Stanford’s men’s basketball team was unable to overcome a lethargic first-half effort against Arizona State in a must-win game to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive, falling to the Sun Devils in Tempe, 67-62.
Stanford’s anemic first-half offense allowed ASU to post a 37-23 halftime lead. The Cardinal (18-11, 9-8 Pac-12) had 10 turnovers and missed 11 of their first 15 shots in the first half as both teams played sloppy ball in the opening 10 minutes.
Arizona State (16-14, 8-9 Pac-12) raced out in transition behind their star player, senior forward Shaquielle McKissic, to spark their offense. They scored the last seven points of the half. Stanford’s defense in the open court was lackluster all night, giving up 16 total fast-break points.
The Cardinal tried to break their offensive miscues by working the ball inside. They opened up the second half with a 13-5 run to get within six. Freshman power forward Reid Travis bullied his way to two shots and two free throws in the paint and sophomore guard Marcus Allen had two curling lay-ups from the right wing.
Fifth-year senior forward Anthony Brown’s first three-pointer of the night capped off an energetic 9-0 run that tied the game at 47. Stanford drove to the rim aggressively, getting in the bonus after five-and-a-half minutes of play in the second half in a tightly-called game with 41 total fouls.
A stout defensive effort kept the Sun Devils within reach heading into the final minutes. However, the Card failed to take a lead and ultimately relinquished the win with three turnovers in the final two minutes.
After the surprising loss, Stanford needs a miracle to earn a berth in the big dance. The Cardinal close out the season on the road on Sunday against No. 5 Arizona at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS.
Contact Irving Rodriguez at irod973 ‘at’ stanford.edu.