Hoops Team Opens Season with an Exhibition Win

Their jerseys may have said U of A across them, but the University of Alberta-Edmonton was far from a carbon copy of ASU's archrival or any Division I opponent for that matter. Nevertheless, Rob Evans' team did manage to have some positives to show for after an effortless 93-47 pre-season win.

"We have a long way to go," Evans said, "but I liked a lot of things. Our defense was pretty good. We fouled a little bit too much, but that's to be expected early. We did a pretty good job rebounding the basketball (had a 41-25 edge over the visitors); we gave up only one offensive rebound in the first half. I thought we executed pretty well offensively."

For the first 15 or so minutes the Canadian squad did hang with ASU, trailing only 22-19 with 5:54 left in the half. From that point on Ike Diogu and Serge Angounou poured in 11 and 8 points respectively to send the home team to the locker room with a commanding 42-26 lead. The Sun Devils stormed out in the second half, and thanks to three Diogu dunks, outscored the visitors 16-2 at the 14:41 mark of the second half. A beautiful no- look assist from Tyrone Jackson to Allen Morrill made it a 30 point game, 65-35 with 11:50 left in the game. Keith Wooden converted a three-point play to bump the margin to 84-44,and even seldom used Robby Aldridge gets to make his mark on the stat sheet scoring in the waning moments of the game.

Diogu paced all players with 26 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. Steve Moore was the only other Sun Devil in double figures with 12 to go along with his six boards. Angounou (9 pts, four reb.), Wooden (8 pts, three reb.) and Jackson (game-high five assists) were others who had fine performances for the Devils. The team shot 55.4% from the field, 42.9% from behind the arc, and 68.2% from the foul line.

"We're still getting the offense down and still working some things out," said Diogu after the game. "But for a first game it wasn't too bad. I was average. I could have done a better job rebounding, getting off a few times on the defensive end, it was average…"

Evans admitted that there wasn't one combination of players that stood out to him on Thursday night, nor has he settled yet on a starting five. However, several individuals earned his praise. "I was pleased with the play of Tyrone Jackson. He doesn't do anything spectacular, just gets the job done. Steve played very well. Defensively played better than he ever has since he's been here. Serge did a good job. He does all the intangible things – comes up with loose balls, rebounds, helps on defense. Certainly he'll be able to score as we start going to him a little bit more."

ASU concludes its exhibition season when they play EA Sports All-Stars on Tuesday Nov. 16th at 7 P.M.

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