Devils Edge Beavers

Glass half full or half empty? That is the question some are asking following ASU's victory over Oregon State on Thursday night. On the one hand, the Devils ultimately surrendered a 16-point halftime lead and nearly lost the game. On the other, can there be dissatisfaction with a precious conference win regardless of how it was achieved? One thing is undisputable, ASU did have to fight back to squeak by the visitors from Corvallis 75-73.

ASU (17-9, 6-8) opened the game with defensive intensity and didn't allow an Oregon State (14-10, 6-7) field goal until the 14:35 mark where David Lucas narrowed the margin to 6-4. 16 first half points by Bryson Krueger gave the home team some breathing room and put the maroon and gold ahead 33-18 with 5:05 left in the half. Both teams traded baskets the rest of the first stanza, and Diogu's three-pointer with four seconds before half time gave the Sun Devils their biggest lead at 42-26.

Thanks to Ike Diogu and Jason Braxton, ASU still enjoyed a double-digit lead 53-43 at the 15:19 mark of the second half. However that was the last time that the Sun Devils would enjoy a lead that big. Lucas and Jason Fontenet brought back the visitors and captured the lead 63-62 at the 6:21 mark. Nevertheless, it was the first and last time Oregon State would be ahead of ASU. Nick DeWitz converted successfully behind the arc narrowed the margin to one point 72-71 with 26 seconds left in the game. Serge Angounou successfully takes the offensive foul charge, which was sandwiched by 3-4 free throw shooting by Kevin Kruger, which secured the victory and had the visitors still seeking their first Pac-10 road victory of the season.

"I thought our kids did a great job defensively, especially in the first half" said coach Rob Evans after the game. "Oregon State is a pretty good offensive ball club, they are difficult to guard especially off the dribble, we basically took them off of everything they wanted to do, we were pretty sound." When asked about his team's inability to put away the visitors in the second half, Evans replied: "We did put them away, we won by two. That is putting people away. A two-point win is like a rout to me. They didn't put us away, we put them away."

Diogu paced ASU with 25 points and a team high nine rebounds. Krueger poured in 21, and was 5-6 behind the arc. Jason Braxton scored a career-high 11 points and was the only other Sun Devil in double figures. ASU troubles at the line, 16-27 (highlighted by Diogu's 8-15), were one reason that allowed Oregon State back in the game. The Beavers outscored the Devils 47-33 in the second half, and shot 50% from the field. ASU had a slim advantage over Oregon State on the glass 40-39. OSU's David Lucas had game highs of 26 points and 13 boards.

This game obviously showcased two different ASU teams. In the first half, it was a team that played well on both ends of the floor, and in the second it was a squad that couldn't successfully respond to the visitors' halftime adjustments. This contest probably defines the team's 2005 Pac-10 season in a nutshell. Ever since the sweep at the bay area schools, the Sun Devils haven't been able to win two straight games. On Saturday, they will try to break that trend as they host the Oregon Ducks. A victory, in any shape or form, will be welcomed.

Sparky's Sundries At halftime, ASU's football team and their coaches were honored with the presentation of the 2004 Vitalis Sun Bowl trophy. Outgoing seniors Andrew Walter and Drew Hodgdon thanked the Sun Devil fans for their support. "Fans are the driving force," said Walter. "You mean more than you know."…nice to see running back Loren Wade among the players who walked on the floor. Wade will re-join the team in spring practice following his suspension that sidelined him for nine games in 2004…kicking violations are rare in a basketball game, but Oregon State had three of those, all in the first half…former Suns' coach Frank Johnson was in attendance, as well as former NBA star Maurice Lucas who saw a great game from his son David…DevilsDigest poster Pops1 got some camera time late in the game, and seemed more relaxed than most of the fans in the building. Did he know something we didn't…?

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