ASU Edged by Cal, Looses Fourth Straight

Is there ever one loss that is more comforting than others? After being manhandled by Stanford 48 hours ago, Arizona State battled admirably against a red hot Cal team. The Devils never gave up and proved that they're still capable of playing well despite their many season misfortunes. Nevertheless, following this bay area road trip ASU finds itself rock bottom in the league's standings.

The Bears' Amit Tamir continued his fine shooting behind the arc, and led his squad to a 15-11 lead at the 12:30 mark. Dominique McGuire adds a pair long bombs of his own to give the home team its biggest lead of the game 24-14 with 9:57 left in the half. Just when it seemed that ASU was about to once again lose control of the game early in the first period, Ike Diogu and Jamal Hill ignited a 15-4 run to give the Sun Devils their first lead of the game 29-28 at the 5:23 mark. Kevin Kruger and Steve Moore's downtown increased the margin to 42-35 with 1:50 left in the half. Cal goes on a short 5-0 run to send both teams to the locker room with an ASU lead of 42-40

In the second half, the Bears were determined to take this game over, and the Sun Devils did very little to stand in their way. Cal dominated the offensive boards, and despite some three pointers by Kruger and Hill ASU found itself trailing for good 54-52 at the 13:57 mark of the second half. The Devils didn't allow the Bears to break away in the ensuing minutes, and a Diogu three-point play brought his team within two points, 70-68 with 7:24 remaining in the contest. Cal's Leon Powe's fine play down low gave the Bears a bit of breathing room, as they led 81-74 at the 3:21 mark. Jason Braxton's lay-up put ASU in striking distance down 85-83 with 47 second left. Even though the Devils were able to steal the ball and call time out, Cal covered Diogu like a glove and a Kruger desperation three pointer falls short at the buzzer. Alas, the misery continues…

Diogu led all players with 33 points. Hill and Kruger were the only other Sun Devils in double figures scoring 17 and 12 respectively. ASU's 12 three-point baskets were a season high. Katley paced Cal with 24 points, and Richard Midgley scored all of his 20 points in the second half.

ASU hosts UCLA on Thursday, in a meeting of teams that have known many more losses than wins in the last few weeks. If Rob Evans' team can build on today's performance, the chances for a long awaited victory will increase that much more.

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