7 (.741)2. Washington 20-8 (.714)3. Oregon 18-9 (.667)4. Washington State 17-10 (.630)5. Oregon State 17-11 (.608)6. Stanford 14-13 (.519)7. USC 13-15 (.464)8. Arizona 11-16 (.407)9. UCLA 8-21 (.276)
HITTING SHOTS: Two Sun Devils are knocking down free throws at arapid pace, as Serge Angounou is at 83.9 percent (26-of-31) whileBryson Krueger, after going to the line just 28 times all of lastyear, is at 87.9 percent (29-of-33). ASU is third the Pac-10 in freethrow percentage, hitting on 73.6 percent of its freebies(234-of-318), currently the fifth-best mark in school history. Datingto last year, Angounou is now 44-of-51 (.863) from the free throwline in his past 28 games. ASU also ranks third in the league inthree-point percentage, hitting 78-of-201 (.388).
AT OREGON STATE (JAN. 14): ASU started 1-of-15 from the floor butnever let OSU get out of site and took a 27-25 lead at the half inCorvallis, and then Antwi Atuahene hit the game-winner with eightseconds left in overtime for the 65-63 win. ASU held the Beavers, thetop shooting team in the Pac-10, to just 39.3 percent (22-of-56) andoutrebounded them 42-37. Bryson Krueger led ASU with 18 points, whileSerge Angounou added 10. Atuahene posted eight assists in 42 minutes.ASU had just 13 turnovers and got 20 points and 52 minutes from itsfour-man bench.
AT OREGON (JAN. 12): Oregon jumped out to a 25-17 halftime lead andnever let ASU get within six after the 15:00 minute mark in a 67-53Duck win. ASU cut the lead to 48-42 at the 8:19 mark, but the Duckshit seven straight free throws in their next three possessions andASU never got within six after the 6:02 mark. Antwi Atuahene had aseason-high 21 points for ASU in his third start (34 minutes), whileKevin Kruger had 13. ASU had a season-low 11 turnovers but forcedjust seven turnovers and the Ducks had six blocks. Atuahene was7-of-11 from the field and added six boards.
STANFORD SERIES: Stanford leads the overall series 32-26, but ASUwill try and win three straight for the first time since winning fivestraight from 1992-94...last year, ASU notched its first sweep of theCardinal since 1993-94 with a 74-67 win on Feb. 3, 2005, behind IkeDiogu's career-high 39 points (tied for sixth-best in ASU history).After shooting 11-of-30 (.367) in the first half, ASU shot 13-of-24(.542) in the second half while forcing Stanford into 20 turnoversand just seven assists, matching the fewest by an ASU opponent sincePurdue had four on Dec. 21, 2002. ASU hit a season-high 90.9 percentfrom the foul line (20-of-22), including 11-of-12 in the final 1:08.ASU's 20-of-22 (.909) free throw mark is tied for the third-bestpercentage in school history with a minimum of 20 attempts...ASUbroke Stanford's 18-game home winning streak and ended a streak of 13straight Cardinal wins over ASU dating to Jan. 31, 1998, with an81-69 win on Jan. 6, 2005. ASU jumped out to a 39-31 halftime leadand led by as many as 18 (68-49) in the second half. ASU shot 52.7percent (29-of-55) from the field and held Stanford to just 39.1percent (27-of-69). ASU had 11 turnovers, including just four in thefirst half.
BAD LUCK: Senior Allen Morill is now out for the year after havingmicrofracture surgery on his left knee on Dec. 19. Morill had playedin the first seven games, starting in two, and averaged 15.7 minutesbefore his injury. He posted a career-high 14 points against AlcornState on Nov. 26 and had 10 points and nine boards in 29 minutes vs.Minnesota on Dec. 5. At the time of the injury, Morill was thesecond-most experienced Sun Devil (57 career games), as ASU now hasjust one 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 until mid-January 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.
THE FUTURE: Sophomore Antwi Atuahene is averaging 7.3 points, 3.8boards and 3.6 assists in 24.1 minutes per game (fifth-most on theteam). He is shooting 42-of-81 (.519) from the floor, but his pastthree games point to him becoming a key to not only this year but forthe next two seasons. In the past three games he is averaging 37.7minutes, 11.7 points and 6.3 assists, including a career-high 21points at Oregon on Jan. 12 and career-highs in minutes (42) andassists (eight) at Oregon State on Jan. 14, including thegame-winning shot with eight seconds left in overtime.
THE FUTURE, II: Jeff Pendergraph became just the fourth ASU freshmanin the past nine years to notch 20-points when he posted 20 againstUtah Valley State on Dec. 10. Only Ike Diogu (12 in 2002-03), KevinKruger (two as a redshirt freshman in 2003-04) and Tanner Shell (onein 1999-2000) have notched that number since the 1997-98 season intheir freshman season. Pendergraph now has five double-figure scoringgames on the year, including a 16-point, eight rebound performanceagainst USC on Jan. 5. He has 16 blocks on the year.
NIGHTMARE FOR OPPONENTS: Kevin Kruger (14.3 ppg. in 2005-06) haspicked up where he left off from last year. He averaged 12.2 pointsin the final 13 games and has made 186-of-230 (.809) free throws inhis 74-game career. Kruger has started 30 games in his career and wassecond on the team in minutes per game last year, averaging 29.8 pergame. He is among the Pac-10 leaders in minutes per game(38.13/first), three-point field goals made per game (2.73/first),steals (1.60 pg/seventh), assists (4.20 pg/fifth) and scoring (14.3ppg./10th).
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. ASU was 18-9 butfinished 18-14 overall.
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. Diogu became ASU's seventh first-round pickand the first since Mario Bennett went to Phoenix in 1995 (27thoverall). Diogu is the highest Sun Devil drafted since Byron Scottwent fourth in 1983.
COACH EVANS: Rob Evans (201-192/.511) is in his eighth season at ASU(14th 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 115-111 (.509) at ASU and has led the Sun Devils to fourpostseason appearances, including a 2003 NCAA appearance that was theschool's first since 1995. He reached his 100th win at ASU againstLong Island on Dec. 28, becoming just the third ASU coach to top thecentury mark, joining Ned Wulk (406-272 from 1957-82) and BillFrieder (132-108 from 1989-97).