ASU Punishes Purdue 70-53

Viva Las Vegas! Playing in the gambling capital of the world, the Sun Devils didn't need any luck notching what may be their finest display of Basketball this season. A dominating performance on both sides of the floor helped coach Rob Evans' team win their contest in the Las Vegas Shootout.

The first few minutes were nip and tuck, and ASU behind a strong start by Ike Diogu was able to hold a slim 10-8 lead at the 15:45 mark. Purdue briefly grabbed the lead for just a little over two minutes. However, a Jamal Hill jumper broke a 13-13 tie with 10:59 left in the first half, and the Devils never relinquished the lead. Shawn Redhage exploded off the bench with eight points in the first half and helped ASU go down to the locker room with a 37-28 lead. Redhage and Curtis Millage helped their team increase the lead to 53-38 at the 10:25 mark, and Diogu's dominance on the offensive end in the last ten minutes capped off one of the best quality wins in the Rob Evans era.

Diogu who only played 24 minutes due to foul trouble nearly missed a double double with 18 points and nine boards – both team highs. Smith had a fine game with 15 points, five assists, and two block shots. The only blemish to his game was a 4-10 shooting from the charity stripe which negated an otherwise near perfect performance from the free throw line by the Devils. The player of the game has to be the "point-a-minute man" Shawn Redhage with 14 points in only 15 minutes, in what was one of the most impressive performances from a Sun Devils reserve. ASU was sizzling from the field shooting 54.3%, while their effective defense limited Purdue to 39.5%. The 29-21 edge in rebounds, as well as, the 16-4 margin in assists are other very telling statistics as to the command that Evans' team had for virtually all 40 minutes of this contest.

In a week where the Pac-10 teams have failed miserably in numerous out of conference games, ASU has been the unlikely lone shining light. The victory tonight is somewhat of a validation as to the high pre-season expectations placed on this team. Up next is the Sun Devils' holiday tournament, which will first pit them against Bucknell on Friday. Winning their tournament can launch them on a high note into conference play, and help fulfill the pre-season forecast of a fourth place finish.

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