Devils Debut is a Success

It was a rare morning tip-off played in front a sparse late arriving crowd. Even the microphone didn't work properly at the start of the national anthem. Other than those bizarre events, everything else was normal and according to plan. After mild struggles in the first half, Arizona State cruised to 92-61 over Stephen F. Austin, in the first game of the 2001-02 season.

The game started with an offensive outburst by the Sun Devils. Chad Prewitt's 3-pointer opened up a 7-0 lead, and forced the visitors from Texas to call an early time out. That move by the Lumberjacks proved to be somewhat effective for the first ten minutes or so. A lackadaisical ASU offense that was frustrated by a trap-defense wasn't able to shake Stephen F. Austin off. ASU led 18-13 at the 11:28 mark, but in a span of four minutes or so went on a 12-3 run, to increase the lead to 30-16 with 7:01 left in the first half. From there on, both teams virtually traded baskets to put the halftime score at 46-33. The half time adjustments by coach Evans and his staff paid off midway during the second half. The Devils led 69-46 at the 9:54 mark, and from there on increased their lead the rest of the way, en route to a final score of 92-61.

Prewitt, who has been somewhat of a scoring machine in ASU's first two exhibition games, led ASU with 21 points. Junior college transfer Curtis Millage dazzled the crowd with his quickness on both sides of the floor, and finished with 16 points shooting 100% from the field. Other ASU players in double digits were Awvee Storey with 12, and Tommie Smith with 11, and Shawn Redhage with 11 as well. The Sun Devils were red hot on offense shooting 56.8%, while holding its opponent to 30%. The home team shot well from the charity stripe as well at 81.1%. ASU had a modest 34-27 edge on the boards.

The game was a very special one for ASU forward Justin Allen. The sophomore redshirted last year after battling and beating Hodgkin's disease. Prior to tip-off, his physicians who treated him were honored for their help. Allen's family was very emotional during that ceremony, as well as the national anthem. That emotion turned into a burst of happiness when Allen scored his only two points – by virtue of free throws awarded to ASU due to a technical foul.

The victory by the Sun Devils didn't only mark a good start for the season, but also managed to materialize the expectations that fans have for the team this year. Promises of an active offense and stifling defense were fulfilled today, and left the Sun devil faithful smiling and encouraged for what should be Evans' best season in Tempe. Duplicating today's performance should more than ensure that wish by ASU fans.

Game Notes: The starting five were Kyle Dodd, Millage, Storey, Smith, and Prewitt…Justin Allen must have been going nuts. He was one of the last subs entering the game in the first half, as he came in with 4:05 left in the first half. It was eons later, with 3:19 left in the game, that he scored his first two points…Jason Braxton, Smith, and Prewitt were all banged up at one point or another of the game, but all returned…Dodd and Millage brought the crowd to its feet while diving for some lose balls…speaking of crowd, the student section was much louder than its numbers and probably sent the visitors home with their ears ringing…

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