The Arizona State Sun Devil men's basketball team (11-9; 1-6) plays host to the Oregon State Beavers (Thursday, Jan. 28) and the #23 Oregon Ducks (Sunday, Jan. 31) in 6:30 p.m. games this week, with Pac-12 Net'sTed Robinson and Matt Muehlebach broadcasting the OSU game and ESPNU the Oregon game (Roxy Bernstein and Cory Williams). Tim Healey and Kyle Dodd have the Sun Devil radio call on the Sun Devil Sports Radio Network (620 AM), presented by MidFirst.
QUICK HITTERS: ASU is averaging 75.8 ppg., its best mark since the 2004-05 squad scored 76.0, while Tra Holder's 18.7 ppg. in Pac-12 games is third-best in the loop. ASU has played eight games that were decided by five points or less, tied for most in Pac-12 with Colorado. The Sun Devils have taken care of the ball in Pac-12 play, averaging just 10.1 turnovers per game, tied for second in the loop. Obi Oleka is averaging 12.3 points in the past four games, while Savon Goodman is at 11.3 in the past three.
ONE MORE STOP, ONE MORE BUCKET: Scoring margins can be twisted and turned in many ways, but in ASU's 1-6 conference record, the margin in those games is just over two buckets (-4.1). ASU has trailed at the half in all six of its losses, but has averaged 42.6 in the second half of the seven Pac-12 games and had some rallies fall just short. Below are quick notes on the past five losses.
SUN DEVIL RALLIES THAT CAME UP JUST SHORT
@Stanford: Trailed 66-56 with 4:50 left, took 73-72 lead but lost 75-73 (17-7 run)
@California: Trailed 54-40 with 12:53 left, tied it at 65 at 2:25 (25-11 run over 10:28)
UW: Trailed by 12 with 19:34 left, cut it to three three times in final 10 minutes in 89-85 loss
@UCLA: Trailed by 12 in first half, held 74-72 lead with two minutes left in 77-74 loss
@USC: Trailed by 17 with 10:27 left, yet had 3PTA to go ahead 1:02
TWEETABLES ABOUT @SUNDEVILHOOPS...
√ Tra Holder: 18.7 points in past 11 games and is 24-56 (.429) from 3PT in that time
√ Willie Atwood: 64-82 (.780) from FTs, 8th-best in Pac-12
√ Obi Oleka: 23-26 (.885) FTs in Pac-12, third-best in league
√ Obi Oleka: 11.0 ppg. in past 10 games and 32-37 (.865) FTs
√ Kodi Justice: 10.4 ppg past 5 games, 20-43 (.465) FGs
√ 319-of-445 (.717) from the free throw line after 15-27 in first game
√ Averaging 41.8 points in second half (33.7 in the first half)
√ 8.8 turnovers per game in the past 8; 13.2 in first 12 tilts
√ FT% of .708 is best since 2009-10 (.712)
√ As of Jan. 26 the Pac-12's top RPI win is ASU over #9 Texas A&M (Dec. 5)
AT HOME: ASU is 55-11 (.833) at home in the past four seasons, the most home wins in a four-year period since the Lionel Hollins-led Sun Devils opened the building in 1974-75. Prior to this era, the most home wins in any four-year era was 51 (1991-95 and from 2007-11). The best winning percentage in a four-year span came from 1979-83, when the Sun Devils went 49-12 (.803). ASU is the only team to beat each of the past three Pac-12 champions in those seasons as it topped Arizona the past two seasons and beat UCLA in 2012-13, all at home.
NOTES VS. BEAVERS: ASU has won seven straight in Tempe over the Beavers...ASU is 25-12 against Oregon State in Tempe since it joined the Pac-10 in 1978-79, its most wins in Tempe against any team...ASU has won five of the past seven and 11 of the past 14 in the series overall...ASU and OSU meet for the 84th time with the Sun Devils holding a narrow 42-41 edge in the series...the Beavers’ last victory at Wells Fargo Arena came on Jan. 13, 2007 (67-59).
