Devils Dominate Beavers in Pac-10 Opener

Taking care of business is an adage that doesn't always describes Arizona State Basketball. Maybe times have changed in Rob Evans' fifth year in Tempe. While the 67-47 trouncing of Oregon State was expected, it does not diminish from the fine play of this squad who now has won five games in a row.

The first 15 minutes of the game saw both teams going back and forth at each other. OSU jumped to a 12-6 at the 14:30 mark, but Jamal Hill's 3-pointer capped a 9-3 run and tied the game at 15-15 with 12:00 left in the first half. Phillip Ricci helped the home team regain the lead 24-21 at the 7:17 mark, and then Ike Diogu and Curtis Millage rallied the Devils for a 16-5 run that ended the first half at 37-29. Coach Evans talked about the maturity that his ball club has displayed lately in sustaining leads, and putting teams away. ASU continued to validate that theory in the second half, where they enjoyed a double digit lead for the last 20 minutes of the contest. A monstrous dunk by Tommy Smith at the 16:30 mark propelled the Sun Devils to a 45-31 lead. Even a four-minute drought in the second half couldn't slow down the Devils, who got contributions from several other players like Kyle Dodd and Donnel Knight. Smith's basket made it 54-42 at the 6:15 mark, and one last run by ASU to the tune of 13-5 sealed the team's first conference victory of the 2002-03 season.

During ASU's latest win streak, two categories that have stood out the most in their favor are the rebounding margin, and defensive effort. Tonight in Corvallis was no different. The Sun Devils won the battle of the boards convincingly 38-22, and limited the Beavers to 33.3% from the field. Milage led all scores with 16 points. Diogu recorded a double double with 14 points and ten rebounds. Jason Braxton's nine points were a welcomed sight, and Tommy Smith played another complete game with eight points, eight boards, and three block shots. Hill's two three-pointers helped loosen up the home team's zone, as the junior finished with eight points as well.

Up next for ASU is one of the toughest road games in the Pac-10 – a visit to Oregon. It will take a near perfect game for the Devils to upset one of the best teams in the country. The maroon and gold have accomplished the expected. A win against the Ducks would not only be improbable, but also another indicator that Evans' team has finally turned the corner.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories