Devils Show No Fatigue, Beat Lafayette

After four games in seven days, and barely 48 hours after back from a seven-hour plane ride from Hawaii, no one would blame the Sun Devils for coming out flat in their next game. So much for that theory. ASU jumped to a 48-17 halftime lead, and even after letting up a bit in the second half, still managed to convincingly beat the visitors from Pennsylvania 85-62.

ASU's big men Ike Diogu and Tommy Smith dominated on both ends of the floor, and helped their team hold a 21-4 lead at the 11:38 mark. With 6:12 left in the first half, Diogu had outscored Lafayette 12-11, and the Devils' lead kept increasing thanks to a suffocating defense that limited its opponent to 21.7% from the field in the first twenty minutes. In the second half Rob Evans' team hit the breaks, and scored its first field goal at the 16:40 mark. Nevertheless, the lead never dipped below ten points, as ASU was able to play all its players and able to virtually trade baskets in the last ten minutes of the contest. Crowd favorite Sun devil reserve Brandon Goldman provided the exclamation point with his buzzer beater three-point basket.

Diogu led three Sun Devils in double figures with 27 points on 9-14 shooting. The freshman also had seven boards, and two blocks. Smith had an impressive stat line himself with 12 points, five rebounds, team high five assists, and four blocks. Curtis Millage who was in foul trouble for most of the game chipped with 10 points and four boards. Donnel Knight continued his steady play this season leading ASU with eight boards, while scoring seven points. For the game, the home team shot 51.7% from the field, and improved slightly form its last game shooting 64.7% the charity stripe. The Devils dominated on the boards 46-34, but their 19 turnovers (13 in the second half) allowed Lafayette to outscore the Devils 45-37 in the second half. Overall, this game stayed true to its script – a resounding victory for ASU.

Coach Evans started his press conference congratulating the Sun Devils' Football team who not only beat Arizona, but also had a fine season "Against all odds." Evans was also complimentary of his squad: "I'm proud of my team. We fought hard against a pretty good team. We were able to take them out of their game in the first half. This team is getting better. I like this team." As far as the pre-game concerns over the team's energy level, he commented: "We fought through fatigue…we played five games in nine days. I've seen many teams come back from Hawaii and play flat. Knight did a tremendous job in providing us energy. Tommy did a fabulous job." While fans and media alike are amazed at the level of play of Diogu this early in the season, Evans said that he's not all that astonished. "Diogu works hard. He doesn't buy into the media (hype). He has his ego in the pocket. He's focusing on his game, especially defensively. He's a joy to coach. He has a very good touch from the outside, and we're making sure we're developing that part of his game. But he knows where he needs to get his baskets." When one reporter asked the ASU coach if he any concerns that the freshman could compete against the big men in the Pac-10 conference, Evans paused, smiled and said: "I don't have any concerns of him competing against anyone in the country."

While a 4-1 record was fully expected from this Hoops team at this point of the season, one cannot dismiss the fine play that this group of players have exhibited so far. If ASU continues on this path, it just might breeze through a challenging non-conference schedule. That being said, games next week at home against BYU (on Wednesday), and on the road at Utah (on Saturday) will surely give the team and its followers a better sense of how much they have improved upon last year.

Sparky's Sundries The P.A. announcement congratulating the Football team on their win in Tucson was met with the same crowd roar as Goodman's three-point basket…The student section "commended" Lafayette for scoring its 10th and 11th points with 8:50 left in the first half, by chanting "Double digits! Double digits!" …On the other hand the crowd was extremely silent when the Sun Devils shot their free throws, and especially during Millage's attempts. The senior only shot 1-4…Smith got his first foul with 18:23 in the second half, and has lately been doing an admirable job staying out of foul trouble…The best chant of the afternoon: "Kyle. You have a mismatch!" This was directed to the 6-0 Kyle Dodd who was guarded by Lafayette's 5-10 (generously speaking) Drew Dawson.

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