Devils Battle Back to Edge Temple

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. For the vast majority of the Temple game, ASU was living proof of that saying. Countless turnovers, inability to attack a zone defense, and losing the battle of offensive rebounds that plagued the Devils in last week's loss to Nebraska, once again reared their ugly head. Nevertheless, Steve Moore and Ike Diogu scored the team's last 12 points en route to an improbable 70-66 victory over the Owls.

The first few minutes featured sloppy play from both teams, as Temple lead 6-4 at the 15:26 mark of the first half. Diogu scored his first points with 11:59 left in the first period, but the Owls were still holding to a slim 11-10 margin. Temple's Mardy Collins helped widen the gap a bit, which coupled with ASU's inability to take care of the ball or the rebounds on its end, grew to 20-16 at the 7:02 mark. Collins' continued fine play helped the visitors gain its biggest lead of the half 27-20 with 4:30 left in the first period. However, the Devils prevented the Owls from breaking the game open, and went down at halftime with only a 34-29 deficit.

In the second half Keith Wooden came off the ASU bench, and his free throw narrowed the margin to 37-35 at the 16:21 mark of the second half. Temple raged back with four three pointers, two by David Hawkins, to gain its biggest lead of the night 49-40 with 12:30 left in the game. Allen Morill's jumper cut back the lead to 56-52 at the 7:21 mark. A rare four-point play, courtesy of Moore, brings down the house as the Devils stay close trailing 62-59 with 3:52 left in the game. Barley a minute later, Diogu has the more conventional three-point play, which ties the game at 62 a piece. The sophomore would tie up the game a couple more times, which preludes a Moore jumper that gave ASU its first lead of the game with only 28 seconds left. An ally-hoop between Moore and Diogu provided a jubilant exclamation point and the final basket of the night.

Diogu led all scorers with 23 points, as well as hauling down six boards and blocking a trio of shots. Moore was the only other Sun Devil in double figures adding 15 points. Reserves Allen Morill and Kevin Kruger played vital roles in the win scoring eight and six points respectively. Morill had a team high eight boards, while Kruger's lone steal of the game came in the waning moments of the contest and help seal the valuable win. Mardy Collins led Temple with 19 points.

At the risk of being overdramatic, suffice to say that tonight's win (albeit in only the fifth game of the year) could prove a crucial turning point for the Sun Devils' season. Even if ASU were to win all of its remaining non-conference games, the victory over Temple is likely to stand out above the rest. Following a weeklong break for finals, the team goes on the road to play Northwestern on December 17th. This game, much like the Nebraska one, could once again expose ASU's woes manifested in the last two games. Then again, for a squad that had to come from behind in literally every game this year, this game has a potential to once again manifest the relentlessness of this team.

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