TEMPE, AZ (KPHO/KTVK) –

Days before the heated Territorial Cup game between rivals Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, there’s concern over a controversial shirt.

The design, which features the message “Make Arizona Great Again Build A Wall” and a line sectioning off Tucson as part of Mexico, is drawing criticism.

“We never want to normalize symbols or slogans that are hateful and this T-shirt normalizes it, making it casual, making it funny, it’s not,” said Carlos Galindo-Elvira, the Anti-Defamation League’s Arizona regional director.

“It marginalizes vulnerable communities and in this case, Hispanic immigrants,” he said.

ASU students question whether the T-shirt crosses the line from humor to hateful.

“The joke’s funny but a little distasteful,” said Andrew Robinson, a student.

The shirt is advertised on several local websites and social media pages. A person in support of the shirt posted to Facebook: “I’m going to Tucson and need this.”

Another offended by the message posted: “Terrible racist reference. Shame on you. Even if you mean this as a joke, Tempe is better than this.”

“It’s painful, in fact, to some members of our community and so why would we think that’s funny?” asked Galindo-Elvira. “If you think about a situation like the Holocaust, that was not an accident in our history, it wasn’t killing that started the Holocaust, it was words, it was images.”

Cactus Sports in downtown Tempe is an official ASU retailer. Renee Montoya said she’s disappointed hearing about the controversial shirt. Her philosophy is to only carry tasteful items that poke fun at ASU’s rival school not people with slogans like “No Pity for the Kitty.”

“We just try and keep everything to where it’s making fun of you a little bit, but no one is really going to get too worked up about it,” Montoya said.

“People are going to be dumb,” said Kyle Martin, a former student. “They’re going to do what they want.”

With the Southern Poverty Law Center reporting more than 700 incidents of racial harassment and intimidation nationwide since the presidential election, ASU students hope fans “Fear the Fork,” not what’s worn to the Territorial Cup Friday night.

“The whole recent election has been a pretty big triggering point for people and I feel like this is just bringing that into something completely unnecessary,” Robinson said. “There’s no reason why we need to relate the political thing to a simple football game.”

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


TEMPE, Ariz. — A wide-open, run-and-gun style opened up Arizona State’s offense, even if the defense had some lapses.

The Sun Devils had six players finish in double figures and their point total tied for the second-highest ever in program history. Freshman Sam Cunliffe had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Kodi Justice scored a season-high 20 points to lead Arizona State to a 127-110 victory over The Citadel on Wednesday.

Justice scored 13 points in the first half, when ASU built a 55-45 lead. Cunliffe scored 16 points in the second half. The Sun Devils (4-2) surpassed 100 points for the first time since 2009.

“Sam looked really smooth out there,” ASU coach Bobby Hurley said. “He looks more and more relaxed and comfortable in what we’re doing. He’s thrown himself into both ends of the floor.”

Obinna Oleka added 20 points and 15 rebounds and Tra Holder, the team’s leading scorer at 17.2 points per game, scored 22.

“You don’t come across many teams that play the style that they play and get up and down the way they do,” Hurley said of the Bulldogs (3-3). “It was a good game for us leading into next week in terms of the pace of the game.”

That first opponent next week is No. 1 Kentucky.

“I’m scared to think of how many points they might score on us if we play defense the way we played (Wednesday),” Hurley said.

Arizona State took a 66-52 lead early in the second half, only to see The Citadel go on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to four with 14:01 to play.

The Bulldogs, of the Southern Conference, kept it close for a good portion of the second half but could never take the lead. The Sun Devils pulled away right after the 10-minute mark.

Kaelon Harris came off the bench to lead the Bulldogs with a career-high 30 points and Zane Najdawi tied his career-high with 28 points.

“The greatest thing is we’ve got nine freshmen. A lot of them got to grow up (Wednesday) and our leading scorer was a freshman,” Citadel coach Duggar Baucom said. “We’ll grow from this and try to get better.”

Justice, a part-time starter so far this season, hadn’t scored more than eight points in a game this season.

“It’s going to be my night one night, it’s going to be other guys’ nights on other night. So it’s not that big a deal to me,” Justice said.

BIG PICTURE

The Citadel: The Bulldogs entered Wednesday averaging 102.4 points per game. They scored over 100 for the fourth time this season but have given up a combined 257 points in back-to-back losses at Iowa State and ASU.

Arizona State: Starting with its next game in the Bahamas, the Sun Devils will play six games in 23 days against teams that have made the NCAA Tournament with regularity in recent years. First up is Kentucky, followed by UNLV, Purdue, San Diego State, New Mexico State and Creighton.

IT’S “Teh-SHUMP-a”

The Sun Devils were hardly in danger of losing, but got one effective minute of action early in the first half from seldom-used post Jethro Tshisumpa. The 6-foot-10 freshman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo blocked three shots and made a layup to give ASU a 22-12 lead at the 13:12 mark of the first half.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Arizona State was 8 of 16 from 3-point range in the first half, 7 of 15 at the free throw line. The Sun Devils turned things around at the line, hitting 21 of 22 free throws in the second half.

TURNING POINT

A dunk by Shannon Evans off a steal by Cunliffe gave the Sun Devils an 87-76 lead with 9:04 to play, and ASU led by no fewer than eight points the rest of the way.

UP NEXT

The Citadel returns home to Charleston, South Carolina for its next five games, starting with Presbyterian on Monday.

Arizona State heads to the Bahamas to face top-ranked Kentucky on Monday. ASU lost at then-No. 5 Kentucky on Dec. 12, 2015, 72-58, and is 0-4 against the Wildcats since 1991.

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham directs his team against Colorado in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, in Boulder, Colo. Colorado won 40-16. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

TEMPE, Ariz. — And now there is just one.

One game. One opportunity.

And it’s a big game. With still a big opportunity within reach.

This is what remains for the Arizona State Sun Devils this season: beat rival Arizona, keep hold of the Territorial Cup and become bowl eligible; the latter of which would provide ASU the hope of finishing 2016 with a winning record.

But, first things first.

Friday in Tucson, the Sun Devils renew their rivalry with the Wildcats in the 90th edition of the “Duel in the Desert.”

“This is always an exciting week for us, and the most important week that we emphasize with our players,” head coach Todd Graham said at his weekly Monday press conference. “Our total focus is on keeping that cup here in Tempe.”

Aside from bragging rights, which is always important, and perhaps the most important aspect of the rivalry, there is not much on the line when the Sun Devils and Wildcats meet to close out the regular season.

Both teams have had disappointing campaigns.

ASU (5-6, 2-6) has lost five straight after a 5-1 start, while UA (2-9, 0-8) hasn’t visited the win column in more than two months.

The Sun Devils’ current losing streak is the longest since Graham’s arrival in 2012, and the Wildcats have dropped eight in a row since beating Hawaii on Sept. 17.

Two years ago, these teams battled for the South Division and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

“Obviously, our program is always going to be about competing for championships, but this is one of those must-wins on your schedule,” Graham said. “You can throw all the records out. It doesn’t matter.”

Recent history favors ASU in the series.

The Sun Devils have won three of the past four matchups, with the one defeat coming on their most recent trip to Tucson in 2014, when the Wildcats won 42-35 to claim the school’s first-ever conference title game appearance.

“It’s the most intense rival game that I’ve been a part of,” Graham said.

A victory on Friday would make ASU bowl eligible, something Graham has referred to as the minimum expectation for his program.

Still, a sixth win and the Sun Devils are postseason bound for a school-record sixth straight season. That would slot them in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl, the seventh of the seven Pac-12 bowl arrangements. The only problem, or potential problem, is that ASU played in the Cactus Bowl a year ago, losing to West Virginia at Chase Field.

Of course, UA would love nothing more than to solve that perceived problem with its own win this week.

“I always get a lot of emails and messages this week, and I’ve already gotten quite a few, just saying, ‘don’t worry about anything in the past, just go win this game’ so it’s a very, very important game. It’s very passionate (with our fans),” Graham said.

EXTRA POINTS

— Asked for an injury update on his team and Graham quipped, “How much time we got?” He did rule out offensive lineman Zach Robertson, wide receiver Cam Smith and reserve defensive end Jalen Bates for this week. Bates got hurt during pregame warmups at Washington.

Graham added he expects safety Marcus Ball and cornerback De’Chavon Hayes to return, while he remains hopeful on the availability of defensive lineman George Lea, wide receivers Frederick Gammage and Jalen Harvey plus offensive linemen Sam Jones and Stephon McCray.

— In the past two weeks, ASU has been penalized 17 times, including a season-high nine last Saturday. Graham takes great pride in having a disciplined program, yet recently there have been too many flags thrown on his players.

“Nothing that I really want to say,” he answered when asked for an explanation.

Follow Craig Grialou on Twitter

GLENDALE, Ariz. — When the city of Glendale backed out of an arena lease deal with the Arizona Coyotes last year, it put the future of the franchise in doubt yet again.

Turns out, Glendale may have done the Coyotes a favor.

