The Stanford Cardinal three-pointers were dropping in. The Sun Devils’ weren’t.
As a matter of fact, neither were their free throws either. Arizona State needed both to fall against Stanford when the game came down to the final seconds.
The Cardinal, who led by as many as 16 points in the second half, had to withstand a fiery rally by the Sun Devils but ended up coming away victorious 62-59.
Guard Bo Barnes’ three-point attempt with five seconds left went awry as the Cardinal walked out of Wells Fargo Arena with their 15th win of the season and sixth victory within the conference.
The Sun Devils had won four of five heading into the contest. They suffered just their third loss at home, but more importantly it’s their fourth conference loss.
“They’re a very physical, aggressive team, I think they’re outstanding,” head coach Herb Sendek said. “[They] present some real matchup problems, not just for us, but for many of their opponents.”
Forward Dwight Powell led Stanford with 22 points, 13 of them coming in the second half.
After a rough first half, Carrick Felix seemed to settle into himself and finished with 16 points to lead Arizona State.
As I mentioned earlier, the Sun Devils inability to hit three-pointers [7-of-23], nor free throws [8-of-16], proved to be their undoing.
“It’s very frustrating,” Felix said about the free throw situation. “I see us working on it every day, it’s just a focus thing when you step to the line, you just gotta clear your head and focus.”
Stanford took charge in the first half and led by as many as 14 points. They hit seven of their 11 three-point shots in the half. Arizona State missed eight of their 11 attempts.
The Sun Devils showed some life as the game neared halftime, as they went on an 8-2 run to close to within eight.
The Cardinal responded with a 12-4 run to start the second half, putting them up by 16 points.
However, the Sun Devils continued to chip away at the lead, coming as close as three points in the closing seconds.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough to their rally to give them the victory.
Point guard Jahii Carson had 15 points, five rebounds and four assists on the night.
Carson attributed the rally to a defensive switch, which saw Arizona State apply more pressure on Stanford’s guards as the game went along, to try and force them out of their game.
“When we play like that, I think it causes teams [to have] a little more trouble because the guards can’t get the ball to the bigs,” Carson said.
As Felix left the post game press conference, he was shaking his head, no doubt disgusted because they lost a game they could’ve and should’ve won, had more shots and free throws fallen.
“It’s disappointing because this is our home, this is our house,” Felix said. “We’re always taught to protect our house and that’s something I don’t think we did tonight.”