ASU SEVEN-GAME WIN STREAK IN TEMPE OVER OSU
ASU 73, Oregon State 55/Jan. 28, 2015
ASU 86, Oregon State 82 (OT)/Feb. 6, 2014
ASU 76, Oregon State 66/Jan. 14, 2012
ASU 80, Oregon State 66/Mar. 5, 2011
ASU 56, Oregon State 46/Feb. 11, 2010
ASU 69, Oregon State 38/Jan. 8, 2009
ASU 72, Oregon State 53/Jan. 5, 2008
LAST YEAR VS. OSU: The teams split last season with each winning on their home court. On Jan. 8 the Beavers held ASU to 20 first-half points en route to a 55-47 victory at Gill Coliseum. Shaquielle McKissic and Eric Jacobsen each had 11 points for ASU. ASU bounced back to win three weeks later, 73-55, on Jan. 28 in Tempe. McKissic led the Sun Devils with 17 points, Gerry Blakes had 12 and Bo Barnes chipped in 11 off the bench.
52,961: In early December ASU had a four-game stretch that included three road games and home game vs. a SEC ranked team. ASU won at Creighton (Dec. 2) and UNLV and lost at #5 Kentucky (Dec. 12), playing in front of 52,961 in those three games, while last year in its nine Pac-12 road games, ASU played in front of 69,519. The home game in that stretch? A 67-54 win over No. 18 Texas A&M (in which ASU led by as much as 25) on Dec. 5, which itself was coming off wins over Gonzaga and Texas.
CLOSE: In the final 10 minutes of three close wins (NC State, UCSB and at Creighton), Andre Spight was 4-of-7 from the field (including 3-of-6 from the three), Eric Jacobsen was perfect in eight FTA and the Sun Devils grabbed 14 offensive boards (opponents had four). In the second half, Savon Goodman was 12-of-15 from the field, ASU was 28-of-37 (.757) from the free throw line (opponents 20-of-31/.645) and grabbed 25 offensive boards (opponents had just nine).
FTS: ASU went 23-of-26 (.885) from the FT line in its 70-68 UCSB win on Nov. 29 (made final 14). The .885 mark is the second-best in school history for at least 25 attempts, behind only the 24-of-26 mark set on Dec. 19, 1981, vs. Cal State-Los Angeles. ASU is 319-of-445 (.717) from the free throw line after shooting 15-27 in first game of the year (includes 8-of-15 at Kentucky, 6-15 at USC, 16-29 vs. Washington, 10-17 at Stanford, all four losses). Coach Hurley made .776 of his free throws while in college (441-of-568).
OOC: ASU played five games away from Tempe in non-conference action, and went 3-2 (wins at UNLV, at Creighton and vs. NC State in Brooklyn). It lost at #5 Kentucky and in an overtime game to Marquette in Brooklyn. ASU went 3-10 on the road last year (3-13 away from home), and was 15-42 on the road (.263) and 21-56 (.272) away from home in the previous five seasons.
EIGHT OF 75: ASU was one of eight in the "power five" conferences (75 teams) to play at least three out-of-conference "true" road games (true being on the opponent home floor). Others: Alabama, Auburn, Creighton, DePaul (4), Florida, Ole Miss (4) and Penn State.
ONE CALENDAR YEAR: Last year after the Jan. 15 Utah game Tra Holder was shooting below 30 percent, had 15 buckets, two three-pointers and was averaging just over four points. Just over a calendar year later, in the first 20 games this year he is averaging a team-best 16.2 points and has made 28 three-pointers. Already he has led the team in scoring in 11 games and has six 20-point games. He became the first Sun Devil to post five straight 20-point games since James Harden did it in his freshman season of 2007-08 and the first Pac-12 player to open league play with four straight 20-point games since Cal's Patrick Christopher in 2008-09. Tra had 23 vs. Cal-State Bakersfield on Dec. 28, then notched 24 vs. Arizona (1/3), 21 at USC (1/7), 26 at UCLA (1/9) and 20 vs. WSU (1/14).
