WASHINGTON at ARIZONA STATE
Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, AZ – Sunday, January 30 12:45 PM (CBS)
Last meeting: Feb. 28, 2004 (Tempe) - UW 96, ASU 72
Overall Series: Arizona State leads, 33-22
A soft non-conference schedule got Coach Rob Evans' ASU bunch off to a nine-game winning streak and a 13-2 start, including a pair of road wins in the Bay Area. They lost in Tucson as expected, and then inexplicably dropped a home pair to the L.A. schools before righting the ship with an upset over Oregon at Mac Court and then beating Washington State 68-62 on Thursday night.
Washington swept Arizona State last season, winning in Seattle 90-81 before blasting them off their own floor 96-72 in the return. The Sun Devils did win the previous three meetings, however.
They all wear "I Like Ike" buttons in Tempe, and it aint for Eisenhower. Junior Ike Diogu is one of six players in the nation who leads his conference in both scoring (21.9) and rebounding (9.9), and after hitting a pair of free throws with 20 seconds to go in the Oregon win, kept his 78-game double-figure scoring streak intact. He'll have to stay for his senior season to have any chance at the NCAA record of 115 (set by Lionel Simmons of La Salle in 1990). Diogu has averaged 20.3 points in his career against Washington while shooting 59 percent from the floor, he averages over 10 free throw attempts per game, and is the front-runner for the PAC-10's Player-of-the-Year.
Sophomore forward Serge Angounou (9.6 ppg) is coming into his own for the Sun Devils after an injury-plagued start to his career. The Cameroon native has 20-point outings in two of his last three games, and has four double-doubles on the year. Kevin Kruger has started the last two games as Arizona State went to a three-guard look, and has averaged 12 points in conference games.
Sophomore Bryson Krueger (7.1 ppg) is a 46-percent marksman from behind the arc, and senior Steve Moore (11.8 ppg) has hit for double-figures in a dozen games and has won two games late with free throws. Point guard Jason Braxton (5.6 ppg) leads the PAC-10 in assist/turnover ratio (2.63), and could hit the ASU top-five list in career assists before he is through.
With Washington's 91-82 setback in Tucson on Thursday, the game takes on added significance. Not just from wanting to keep pace with new league-leaders Arizona, or from any seeding ramifications - but from proving itself on the road with a bullseye on their jerseys. The Huskies are just 1-2 in conference road play, and Coach Romar stressed to his team immediately after the loss the importance of getting something out of the trip.
PROBABLE ARIZONA STATE STARTERS POS No. Name HT CL PPG RPG ---------------------------------------------- F 45 Serge Angounou 6-8 SO 9.6 6.6 F 12 Bryson Krueger 6-7 SO 7.1 2.6 F 5 Ike Diogu 6-8 JR 21.9 9.9 G 1 Jason Braxton 6-2 SR 5.6 4.2 (APG) G 21 Steve Moore 6-5 SR 11.8 2.6
Rick Samek can be reached at email@example.com