Coming off a disappointing loss to UCLA (7-2, 2-0 Pac-12), where the Bruins got off to an improbable 17-0 run to begin the game, the Stanford men’s basketball team (3-6, 0-2 Pac-12) was eager to earn its first Pac-12 win on the road against Arizona State (8-1, 2-0 Pac-12) on Sunday. Unfortunately, in a script familiar to Stanford basketball fans, the Sun Devils built an early first-half lead that ultimately propelled them to a 68-64 victory. Offensive woes continue to afflict the Cardinal, as the team shot just 36% from the field, including 23% from the 3-point line.
Similar to its previous games against Power 5 opponents, Stanford got out to an early deficit. The Sun Devils exploited Stanford’s self-inflicted turnovers and inability to guard the paint. Despite poor shooting from beyond the arc, guards Frankie Collins, Desmond Cambridge and DJ Horne were able to utilize pick-and-rolls and dribble handoffs to get easy baskets for themselves and their teammates. This allowed the Sun Devils to open up a double-digit lead during the end of the first half. At halftime, the Cardinal were down 32-21.
Despite the deficit, Stanford was able to claw back into the game in the second half by taking a page out of Arizona State’s book: forcing turnovers. The turnovers, along with solid halfcourt defense, allowed the Cardinal to stay within striking distance of the Sun Devils.
While Arizona State was able to extend its lead several times during the second half, the Cardinal would always mount a counter-attack to keep it close.
At the 5:27 mark in the second half, graduate student guard Michael Jones hit two free throws to make it a 51-50 score and give Stanford its first lead since the opening seconds of the game.
Despite losing their lead, the Sun Devils were able to score with ease down the stretch, utilizing the dribble-drive to get quality looks in the interior. After Frankie Collins drilled a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, Stanford looked dead in the water down 64-55 with 50 seconds remaining.
But with the help of Arizona State’s timely free throw misses and a late offensive surge, the Cardinal climbed back into the game late. Michael O’Connell’s 3-pointer off a turnover made it a one possession game with 17 seconds remaining. After the Sun Devils’ Luther Muhummad stretched it out to a 4-point lead at the free throw line, Stanford’s sophomore center Maxime Raynaud threw an outlet pass to junior forward Max Murrell. However, the pass caught Murrell by surprise and ricocheted off his face and into the hands of Arizona State guard Devan Cambridge. Cambridge passed it to Horne, who was then fouled by Michael Jones.
This play effectively iced Stanford’s chances at victory, as the Cardinal would not have enough time to come back from a 6-point deficit.
Up next, the Cardinal will take a 12-day hiatus for exams before facing Green Bay (0-7, 0-1 Horizon) at home on Dec. 16. Then, two days later, Stanford will head to Dallas to take on No. 2 Texas (6-0, 0-0 Big 12).
Tip-off against Green Bay is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT.