Hoops Team Bounces back Against UC Riverside

It may not have been the prettiest of wins, but with the Sun Devils down in the dumps, they will happily take the 73-64 win over the UC Riverside Highlanders to even their record at 2-2. This win was more about guts than glory, and could possibly be a building block for the future. It was a night where unlikely heroes who rose up to the occasion overshadowed the team's star players.

ASU jumped to a 9-0 lead at the 17:22 mark of the first half. However, the Sun Devils' foul troubles plagued them again, and amazingly enough the Highlanders were shooting in the bonus with only 13:22 left to play in the first half. Nevertheless, ASU was able to increase its lead to 27-12 at the 9:27 mark. So everything seemed to be under control, right? Wrong! Sloppy play with yet more fouls (which caused Tommie Smith and Chad Prewitt to take long rests), had UC Riverside cut the lead to 38-35 at halftime. The Highlanders halftime adjustments proved to be more effective than the Sun Devils', and the visitors captured their first lead 39-38 at the 18:57 mark, and even enjoyed a brief double-digit lead of 54-44 with 12:38 left in the game. From that point on, the fortunes of the Highlanders took a permanent turn, and ASU behind Shawn Redhage and Kenny Crandall tied it up at 58 at the 7:21 mark. The home team never looked back, and big plays from Jason Braxton and Awvee Storey down the stretch paved the way to a hard fought 73-64 victory.

Awvee Storey, who according to coach Evans had a "heart to heart" talk, came out of the coaching staff's doghouse to score 16 points and nab 10 boards. He was the only player in the game to have a double-double, and was the only Sun Devil in double figures. Braxton, Crandall, and Redhage had 8 points a piece and were key in ASU's comeback in the second half. The home team continued to do poorly on the boards, and got out rebounded 37-35. The Devils' 44.1% field goal percentage and 21 assists were instrumental in this victory.

Coach Evans had this to say in his post game comments: "Tonight we came out with a lot of energy, but just like last week we let the other team back in. We lost our edge and we have to continue…we have no confidence right now. This happens when you get knocked down (referring to two-game losing steak prior to tonight). We did come back from being down, so things are getting better. We'll build on this…Some of key players like Braxton and Mileage are young, and that's why they tense up instead of being intense. Smith and Prewitt have to be more consistent for us…Storey practiced well before this game. He has to be consistent for us. The team, for good or bad, feeds of his energy…(On Tanner Shell asking to be excused from the team) "Tanner came to me, and I've being noticing that the fire in his eyes isn't there anymore. He has a personal matter, it isn't a disciplinary issue, and he needs time off because he's overwhelmed by these issues. I'm not sure when all this happened. I miss him because he's part of the family. I'm not sure when he'll come back, but he can come back whenever he'd like to."

Sparky's Sundries: Although it was rumored that Braxton would start for Dodd at point guard, it was Braxton that came of the bench. Both played well, and Dodd had five assists…Welcome back (P.A. announcer) Jeff Munn! What a difference he makes with his delivery and style…There was a large contingent of ASU Football players at the game. Most noticeable was Solomon Bates who showed better moves dancing to the pep band, than he has on the Football field all season…

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