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Arizona State falls short against Stanford on senior night

Arizona State guard Remy Martin (1) drives as Stanford guard Isaac White defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Emotions ran high at Wells Fargo Arena Saturday.

In the Arizona State seniors’ final home game as Sun Devils, the team fell just short, losing 84-83 to the Stanford Cardinal.

“It was a very emotional day,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said. “I’m not surprised we struggled early in the game and had a deficit just with the emotion and what the senior class means to me and what they’ve done for me personally and the relationship we have.”

And while a loss is never something to be proud of, Hurley was pleased at how his team rallied.

“It’s who we are though man, we fight,” Hurley said. “We’ve got an amazing will to win and desire to win and character and to make all the plays we made and to claw our way back and give ourselves a chance to win.

“It’s always hard to lose and there’s no morale victories and you want your seniors to win their last game here at Wells Fargo, but I love my chances with the group I have, playing anybody that we’re going to play in the postseason in Vegas and in the NCAA Tournament.”

THE GOOD:

In a one-point game, ASU only lead for 3:33. At one point in the first half, the Sun Devils saw their deficit grow to 21-10, losing the battle down low and not hitting open shots. A defensive switch to a full court press changed all of that as they stymied Stanford, going on a 7-1 run to pull themselves back in the game. They ended the first half down 40-35.

In the turnover battle, ASU handily won 21 to 6, including just one turnover in the first half. The shots weren’t always falling, but ASU protected the ball throughout the game.

It wasn’t a win, but for seniors Kodi Justice, Tra Holder and Shannon Evans, Saturday was still a strong showing. Each of them made it into double figures with Holder leading the way with 19 points. Remy Martin added 14 points and seven assists on 6-of-12 shooting.

THE BAD: 

Missed free throws proved costly for the Sun Devils at the end of the game. The first half wasn’t a terrible showing as they hit 8-of-11 from the charity stripe, but second half woes doomed the Devils.

Down two points in the closing moments, Justice missed both free throws to keep the Stanford lead at two. After two misses from Stanford from the line, Justice had a another chance to tie the game, but made just one-of-two, bringing it to a one-point game. They shot 7-of-12 in the second half with three missed shots coming in the closing moments.

The Sun Devils didn’t have their usual three-point barrage in full effect. As a team, ASU shot 37 percent, 10-of-27 from long range. Guard U — Justice, Holder and Evans — shot a combined 9-of-23. Stanford shot 47.4 percent on 9-of-19 shooting.

ASU lost the battle down low as well, recording 23 total rebounds to Stanford’s 45 and scoring 32 points to Stanford’s 34.

With ASU’s loss, the team now has an 18 percent chance to make the NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN.

STATS OF THE GAME:

19: After trailing by 19 points with 16:46 remaining in the second half, ASU was able to find its rhythm, turning a blowout game into a final-possession thriller.

4: Four seniors were honored Saturday in their home finale as Sun Devils. Holder, Evans, Justice and Austin Witherill all started the game.

HE SAID IT:

“Everything we’ve done goes into the team that we’ve been and all the close games prove that you’re going to have to bring a very good game to the table to beat our team and you’re going to have to play for 40 minutes so get ready to play in the last minute or two.

“If you want to beat us, you better bring your A-stuff and be ready to play for 40 minutes,” Hurley on his message to the Pac-12 schools with the tournament starting next week.

UP NEXT:

ASU will look to rebound from its close loss in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament. The Sun Devils are scheduled to play Wednesday, March 7.

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