Normally heated rivals on the basketball court, for just one day, the ASU Sun Devils and UA Wildcats came together to have fun and support a common cause.
Sunday marked the first ASU-UA Alumni Classic at the U.S. Airways Center in downtown Phoenix. Even though the game was for fun, the rivalry was still intact, with ASU prevailing 78-60.
“We just gave them a good, old-fashioned beating,” said former ASU star Ike Diogu, who didn’t play in the game but watched as he gets ready to start training camp with the New Orleans Hornets. “It was fun, since I played with a bunch of these guys. I knew some of the history [of ASU basketball] when I signed with ASU, and to see those guys play, it was a lot of fun.”
All the proceeds from the game went to Neutral Zones of America, Inc., a non-profit youth organization based in Phoenix. NZA’s goal is to one day provide a multi-cultural community center geared toward serving youth and families in low-income communities.
The Sun Devils dominated the action out of the gates behind a two-headed attack from former basketball players Serge Angounou and Rodger Farrington. The duo combined for 14 of ASU’s 19 first-quarter points to put the Sun Devils up 19-11.
The substitutes came into the game for the second quarter, but the Sun Devils continued to outplay their rivals from the South. ASU took a 40-28 lead into halftime.
The hot shooting of former UA women’s basketball player Reshea Bristol brought the Wildcats back into the game in the third quarter, but eight straight points by former Sun Devil basketball player Dwayne Fontana, including a layup at the buzzer, stretched ASU’s lead to 11 at the end the third quarter.
As the fourth quarter wound down, the referees tried to make things interesting by making up calls on ASU, but to no avail. The Sun Devils used a series of alley-oops to end the game and came away winners by 18.
Leading the way offensively for ASU were Fontana and Angounou, who had 12 points each. Farrington also added 10 points.
Other Sun Devils playing in the game were Curtis Milage, Donnell Knight, Bobby Lazor, Eli Lopez, Bill Kennedy, Ryneldi Becenti, Steve Beck and Len Collins.
“It felt like I was back at school again — it was amazing,” said Angounou, who is still playing basketball in the NBDL. “I really appreciate the support from the fans [and] it was a lot of fun.”
The Wildcats were led in scoring by former football player Glenn Howell with 13 points. Bristol and former NFL running back Trung Canidate scored 12 points, while former Wildcat basketball player Joseph Blair added eight.
Canidate had a little fun with the rivalry afterward.
“Who’d we play? The Scum Devils?” Canidate said with a laugh. “I know several of those guys, and it was fun. It was a charity event to give back to the kids. It was all fun.”
But he promised that UA would be back and ready to get revenge next year.
“Maybe I’ll drop about 10 pounds and you’ll see me working the 360 dunks and the froggy-frog dunk.”
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