Arizona State squanders lead, but tops Stanford in OT in Pac-12 Tourney opener
Arizona State squandered a 14-point lead and had to go to overtime, but hung on to beat Stanford 98-88 in the opening game of the 2017 Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Bobby Hurley’s eighth-seeded Sun Devils led by 12 with just over 11 minutes left after forward Obinna Oleka converted a layup. But Stanford, led by junior Michael Humphrey — a Sunnyslope High grad — chipped away at the lead for the rest of regulation, outscoring ASU 23-11. Humphrey had eight points during the run, including a jump shot with four seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Arizona State owned the extra period, outscoring the Cardinal 17-7. The biggest shot came from junior guard Kodi Justice, who grabbed a loose ball and hit a straightaway three as the shot clock ran down to put the Devils up by five points with 3:43 left.
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Senior forward Obinna Oleka had a career-high 27 points and added 13 rebounds for Arizona State, which advances to take on the top-seeded Oregon Ducks Thursday afternoon. It was Oleka’s 15th double-double of the season.
But it wasn’t all Oleka. All five starters scored in double figures, with Tra Holder pumping in 21 on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor. Torian Graham had 17, Shannon Evans had 16 and Justice contributed 15.
It’s Arizona State’s first Pac-12 Tournament win for Hurley, who is in his second year as head coach.
The win also was the third this season for the Sun Devils over Stanford. It’s just the second time since the conference tournament returned in 2002 that ASU has beaten an opponent three times in one season and the first since they turned the trick over Arizona in 2009.
ASU, a team with little size that regularly plays four guards, outrebounded Stanford 35-30, although the Cardinal had a 10-8 edge on the offensive glass.
Junior forward Reid Travis led the Cardinal with 23 points. Humphrey had 18.
ASU gets Oregon in the second round. The two teams met only once during the Pac-12 regular season, with the Ducks escaping with a 71-70 win at Matt Knight Arena in early February. All-American Dillon Brooks led Oregon with 27 points, including the last 12 of the game as the Ducks won their 39th straight at home.
“We respect Oregon tremendously,” Evans told Tim Healey and Kyle Dodd on the Sun Devil Radio Network following the game. “They’re a great team, we know that. So we’re going to put in all of our effort and empty the tank (Thursday).”
The ASU-Oregon tilt will start quarterfinal play Thursday and will tip off at 1:00 p.m. Arizona time. The game can be heard on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM, with pregame coverage starting at 12:30.
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