Second-year Stanford head coach Jerod Haase had to quiet the Cardinal student section from chanting “overrated” while the clock winded down, en route to his first ranked win as the Cardinal coach in 12 tries.
Maybe he didn’t want it to look like an upset, or he was just afraid they were telling the truth.
The No. 16 Arizona State Sun Devils (14-4, 2-4 Pac-12) trailed for all but 16 seconds in a 86-77 loss to the Stanford Cardinal (11-8, 5-1) on Wednesday night at Maples Pavilion.
ASU trailed, 37-35, at the end of 20 minutes, hanging by a thread. Its leading scorers Shannon Evans and Tra Holder combined for two points on 1-of-9 shooting in the first half. On the other hand, Romello White, who hadn’t scored double digits in four games, already had 10.
Prior to Wednesday night ASU was 6-1 when trailing at the half. No. 10 Kansas, No. 11 Xavier, Kansas State, San Diego State, Oregon State and Utah all fell.
ASU was outscored 23-10 to enter the second half, putting itself in a 15-point hole, 60-45 with 11:51 to go. The Sun Devils then surged back, going on a 16-4 run to cut the Cardinal lead to two points, 70-68, with 4:31 to play.
But then ASU ran out of magic, finishing the game shooting 1-of-5 opposed to Stanford’s 3-of-3 in the final four and a half minutes.
It seemed everything that could’ve went wrong did so for Arizona State.
The undersized Sun Devils were bullied in the paint, losing the rebound margin, 44-30, and the war within the key, 46-30. The Cardinal shot a 51 percent clip, while the Sun Devils — known for their pinpoint shooting — shot just 43 percent.
Lastly, ASU’s bench, who had a promising 27-point performance against Oregon State, was outscored by Stanford, 28-13. Remy Martin had 11 of those bench points.
Of Stanford’s seven players to play, five scored in double digits. Dorian Pickens led the Cardinal with 19 points and five rebounds, but it was the play of big men Reid Travis (18 points, 10 rebounds), Oscar Da Silva (14 points, seven rebounds) and Josh Sharma (14 points, four rebounds) who punished the Sun Devils most.
White, who scored 19 for ASU, had his most points since Dec. 8 against St. John’s. Kodi Justice scored 14, while Evans, who fouled out, added 13.
The Sun Devils’ loss comes to the hottest team in the Pac-12, if not the nation, as the Cardinal have won five Pac-12 games in a row for the first time since 2008.
On the flip side, the Sun Devils have derailed.
After winning their first 12, they’ve lost four of six. This team needs to figure things out. It has a good chance to do so Saturday.
Luckily for ASU, the Maroon and Gold have a date with the Pac-12’s last-placed California Golden Bears. Tip-off from Haas Pavilion is Saturday at 8:30 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Network.
Follow Josiah Destin on Twitter @jdestinsports