Stanford Cardinal Saturday game wrap: Late Sun Devils rally sinks Cardinal 75-69

February 11, 2017

NCAA, Stanford Cardinal

Arizona State guard Torian Graham and Stanford forward Trevor Stanback (33) battle for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

By DANIEL DULLUM
Sports Radio Service
Saturday, February 11, 2017

TEMPE, Ariz. – After trailing most of the game, Arizona State put together a furious run late in the second half to overtake visiting Stanford 75-69 in Pac-12 men’s basketball Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils used a 12-5 run in the final 3 minutes, 25 seconds – including the go-ahead 3-pointer by Torian Graham with 18 seconds remaining – to secure their fourth win in their last 12 games.

After Kodi Justice sank a pair of free throws to pull ASU to within 69-68 with :36 to play, Stanford turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play, setting up Graham’s sixth 3-pointer of the game.

“We were telling the guys to stick with the game plan, keep playing hard,” Cardinal Coach Jerod Haase said. “But Arizona State hit some big outside shots at the end when they had to.”

Michael Humphrey, a junior from Phoenix Sunnyslope, added, “They started getting their outside shots to fall. (ASU) played a great game, but we really have to buckle down on defense in those last two minutes, and do what we’d been doing all game.”

Humphrey said there’s no added pressure to come back and play in his home area, saying, “We try to keep it like any other road trip.”

Stanford has lost five of its last six games, including back-to-back road defeats in the desert.

“This is a very tough loss to take, but we have to find a way to win these types of games,” Haase said.

Humphrey finished with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Marcus Allen led the Cardinal with 20 points, with Reid Travis adding 17 points and 11 boards. Robert Cartwright finished with five assists and Marcus Sheffield had three of Stanford’s eight steals.

Graham connected on 8 of 15 field goals, including 6 of 11 from behind the 3-point arc, to lead ASU with 24 points. Tra Holder finished with 16 points for the Devils, followed by Justice with 13 and Obinna Oleka with 11. Shannon Evans II added nine points and six assists.

Stanford (12-12 overall, 4-8 Pac-12) outrebounded the Sun Devils 49-27 and forced 17 turnovers. But the Cardinal also committed 21 turnovers themselves, which ASU converted into 23 points.

Almost mirroring the defensive approach used by California earlier in the week, the Cardinal came out and rotated a variety of zone defenses, which Arizona State (11-14 overall, 4-6 Pac-12) failed to solve until midway through the second half.

“I thought we played good defense, both zone and man, hitting the gaps and making it difficult for them,” Humphrey said. “But we still have to do a better job at the end.”

Stanford led 33-32 at halftime and opened the second half with a 13-6 run, building a 46-38 lead with 15:22 remaining when Humphrey was awarded two points on a goaltending call.

The Cardinal took their largest lead of the game at 56-47, using a six-point run on a dunk and layup by Allen and a Travis layup with 9:17 to play.

As Stanford began to cool off offensively, the Sun Devils slowly chipped away at their deficit. With 6:08 left, Justice hit 1 of 2 free throws, and Graham’s put-back on the second free throw tied the game at 59-59, completing a 12-3 ASU run.

Stanford kept the game close until the Sun Devils pulled away in the final seconds. Trailing 71-69 after Graham’s clutch 3-ball, the Cardinal turned the ball over with :16.4 remaining. A pair of free throws by Tra Holder made it a two-possession game with :12.4 left.

With :02.8 remaining, Robert Cartwright missed a desperation 3-point attempt, and Humphrey fouled out chasing the loose rebound.

“It’s never fun to lose, and this is a tough one to take,” Humphrey said. “But like Coach said, we can really learn a lot from it. This is a lesson with two close losses here in Arizona and we have to figure out how to win them down at the end.”

The Cardinal were 4 of 11 on second-half free throws while facing the Curtain of Distraction, which entertained the announced crowd of 8,206.

Stanford returns home on Feb. 17 to host the rematch with California, looking to avenge a 66-59 loss to the Bears on Jan. 29. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. PDT.

TAGS: Stanford men’s basketball,Arizona State,Michael Humphrey,Pac-12 Conference,Sports Radio Service,Daniel Dullum

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