Photo credit: gostanford.com
By: Joey Friedman
PALO ALTO — Coming off three straight losses to open conference play, Stanford (8-8) welcomed the Arizona State Sun Devils (11-5) to Maples on Saturday afternoon and won by a final score of 85-71. Stanford has won seven of their last eight home games against the Sun Devils.
The Sun Devils, who are currently unranked, have had a turbulent season with highs like upsets of #1 Kansas and #15 Mississippi State and lows like losses to Princeton and Utah. Nonetheless, prior to the game, ASU led the Pac-12 in scoring offense and rebounding margin.
Stanford jumped out to a quick start and was able to go on a 10-0 run capped by an Oscar Da Silva dunk to put the score at 12-4. That dunk five minutes into the game also gave Da Silva 9 points in just minutes.
Arizona State was able to crawl back, however, and on the back of freshman Luguentz Dort’s three consecutive three-pointers, ASU took a 16-14 lead with about 12 minutes left in the first half.
The two teams remained neck-and-neck for the rest of the half before Stanford took a two-point lead to the break with the score 40-38.
Stanford offense flowed well in the first half as they only turned the ball over three times, definitely an improvement from past performances. On defense, Stanford rolled and forced a number of shot clock violations which prevented ASU for gathering momentum. For the Cardinal, Oscar Da Silva finished the half with 14 points and seven rebounds while KZ Okpala and Daejon Davis each collected 10 points. For the Sun Devils, Luguentz Dort had with 15 points and shot 3-5 from beyond the arc.
Stanford opened the second half on a 12-0 run fueled by a Cormac Ryan three-pointer and an Oscar da Silva slam dunk. ASU scored their first points of the half on a jumper from senior Zylan Cheatham at the 14:33 mark which brought the score to 52-40 in favor of the Cardinal.
Freshman Cormac Ryan, who had 4 points, exited the game with a left ankle injury 5 minutes into the second half. He would return to the bench in the final minutes of the game, but he wouldn’t receive any further playing time. Jerod Hasse said he and his staff are highly concerned after repeated injuries to both of Ryan’s ankles in recent games.
The Stanford lead shrunk to as few as 5 points with 10 minutes left in the game but Daejon Davis quickly got the crowd back into it and shifted the momentum back in Stanford’s favor when, after he was doubled-teamed and got the back stolen away, he sprinted down the court and blocked an open ASU layup in transition.
With that momentum Stanford caught fire and pulled away once again and, with help for 8 straight points from KZ Okpala which included a pair of threes, the Cardinal stretched their lead to a deciding 19 points with just over 4 minutes left in the game and the score 76-57. Stanford would go on to win with the final score 85-71.
The Cardinal finished with a 53% field goal percentage and 39% three-point percentage while Arizona State finished by shooting 41% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc. Stanford forced 19 turnovers from the Sun Devils and turned those into 26 points— a deciding margin. The Cardinal’s 18 total assists and 3 first-half turnovers were noted by head coach Jerod Hasse as evidence of better offensive play which also received high praise from Da Silva and Okpala after the game. They credited a new mentality, which was caused by having their backs against the wall after starting conference play winless, for making the difference in tonight affair. Jerod Hasse called the ASU victory the best win for the Card of the season considering the energy and the execution of the game plan.
Oscar Da Silva finished a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. KZ Okpala also had 21 points and collected 9 boards. Daejon Davis collected 13 points and 9 assists.
For the Sun Devils, Luguentz Dort, who was held to a single point in the second half, had a team-high 16 points before fouling out. He sat for much of the second half after collecting four fouls early. Sophomore guard Rob Edwards had 13 points while Zylan Cheatham finished with 8 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence collected 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Stanford will take on the Washington schools on the road and will look to even their Pac-12 record on against UW on January 17 and WSU on January 19.
Arizona State will host the Oregon schools at home first with OSU on January 17 and then UO on January 19.