ASU Basketball: Devils Fall to Stanford, Hope to Regroup


Last Saturday, the ASU Men’s basketball team fell to Stanford in Palo Alto by a score of 89-70.  The loss drops ASU to 10-10 overall and 2-5 in the PAC-12.  Although the final score makes the game look like a blow-out, that wasn’t the case.

The game featured a torrid first half, with both teams shooting the ball extremely well.  When Stanford made a run, ASU would answer back.  However, in the final four minutes of the first half, ASU went cold and went into intermission down by ten points, 51-41.  For a team that averaged just 52 points a game in their first four conference games, scoring 41 in the half was a good sign.

Of course, Stanford was better.  The Cardinal did what they always do; they make shots at home.  It was not a function of poor defense by ASU.  Just like in the previous game at Cal, the Sun Devil defense was very active.  They closed out well on shooters, challenged shots in the paint and steered dribble penetrators into tough shots.  But unlike Cal, Stanford seemed to knock down almost every shot.  Even on “one and done” quick possessions, Stanford couldn’t miss.

In the second half, the scoring rate dipped a bit for both teams.  But ASU essentially traded baskets with Stanford for 14 minutes, going back and forth with being down 8 to down 12.  But in the last six minutes, Stanford began to slowly build their lead until the final buzzer, securing a 19 point victory.

Coach Sendek will be the first to say that there are no “moral victories” in this conference, or in college basketball in general.  But for where this team is at right now, the Bay Area trip is something ASU can build on.  A dominant win against Cal and a solid effort against Stanford is nothing to be ashamed of.

Yet, a loss is a loss.  But coach Sendek is adamant that this team can regroup and continue with the formula to make a run in March.  That formula, according to Devils in Detail, is to sweep weekend games at home and go 1-1 on road trips.  That’s the big picture.  The daily grind for this team is to just try to get better: get better at rebounding, offensive principles and defense.

Once again, the Sun Devils have proven that they have the talent and the chemistry to play competitive basketball.  They just have to learn to sustain and adjust to opponents.  They’ll get their chance this week when the Oregon schools come to visit.

The Sun Devils play the Oregon State Beavers Wednesday night in Tempe at 6 pm.  The game will be broadcast on the PAC-12 network.