In what would have been a convincing bay area sweep, the ASU men’s basketball team instead earned a split for the road trip after their loss to Stanford yesterday afternoon. The Sun Devils put forth a good offensive effort. Their defense was not stellar, but it was good enough to win. The only obvious shortcoming for ASU was rebounding. ASU had been dominant on the boards recently, but not against the Cardinal.
For the most part, it appeared that the focus was there for ASU. However, they just didn’t quite have the hunger for the ball that they had displayed in the last 3 games. Stanford got too many second chance points and offensive putbacks. On the road, that will earn you a loss.
As the game unfolded in the first half, the Sun Devils traded blows with Stanford and led by one at halftime. But the opening few minutes of the second half was a huge letdown for coach Sendek’s squad as they allowed Stanford to go on a 10-2 run. ASU never really recovered from that. The Sun Devils got down by as many as 12 points. And even though they clawed back to cut the lead to 3 with just over a minute, they could not quite finish.
Basketball is a team game, and therefore this is a team loss. In this case, it was a team failure in defensive rebounding that most likely led to this loss. It would certainly have helped if the team had shot better from the free throw line. (8 misses) And it would have helped if shooting forward Jonathan Gilling would have contributed more on offense. Gilling was 0-10 shooting in 20 minutes of play and fouled out of the game with two rebounds. That’s a tough night.
This loss doesn’t sink the Sun Devils or their hopes for the post season. But it ends their 3 game win streak and somewhat stymies their “rebirth” after the U of A game. ASU must now do what every other team has to do; regroup, make adjustments and let the hunger for victory build up until they take the court again on Thursday.