Game Log: Fantastic Finish

The good news is it was a heck of a great game. The bad news is that I missed the first ten minutes or so. I thought I could do most of the pregame show and still make it for tip-off. Normally it takes me about an hour and a half to get from the radio station to Tempe. Not so with the bad weather on Saturday.

8:39 in the first
You may be wondering why this log is being started midway through the first half. Strangely enough, a nice winter storm hit Arizona and made the going slow on I-10. Even worse was a brand new parking structure that made it a further walk than we were accustomed to in the past. (I know, I know, you have no sympathy for someone who gets paid to watch games). In the car we heard the great run that put the Cats up 22-4, but by the time we got to the arena, had our bags checked and cleared the Cats were only up by 10 and as I write this the Devils have just cut it to four, 27-23.

Maybe I should get back in the car.

6:14 in the first
Another reason to dislike ASU. They are short of chairs at press row, although several ASU staffers hare sitting on two or three stacked chairs. When asked if we could use one they said "we don't have any extra".

6:00 in the first
Gotta hand it to the ASU fans. They are loud. Sadly, there are still open seats. How does this game not sell out? (Post game correction: the game was sold out, not all the seats were filled. There was one section inexplicably "reserved" and roped off, but no one sat there. The other open seats were all season ticket holders who failed to show up.)

4:53 in the first
They finally found a chair and it is broken. Of course, the Wildcats have had several rough trips down the floor and their offense looks a bit broken.

3:42 in the first
Salim just fixed that. He got a steal in the open court and outraced the Devils down the end. He went up as if he was going to lay it in, but as Kevin Kruger approached he shifted gears and managed a pretty two-handed slam.

1:46 in the first
With his three fouls shots, Diogu has 14, the same as Salim Stoudamire. As I type this Salim draws the foul and sinks both.

1:18 in the first
Salim is nearly trampled by Austin and goes back to the line. He sinks both and has 18. Diogu is playing with two fouls by the way. Frye is on the bench with two.

1:04 in the first
Salim picks up his second. By the way the best sign has a drawing of Salim and a drawing of Damon Stoudamire with the "lesser than sign between them" (i.e. Salim is lesser than Damon). My only question is who did the ASU student have to ask about which is the proper mathematical symbol?

18:18 in the second
Great play by Hassan Adams. In transition, Adams beats everyone down the court. Shakur launches a pass from half court and Adams gets it to fall, despite being crushed by Diogu. Adams crashed to the floor and was down a minute but got up and made one of two free throws after the flagrant foul was called. He then scored on a putback on the ensuing possession.

17:25 in the second
Seven straight for Adams after a Diogu goal tend. He has nine of the Cats' points on their 11-0 run.

13:19 in the second
All week long Lute stressed making three or more passes on each possession. Shakur has taken a shot without a pass on each of the last two trips.

12:30 in the second
How to shoot like Kevin Kruger. Spin around three times on your pivot foot and then jump into an opposing defender as the shot clock winds down. So far it has not been overly effective.

12:21 in the second
A large number of Arizona fans have just begun the "this is our house" chant. That one never gets old.

An ASU student has a "these refs suck" sign. Sadly, I can't disagree. I bet he takes that to every Pac-10 game he attends.

11:09 in the second
Frye just picked up his fourth foul on an atrocious call. Diogu had position so Frye stood still, with his arms straight up, conceding the bucket. Diogu initiates contact (minimal) and Frye gets the whistle. He did not challenge the shot at all. About all he could have done more was run away into the stands.

9:17 in the second
ASU has gone to a 1-2-2 zone and the Cats have not figured it out. They have gotten a few open looks, but not in ideal spaces. The Devils have cut it to eight, 58-50.

7:17 in the second
Just when it looked like the Devils could not hit a big shot, they hit two. Stevie Moore and Ike hit back to back threes and the Cats still can't handle the 1-2-2. ASU is on a 12-0 run.

6:57 in the second
Devils shift to a box and one, with Diogu shadowing Frye and force them into a shot clock violation. Devils can't convert on ensuing possession.

5:10 in the second
Diogu with another huge three. He not only wants this game, but may want to be conference Player of the Year.

5:05 in the second
Devils miss the front end of a 1-for-1 that would have tied it. They just got the ball back and have another chance at the lead.

4:27 in the second
A Moore lay-in gives the Devils the lead.

2:47 in the second
This one is tied. The Devils are on a 20-6 run and have outscored the Cats 60-42 since the middle of the first half when the Cats led 22-4. The Devils have figured out the 1-3-1, but the Cats keep going with it.

The biggest difference is that Stoudamire has scored just two points in the half.

20:0 in the second
Heads-up move by Stoudamire. The senior gets an offensive rebound and instead of going to the hoop, he backs it out and runs down the clock. He calls the timeout with 20 seconds left and the Cats will try for the last shot.

00.6 in the second
Salim works all but a few seconds off the clock and then drives. He pulls up just inside the foul line and drops a floater in for the go-ahead bucket.

The replay shows Stoudamire moved his feet on the shot, maybe a travel, but it also looks like he may have been bumped.

Rob Evans and Ike Diogu were both classy in their post game remarks. Neither blamed the officials and felt like they did all they could do.

Lute walks in wearing a hooded warm-up jersey. You know, one of those red and blue Nike Elite shooting shirts they wear before the game. Apparently the players doused him in Gatorade and chanted "305, 305" to celebrate the win.

I have watched the replay of Salim's final shot several times. It does look to me like he took an extra step, but it also looks like he was bumped by Jason Braxton. While I think it was a good no-call, I can also understand if ASU fans are upset.

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