Stanford’s home win streak put up in smoke by Sun Devils

Feb. 10, 2023, 5:19 p.m.

Stanford men’s basketball (10-14, 4-9 Pac-12) came into its Thursday night matchup in Maples Pavilion looking to keep a 4-game home winning streak alive. But unfortunately for the Cardinal, Arizona State (17-8, 8-6 Pac-12) put an end to the run, as the biggest obstacle of the night for Stanford was the Sun Devils’ stringent top-10 defense. 

Senior forward Spencer Jones and junior forward Brandon Angel did their part to ignite the Cardinal offense, but crucial mistakes in the game’s last stretch and poor shooting inside the arc allowed the Devils to sneak away with the win 69-65. 

The game started out spectacularly for the Cardinal, and more specifically, for Angel. Coming into the matchup hot with a quick 3-pointer, Angel singlehandly led the charge for Stanford, scoring their first eight points. Propelled by the Angel onslaught, the Cardinal were able to hold the Sun Devils scoreless for upwards of four minutes — while also bringing their advantage up to 10 points, albeit on an under 25% clip during the stretch. Arizona State then responded to chip away at the differential. The Sun Devils went on a 7-0 tear, led by Arizona State guard Frankie Collins as Stanford was unable to buy a basket until a timely 3-pointer from sophomore guard Isa Silva. 

For the remainder of the period, Stanford battled against the Cambridge brothers, Desmond Jr. and Devan, who each provided staunch defense and much needed offense for Arizona State. Their teammate, DJ Horne, also added touches of his own that continued on throughout the night. Junior forward Max Murrell helped keep the Stanford offense afloat with an emphatic jam and three-pointer in the half, while senior guard Michael Jones hit a three after a rough stretch of shooting. However, it took a tough buzzer-beating layup from Angel to keep the game even, 33-33. 

The Cardinal came out roaring in the second half. They went on a quick 9-0 run, ignited by a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Harrison Ingram and a tough and-1 finish from junior guard Michael O’Connell, and punctuated with a dunk from junior center Maxine Raynaud, stunning Arizona State. The momentum carried the Cardinal to a game-high 13-point lead with a 3-pointer from Ingram, and the night looked to be going Stanford’s way. However, the Devils came racing back, as Collins responded with a driving layup and 3-pointer to reduce the advantage to eight. After some back-and-forth play, Arizona State was able to snag two consecutive 3-pointers, cutting the lead to just three as the half of the second approached — and with a free throw, the Devils officially matched the Cardinal with their own 9-0 run. 

Jones hit two more 3-pointers to keep Arizona State at bay, but it wasn’t enough to put the Devils down. On the next play, Devan fought for a rebound through traffic and converted a physical and-one that kept the game close, and a layup from Arizona State brought the team within three with seven minutes remaining. With two more threes from Jones and a physical post hook from Raynaud, the Cardinal maintained their 8-point buffer. However, the Devils responded with two 3-pointers within half a minute from Desmond and Horne, cutting the lead back down to two with 4:30 to go. 

Jones, after a timeout, was fouled and hit two free throws. From there on out, Arizona State, led by Desmond and Horne, simultaneously locked down the Stanford offense and orchestrated their very own 8-0 run to close out the game. The Cardinal, frantically trying to create any spark of offense, looked very much at the mercy of the Sun Devils, making multiple mistakes that led to a final foul which made Horne the leading scorer of the night and put the victory out of reach for Stanford. 

After Jones’ two free throws, Stanford failed to score for the remainder of the game due to some glaring impediments: first, Arizona State’s swallowing defense and second, the Cardinal’s inability to generate quality looks inside the 3-point line. While the Cardinal’s 3-point percentage was excellent — 41% on 29 attempts — their work inside the arc was nothing short of dismal at a 31% clip, compared to the Sun Devils’ 2-point clip of 53%. 

But, above all, they were 0-4 in the game’s last 4 minutes, and let Arizona State score eight unanswered points in the most crucial period of the night. 

“I need to coach better. I need to give us plays to execute down the stretch,” said head coach Jarod Haase after the game. “[A]s a group, as a team, we need to make the plays and make the stops as well… but I need to do a better job of coaching us down the stretch and getting the win.”  

The Cardinal are now 0-6 in games decided within 5 points.  

The team stays at home for their next game against No. 4 Arizona (22-3, 11-3 Pac-12). Tip-off is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. PT.

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