13 Proves To Be Lucky Number For The Sun Devils

It's been a long time coming for a victory over Arizona. How long you ask? The Wildcats enjoyed a 12-game winning streak against the Sun Devils, Rob Evans is 0-22 against ranked teams since he arrived at ASU, and the list goes on. But why rain on the maroon and gold parade? Not only did ASU beat Arizona 88-72, but also did so in a very convincing manner.

The Cats' zone defense did give the Devils some problems early in the game. However, patience and good ball movement by ASU help break the zone and aid the home team to enjoy a lead for virtually the whole game. A 10-8 ASU margin at the 15:07 mark, mushroomed to a 30-20 lead with 6:06 left in the first half. Chad Prewitt and Curtis Millage were the main culprits in that Sun Devil run, which saw ASU's margin never drop below 10 points. Jason Braxton continued to dazzle with his dunks, and even Chris Osborne gets into the action as ASU cruises to a 46-31 halftime score.

The second half saw Arizona trying to employ a half court press defense, a tactic that helped them overcome a 20-point deficit against UCLA a few days ago. Evans and his staff must have burned a few VCR heads watching that game tape, because ASU was breaking that press with relative ease. Tommie Smith came alive in the second half skying for dunks and blocks. He along with Millage and Prewitt ensured a comfortable lead through the last 20 minutes of the game. The first ten minutes of the second half usually indicate the final score of the game. With 11:53 left in the game both teams were literally trading baskets as ASU lead 63-48. Whenever the Cats made a run, the Devils were there to answer the call. It's been a long time since the maroon and gold faithful stormed the floor, and the final score of 88-72 was more than enough reason for the mayhem to begin.

The margin of victory showed in the stats as well. ASU out rebounded Arizona 39-29, and was hot from the field shooting 53.8%, as well as 41.7% from three-point land. A 68.4% shooting from the free throw by the Devils may be better than the USC game, but it still begs for improvement. Then again, on a night like this, maybe one shouldn't dwell on negatives…

Four Sun Devils were in double figures, led by (who else) Prewitt who had 22. Millage not only scored 19 points, but most of his points were just daggers to the Cats heart, during their runs to narrow the lead. The junior was also the leading ASU rebounder with eight. Smith and Braxton scored 16 and 10 respectively, and many of their dunks provided some highlight film material. Awvee Storey, who was in the starting lineup, played a very spirited game scoring eight points and grabbing seven boards.

While Sun Devil fans' faces may be hurting from smiling so much tonight, the euphoria from this victory has to settle down, for this win to mean something down the road. While ASU proved with this win (and its last two losses) that it can stand toe-to-toe with the conference giants, this is also the same ASU team that couldn't capitalize on a huge Oregon win earlier this season. The sooner the team forgets this win; the better off they'll be for it. It is simply a challenge that the Sun Devils must conquest.

(NOTE: Coach Evans' comments and Sparky's Sundries will be posted on the Hoops message board on Thursday morning.)

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