The Coyotes announced a proposal Monday to build a 16,000-seat arena near Arizona State University’s main campus by 2019, a deal that would put the team in the heart of the Phoenix area’s population and financial center.

“Someone said at the time it would be a silver lining,” Coyotes President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said of the Glendale City Council’s decision. “This is a gold lining.”

The new arena will be on a 58-acre parcel within Arizona State’s Athletic Facilities District, less than two miles from campus. The NHL arena will include an attached 4,000-seat multi-sport arena that would be used for Coyotes practices as well as by ASU athletics and youth hockey teams.

The Coyotes’ agreement with developer Catellus Development Corp. sets a June 30 deadline for creating the overall budget, design and operational plan for developing the arena.

Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway said the arena will cost around $400 million, with the team picking up about half the cost. The other half will be through public-private funding, according to LeBlanc.

“Let’s be realistic here: These types of arenas don’t happen without some kind of public-private partnership,” LeBlanc said. “It’s an absolute requirement, but the world has shifted where teams would look for the entire bill to be covered by a governmental agency, you see a shift toward the middle of the spectrum.”

The Coyotes shared an arena with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns after moving from Winnipeg in 1996 and moved to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale in 2003. The team had other options at the time, including Scottsdale, but the area where they are now was expected to be the growth area in Phoenix, so the franchise went with Glendale.

The Coyotes’ time in Glendale has been tumultuous, starting with former owner Jerry Moyes taking the team into bankruptcy in 2009, leading to the franchise being operated by the NHL for four years.

The Coyotes signed a 15-year, $225 million arena lease deal with the city of Glendale in 2013, but the City Council voted to terminate the lease last year. The sides agreed to a restructured lease agreement last July to keep the team in Glendale for two more seasons. The team has a lease option for next season and LeBlanc said the team is already working on extending it.

Arizona had considered sites in downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe before LeBlanc announced in June that the team had selected a then-unnamed site for its new home.

One of the drawbacks of having the arena on the west side of town was that it was too difficult for fans on the east side to get to games, particularly during rush-hour traffic for weekday games.

The new site will put the Coyotes on the more-populous east side of the Valley of the Sun and, they hope, lead to bigger crowds. The Coyotes annually have among the NHL’s lowest attendance figures.

“Any business that you run, you want to make sure you’re close as possible to the majority of your customers,” LeBlanc said. “It’s just a simple, empirical fact that the majority of the people are on the east side. That’s not to say anything negative about our friends here on the west side, it’s just a fact that the vast majority are on the east side.”

The Coyotes hope to have construction begin by the end of next summer and have the arena ready for play by the 2019-20 season. There are still a few hurdles to cross — namely the public funding side of the equation — but Monday was a big step toward the Coyotes finding a permanent home.

“It’s a long road to get here, but everything looks great for the Coyotes,” Barroway said. “For staying in Arizona. We’re going to be in a place we think is the ideal location. We’re going to build a world-class facility we believe our fans will be excited about and want to come to.”

Army parachute team lights up Tempe sky at Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday night. Dianna M. Náñez/azcentral.com

U.S. Army skydivers glide into Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium during PAC-12 action on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 in Tempe, Ariz.(Photo: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)

There were flying objects all right, but not unidentified ones.

The lights in the Tempe skies Thursday night that had some azcentral readers concerned that they were of an extraterrestrial nature were actually the Golden Knights, a celebrated U.S. Army parachute team. Several performers circled above Sun Devil Stadium before landing on the 50-yard line pitchfork.

The event preceded Arizona State’s football game against Utah and was part of the school’s Salute to Service presentation. The jumps were accompanied by sparklers and smoke.

Recap: Utah beats ASU in Tempe for 1st time since 1976

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Recap: Utah beats ASU in Tempe for 1st time since 1976

Utah beat Arizona State in Tempe for the first time since 1976, with a 49-26 win on Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

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Utah quarterback Troy Williams (3) celebrates his touchdown throw to a wide-open Raelon Singleton (11) against Arizona State late in the 2nd quarter during PAC-12 action on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 in Tempe, Ariz.(Photo: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)

Utah beat Arizona State in Tempe for the first time since 1976, with a 49-26 win on Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

The Sun Devils are now 5-5, sitting at .500 for the first time this season.

Check out updates and analysis from Jeff Metcalfe from throughout the game below.

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Hailey Tucker and Eric He preview the matchup between ASU and USC

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Photo by Ben Moffat | The State Press

USC redshirt freshman wide receiver Jalen Greene (10) and redshirt junior wide receiver Isaac Whitney celebrate after a USC touchdown against ASU on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. The Trojans defeated the Sun Devils 42-14.

