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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils chop down Trees in Pac-12 opener

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Arizona State surprised Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Friday with a 98-93 victory.

NCAA Basketball: New Mexico State at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Maples Pavilion had been a house of horrors for the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Whether the team was led by Herb Sendek or Bobby Hurley, Shaquille McKissic or Tra Holder, it didn’t matter. Arizona State’s last win in Stanford came on February 25, 2010, and the team had gone 0-for-4 at Maples since then.

This year’s Sun Devils (8-6, 1-0 Pac-12) changed that tune in a major way on Friday night.

Through a prolific offensive performance in the first half and some clutch possessions late, Arizona State picked up a huge 98-93 victory over the Stanford Cardinal on Friday. The win was the team’s first in a Pac-12 opener since the 2012-13 club topped Utah by one in overtime back on January 2, 2013.

They got Friday’s win in large part due to a 52-point outburst in the opening stanza, where the Sun Devils managed to not be taken completely out of their game despite Stanford (8-5, 0-1) making every effort to slow the contest down.

A 9-1 run in the final 90 seconds of the half gave Bobby Hurley’s team a 52-39 lead at the break, a binge that was capped by a Torian Graham running three-pointer at the buzzer.

Things slowed down and tightened up in the final 20 minutes as the home team made a couple of last ditch attempts to cut into the deficit.

Stanford would pull to within three points of the lead at 62-59 with just under 12 minutes remaining, but a quick 7-2 spurt from the visitors pushed the advantage back out to eight.

Despite some foul trouble and lapses on both ends of the court in the game’s final minutes, the Maroon and Gold held on for the five-point win. The victory marked the team’s second straight win, a nice response after dropping two consecutive games at home earlier this month.

Shooting guard Torian Graham led Arizona State with 30 points off the bench for Arizona State, but Tra Holder, Shannon Evans II, and Obinna Oleka also finished in double figures.

Sophomore Marcus Sheffield led all scorers with 35 for the Cardinal, while forward Reid Travis added 21 of his own.

The Sun Devils now set their sights on a Bay Area sweep, which they will look to accomplish on New Year’s Night against California. Tipoff is set for 8:00 p.m. MST and the game will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.