Runnin' Rebels Outlast Sun Devils

True to their nickname UNLV used an up tempo game pace to beat ASU in 89-78 in the first round of the NIT tournament.

The first half was a wild shootout where both teams combined for 88 points. Ike Diogu scored his first two points at the 12:39 mark to cut down UNLV's margin to 17-14. Allen Morrill tied the game at 17-17 on the next possession, but an 8-2 by the Rebels gave the home team a 25-19 edge. The Sun Devils proceeded to outscore their hosts 10-5, and came within one point, 30-29, with 6:30 left in the game. Nevertheless, UNLV was able to break away, and a three-point basket at the buzzer by Ricky Morgan granted his team a 48-40 lead at halftime.

The second half was more of the same. The speed of the game showed no signs of slowing down, and the Devils couldn't cool off the torrid shooting of the Rebels. Morgan gave UNLV their first double-digit lead of the night, 60-49, with just four minutes into the second half. Diogu's basket brought ASU within seven points, 79-72, with just four minutes left in the game. However, that's as close as Rob Evans' team would get on Thursday night.

If this was indeed Diogu's last game in the maroon and gold, he definitely went out with a blaze of glory, to the tune of 29 points and ten rebounds. Steve Moore, who did play his last game at ASU, was the only other Sun Devil in double figures with 15. UNLV shot 58.6% from the field, and 50% of their three pointers (11 baskets). Playing against his father for the first time, Kevin Kruger was only 3-10 from the floor and scored eight points. Morgan led UNLV with 21 points.

ASU ends the 2004-05 season with five consecutive losses. Unlike the previous four, this game was for the most part was never in doubt. Bad luck plagues many in Las Vegas, but ASU could hardly pin this defeat on that reason.

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