By Matthew Tonis | 09/29/16 8:28pm

ASU football travels to play USC on Saturday, and who better to preview the game than those who cover the Trojans? The State Press chatted with the Daily Trojan sports editors to get a better look at who the Sun Devils will see across the field on Saturday.

State Press: Has USC looked better than its 1-3 record would suggest? If so, by how much?

Daily Trojan: USC has been a completely different team each time they have taken the field. Suffering tough losses nonetheless, the Trojans looked the best against Utah despite their flaws. Yes, the Trojans are better than their record from a talent standpoint, but because of questionable coaching decisions it’s hard to say which version of USC will show up.

SP: What did you think of Sam Darnold’s debut start? Is he a guy that can lead USC back from this hole?

DT: Sam Darnold didn’t look like he was playing his first game Friday night. He was able to go into a hostile environment with inclement weather and rallied the offense to what has been its best performance so far. Even though he didn’t throw a touchdown, he showed his arm strength and perhaps even more importantly showed his feet, which is something that USC should take full advantage of moving forward.

It’s with guarded optimism it seems that Darnold could be another in a line of fantastic USC quarterbacks, but having played only one game, it’s too early to tell for certain.

SP: How confident are the Trojans heading into this game after the smackdown in Tempe last year, or has that been tempered by their record?

DT: The team certainly hasn’t admitted to any thoughts of taking the Sun Devils lightly, and they certainly shouldn’t. USC still has yet to prove itself as a legitimate team in the Pac-12 and even though they have played a tougher schedule than ASU, the Sun Devils have been able to take care of business, something USC has faltered on throughout their rough beginning.

SP: Is USC prepared to stop ASU’s three-headed monster on the ground?

DT: USC has consistently struggled with dual-threat quarterbacks and this season there have been some worrisome defensive trends heading into a game against such a high-scoring offense. The defense allowed Utah to go 93 yards last week to score the game-winning touchdown, and Utah was able to constantly ram the ball down the Trojans’ throat. The defensive line was one of the more questioned units coming into the season, and on Friday they showed why. Sophomore defensive end Porter Gustin and sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith are monsters on defense though and can each be expected to have double-digit tackles by the end of the game.

SP: Finally, what’s your game prediction?

DT: The lower that USC can keep the score the better chance they have at winning, since the offense still hasn’t proven itself as a legitimate threat. Playing at home should give the Trojans the extra boost they need though, and USC has a more talented roster than the Sun Devils do. USC will win 28-21.


Reach the reporter at [email protected] or follow @Tonis_The_Tiger on Twitter.

Like State Press Sports on Facebook and follow @statepresssport on Twitter.


Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez (5) kicks a field goal as holder Matt Haack (26) looks on during a spring NCAA college football game Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona State senior punter Matt Haack was named a semifinalist for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, an award that recognizes the top scholar-athlete in the nation. The announcement was made by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

Haack earned First-Team All-Pac-12 All-Academic Honors in 2015 and won the Pat Tillman Outstanding Academic Achievement Award.

As a sports business and media major at the W.P. Carey School of Business, Haack has a 3.44 cumulative GPA while in the Barrett Honors College.

“These 156 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning in a release. “It is important for us to showcase their success on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. This year’s semifinalists further illustrate the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders.”

The NFF will award $18,000 in postgraduate scholarships to the 12-14 finalists on Nov. 1. Finalists will travel to New York City for the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6 where one winner will be proclaimed and have his scholarship increase to $25,000.

Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins (5) throws against California during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

College football fans, the game times for the next two weeks were announced on Monday for both Arizona State and Arizona.

The Sun Devils are off to a strong 4-0 start, with the most recent being their 51-41 victory over California on Saturday in Tempe.

This week they head to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans with a game time of 5:45 p.m. on FOX. The following weekend they’ll host UCLA. Kickoff for that game will be at 7:30 p.m. and will be on ESPN or ESPN2.

Sun Devil quarterback Manny Wilkins has passed for 1,085 yards and five touchdowns. Kalen Ballage has nine total touchdowns this season, eight of which came in a school record-tying game against Texas Tech.

The Wildcats opened up conference play falling short in overtime 35-28 against No. 8 Washington. They are now 2-2 and headed on the road.

Arizona’s next game will feature a trip to UCLA this Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. start on ESPN. The Wildcats will once again be on the road, this time against Utah, with a 7 p.m. start on FOX Sports 1 on Oct. 8.

Standing at 2-2, UCLA’s losses have come at the hands of Texas A&M and Stanford.