TRA HOLDER A YEAR AGO STATS...AND NOW
JAN. 16, 2015
GAMES/MIN PG: 15/19.5
JAN. 24, 2016
GAMES/MIN PG: 20/31.2
QUICK HITTERS: ASU has played five games decided by three points or less (3-2)...ASU is averaging just 8.8 turnovers per game in the past 10 contests after averaging 13.2 in first 12 games...want a halftime adjustment stat? The Sun Devils are averaging 41.8 points in the second half this year (33.7 in the first half)...ASU had five players in double figures in the Texas A&M and the Houston Baptist wins and six in the Washington loss. Five players in double digits happened once last year.
WILLIE THEN AND NOW: Last season Willie Atwood averaged 11.6 minutes, scored 92 total points (3.0 per game) and was 11-of-31 (.355) from the three-point stripe. With a slimmed-down frame, he is a new player this year. He is averaging 27.8 minutes and is averaging 10.4 points and has three double-doubles. He has 14 double-digit scoring games (he had two last year also had 15 games where he did not score).
WILLIE ATWOOD THEN AND NOW
MINUTES PG: 11.6
MINUTES PG: 28.3
NOV. 23-DEC. 16: From the end of November until mid-December, ASU had a seven-game stretch (which included just two home games) that was solid. The Sun Devils won 79-77 at Creighton on Dec. 2 (who was 89-0 when scoring 75 points in its home arena), topped #18 Texas A&M 67-54 (who beat Gonzaga and Texas) on Dec. 5 and lost at No. 5 Kentucky (Dec. 12). Prior to Creighton, the Sun Devils beat 2015 NCAA Tournament team NC State and dropped an overtime game to surging Marquette in Brooklyn. It also beat 19-game winner from year ago UCSB. ASU is 3-2 against 2015 NCAA Tournament teams with wins over Stephen F. Austin, Belmont and NC State (loss at Kentucky and Arizona), and got a quality road win over Creighton Dec. 2 in front of 16,282 people screaming in blue shirts. ASU then had No. 18 Texas A&M down 25 in the second half before notching the 13-point win on Dec. 5, and finished it up with the comeback win at UNLV on Dec. 16.
QUICK COACH NOTE: Buffalo was 285-369 (.436) in its first 22 seasons after going Division I (1991-2013). Under Coach Hurley the Bulls were 42-20 (.678) in his two seasons.
FALL SIGNING PERIOD: ESPN tabbed Arizona State's November signing period two-man class as 19th in the nation. Sam Cunliffe, a 6-6 wing from Seattle who averaged nearly 20 points per game in his junior season, is rated as the top 2016 player in Washington, while shot blocker Jethro Tshisumpa at 6-10 and 260 is ranked as the 12th-best center prospect
OBI ONE TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Obinna Oleka (Oh-BEE-nah Oh-LEH-ka), who is averaging 12.3 points in the past four games, had no points and one rebound in the first two games, but since he only played five games for State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota two seasons ago and didn't play last year, a slow start was expected. Consider this: Before he took the court in the opener Nov. 13, his previous official game was Dec. 7, 2013...a 705-day break between games. Obi had 19 points vs. Kennesaw State on Nov. 18, and then had 10 points and 14 rebounds (six on the offensive glass) in 29 minutes vs. Marquette on Nov. 24. He also had eight second-half points in 11 minutes in the win at Creighton on Dec. 2. He is averaging 11.0 points in the past 10 games.
TOP FIVE SCORING GAMES FOR OBINNA OLEKA
19 vs. Kennesaw State (11/18/15)
17 vs. Arizona (1/3/16)
14 at California (1/21/16)
14 vs. Houston Baptist (12/19/15)
13 vs. Washington (1/16/16)
DOUBLE-DOUBLES FOR OBINNA OLEKA (3)
13/11 vs. Washington (1/16/16)
11/10 vs. Washington State (1/14/16)
10/14 vs. Marquette (11/24/15)