Cats Down Devils in Tucson

The 97-79 win by Arizona, could suggest that Saturday's game was just another dismantling of ASU by their archrival. However, even the most rabid Wildcat fan realizes that this game was much closer than the final score indicated. The Sun Devils lead for most of the first half, and deep into the second half were still trailing only by single digits.

The first few minutes of the game saw the lead change several times. A jump shot by Serge Angounou gave the Devils (11-2, 0-1 Pac-10) put the Devils ahead 16-14 at the 14:37 mark, and a three-point basket by Kevin Kruger gave ASU their biggest lead of the game 27-18 with 10:59 left in the half. With 2:50 remaining in the first stanza, a basket by Hassan Adams gave the Wildcats (11-2, 1-0 Pac-10) the lead for good 40-38. A few missed free throws by the maroon and gold allowed the home team to slightly increase their lead, and put the halftime score at 46-41.

Rob Evans' squad was still hanging tough to open the second half. Steve Moore's lay-up brought his team within four 56-52 at the 14:25 mark of the second half. Ivan Radenovic capped a 14-6 run that put Arizona's lead for the first time in double digits 71-60 with 9:06 left in the contest. That signaled the begining of the end for the visitors. A 14-3 run gave the Cats their biggest margin of the afternoon 85-63 at the 6:33 mark, and the rest was history.

Ike Diogu recorded his 7th double double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Both were game highs, as well as his five shot blocks. Kruger added 14, including 3-6 from beyond the arc. Angounou poured in12 points, and the other two starters Jason Braxton and Steve Moore were also in double figures with ten each. ASU shot well from the field at 50.9%, but that stat was negated by a 60% shooting from the free throw line (Diogu was an uncharacteristic 6-11), as well as the 19 turnovers committed. Channing Frye paced the home team with 21 points.

Was this performance by ASU encouragement for the rest of the 2004-05 season, or just a sign that the Pac-10 portion of their schedule will be a brutal wake-up call from their non-conference games? Many believe that the results of the bay area road trip this weekend, starting with Stanford on Thursday, may provide more of a valid answer than Sunday's game can. The Sun Devils have a golden opputurtunity to shake this loss off and provide the doubters out there that the non-conference record isn't a fluke. Seeing is believing, and the collective eyes of many fans will be watching intently this weekend.

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