Hoops Team Earns Much Needed Win Over Utah

Calling your six game of the season, a crucial one, may tend to be seen as a bit overdramatic. But for Rob Evans and his ASU Basketball team, the game against Utah was one that they desperately needed to win. "The juices were flowing," said the head coach on his team's pre-game psyche, and the 71-62 win translated that positive energy from the locker room to the court.

ASU took its time building a double-digit lead, which lasted for most of the game. Chad Prewitt aided his team to a 14-11 lead at the 11:05 mark. From that point on it was time for the Donnell Knight show. The junior, who has been labeled underachieving ever since his freshman year, simply took over the game. His 10-point in the first half, including 2 3-pointers helped the Sun Devils leap to a 39-27 half time lead. At the 16:02 mark of the second half with ASU leading 45-34, Prewitt injured his ankle up and had to sit out the rest of the game. His absence, along with horrendous free throw shooting allowed the Utes back into the game. A 51-42 lead at the 7:38 mark, shrunk to a 54-47 with 4:20 left in the contest. Curtis Mileage drained two decisive jumpers, which increased the lead to 58:50 at the 2:51 mark. From then on Mileage and Kyle Dodd were parading to the free throw line, en route to the 71-62 victory.

There were many bright spots on the Sun Devils team. Mileage led in scoring with 18 points, including 10-13 from the charity stripe. His five rebounds were a testimony to his fine all around game last night. Prewitt, Knight, and Tommy Smith each had 12 points. Awvee Storey had some good moments himself with a lucky 7 points and 7 boards. ASU shot an even 50% from the floor, forced Utah into 21 turnovers, and stood toe to toe with Utah's big men outscoring them 34-28 in the paint.

Coach Evans had these comments after the game: "We came out and played real hard. We had very good composure, especially late in the game. A lot of players grew up tonight. For the most part it was a good defensive effort. Utah is a big physical team, and we were able to out hustle them tonight. It's hard for us to play without Prewitt, but I thought Tyson Johnston gave us a good lift…Knight probably played his best game at ASU. I talked to him yesterday (Monday), and told him to be aggressive and if he's going to make mistakes – make them full speed. He's been hesitant for two years now. He made up his mind that he will play hard, and he just has to sustain that ability now…Prewitt has a bruised Achilles and is day to day. We have nine days before our next game, so we should be fine…Mileage is a tremendous talent. He wasn't the best JC player in Los Angeles for nothing. He's very unselfish, when he should sometimes perhaps be more selfish. He practiced hard before this game, and he's understanding his role better…This game was a great setting. The kids were excited to play here (at America West Arena), but I could tell in our practices that we were going to be ready to play tonight. It was a great crowd who got to see two top 10 teams in the first game (Illinois vs. Arizona), and they got to see a good second game too. It was just a great Basketball game for us."

Sparky's Sundries: There's a fine line between being competitive, and making a total fool out of your self. Rick Majerus, Utah's head coach, crossed that line several times. He was determined to use up all his time-outs and fouls, even though the game was clearly out of reach…The atmosphere at America West Arena was electric during the Arizona game, and very subdued during ASU's. Granted that came as no shock, but it was disappointing none the less… As much as ASU fans would hate to agree, Arizona is a legitimate top 3 team that hasn't lost a step from last year…Nice to see Sparky giving the business to the Arizona fans who stayed for the ASU game. His hatred towards our archrival is every bit genuine…The coaches may be a little over ambitious trying to play Chris Osborne, who still has one of his hands heavily bandaged. On one occasion he wasn't able to corral a rebound, which resulted in a turnover…Tyson Johnston had a good outing against his former team who he had transferred from…One can only hope that Dodd will be practicing is jumper quite often before ASU's next game. He was 1-8 with many open looks…There were NBA scouts in form the Suns, Nuggets, and Hawks in attendance, as well as European team scouts who were looking closely at Prewitt.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories