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ASU men continue 'first since' season

March 13, 2009

For the ASU men's basketball team, the 2008-2009 season keeps bringing up a simple phrase - "first since" - highlighting the Sun Devil's success.

The latest example came with the Sun Devils run in the Pac-10 Tournament. ASU started with a 68-56 victory over the Arizona Wildcats in the first round, marking the first time since 1990 for the Sun Devils to win a game in the conference tournament. (The tournament was not held from 1991 to 2001 and resumed in 2002.)

In the second round, ASU stunned Pac-10 regular season champion Washington 75-65 to earn its first ever trip to the tournament finals. In the finals, ASU fell short with a 66-63 loss to USC.

Next up, the Sun Devils will wait to learn if they have made it into the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2002-2003 season.

Other "firsts" this season:

• ASU finished at 11-7 in the Pac-10 and tied for third, its best Pac-10 finish since the 1994-95 Sweet Sixteen team.

• The Sun Devils have clinched back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1979-80 team went 22-7 and the 1980-81 team went 24-4.

• The last time ASU had back-to-back WINNING seasons was when the 1993-94 team went 15-13 and the 1994-95 team went 24-9 (both under Bill Frieder).