Devils Open Regular Season in Convincing Fashion

Going into the season, finding a consistent scoring threat, aside from Ike Diogu, has been high on the Sun Devils' wish list. Declaring the search over after their first game, a 79-48 laugher over Jackson State, is probably premature. Nevertheless, it was encouraging to see Steve Moore play one of his better games in his maroon and gold tenure, and compliment Diogu in the team's 15th consecutive home opener win and the first game of the Las Vegas Invitational.

ASU (1-0) never trailed against Jackson State (0-1). Ike Diogu scored seven of the team's first nine points as the home team led 9-6 at the 15:25 mark of the first stanza. Steve Moore scored his squad's next nine points, all three-point baskets, to give the home team a double digit margin 18-8 with 11:03 left in the first half. Contributions from Jason Braxton and Tim Pierce increased the lead to 31-13 at the 3:58 mark. Braxton ended the half scoring on one free throw, and after missing the second was still able to score another basket to send both teams to the locker room with the home team enjoying a 39-23 margin. In the second half, Diogu played only nine minutes but scored ASU's first eight points to give the maroon and gold a 47-25 lead at the 14:58 mark of the second half. Moore's hard fought lay-up made the lead a cool 30 points 63-33 with 9:37 left in the game, which allowed seldom used Robbie Alridge and Jamie Andrisevic to see some action in the closing minutes of the contest.

Diogu paced all players with 26 points and seven rebounds. Moore was the only other Sun Devil in double figures with 17.Allen Morill and Keith Wooden each had eight points. In his inaugural game at ASU, true freshman Pierce scored seven points and collected six boards. The Sun Devils held the Tigers to 26.7% shooting, while firing at a 48.3% clip themselves. It was sheer dominance on the glass, as Rob Evans' team out gained the visitors 53-35. Their 55.2% shooting from the free throw line was one of the lone statistical disappointments of the afternoon.

"I thought we played pretty hard," said coach Evans after the game. "We weren't as concentrated and smart as we should be, but this was a good game for us to play early and get the jitters out. We didn't execute well on offense, and we have to take care of the ball better." In regards to Steve Moore, Evans said that not only did he play well on offense, but also his defensive game deserved some praise. "Steve has made a commitment to play defense and getting rebounds. He's been consistent as anyone out there." On Tim Pierce's debut, Evans remarked: "He's fearless and a tough kid. He'll make mistakes, but he continues to play." In closing, the Sun Devil skipper said: "The guys played harder than we did last year. I'm very comfortable at where are now."

Next for the Sun Devils is the second game of the Las Vegas Invitational, which will see them host Delaware St. on Tuesday night at 7 P.M. The Hornets lost their Las Vegas Invitational opener on the road to UTEP 83-50.

Sparky's Sundries Tim Pierce picked the right time to have a solid game, as he enjoyed the support of ten or so family and friends in the stands. The visitors from the bay area sported T-Shirts with his picture on them. The Pierce contingent even won a prize from Sparky for being the most boisterous fans in the game…Not only was Moore on fire completing 3-4 three pointers, but he was also creative calling timeouts on two occasions which prevented two turnovers…We don't know if Diogu will become a more vocal player this season, but it sure looks like the pep band will step it up a notch in that department…Former Sun Devils Chad Prewitt and Tron Smith were in attendance.

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