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Fork Report: ASU rally falls short in loss to Stanford

TEMPE — Dwight Powell had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Stanford used hot three-point shooting to hold off the pesky Arizona State Sun Devils 62-59 in front of a crowd of 8,459 fans at Wells Fargo Arena Saturday.

John Gage came off the Cardinal bench and drained three three-pointers during an 11-0 Stanford run that gave them a 29-16 lead with 6:42 left in the first half.

The lead would grow to as many as 16 after a Josh Huestis jumper gave Stanford a 48-32 advantage with under 15 minutes to play. Huestis finished with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

But the Sun Devils once again showed their grit, using a small lineup for most of the last 15 minutes and getting to within three points after a Jonathan Gilling three with :14 left.

The Cardinal left the door open after Chasson Randle was tied up on an inbound play with :11 remaining, but reserve Bo Barnes missed on an open three-point attempt from the top of the key with five seconds remaining.

The win pushed Stanford’s record to 15-9 overall and 6-5 in Pac-12 play, while the Sun Devils fell to 18-6, 7-4.

The Good:

ASU’s tenacity once again was on display. The Sun Devils were overmatched in virtually every department: depth, size, skill, shooting ability…and yet somehow they crept back into the ball game.

Stanford’s three-point shooting, led by Gage and Huestis, was sensational in the first half. The Cardinal drained 7-of-11 attempts from behind the arc in the first twenty minutes and finished the game 10-of-18.

The Bad:

The Sun Devils shooting was horrific. ASU shot just 34.4 percent in the game, and only 30 percent from behind the arc — although many of them were uncontested shots.

Guard Evan Gordon hit on just 4-of-16 attempts and only 1-of-6 from three-point range.

Speaking of uncontested shots, the Devils once again struggled from the free throw line, hitting just 8-of-16 attempts on the night.

And finally — the officiating crew of Michael Reed, Dick Cartmell and Tom Nally didn’t have a great night either. Several seemingly obvious fouls and violations went uncalled on both teams and it was one of those non-calls that had big implications. With ASU trying to claw back into the game, down ten with just over 13 minutes to play, the officials missed what seemed like an obvious goaltending call on Stanford’s Powell when he blocked a driving layup attempt from Gordon — after the ball had already hit the glass. On the ensuing possession, Christian Sanders hit a three, stretching the Cardinal lead to 52-39. The five-point swing was huge and ultimately too much for ASU to overcome.

He Said It:

“We weren’t getting any benefit on offense from it and defensively we were having a hard time with our bigs out on the perimeter guarding and so, we tried to match up with them a little better by going small-ball with about 14 minutes to go in the game. I think it helped us close the gap.” — ASU head coach Herb Sendek, on why he went with a small lineup featuring Carrick Felix, Gilling, Gordon, Carson and Colvin for most of the second half.


• ASU turned the ball over only eight times and all were committed by two players. Jahii Carson had five and Gilling had three.

• The Sun Devils, despite being outsized, won the rebounding battle 38-36 and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds which led to a 13-2 advantage in second chance points.

• ASU forward Carrick Felix finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the campaign.

• Former Stanford star and 2004 Pac-10 Player of the Year Josh Childress watched the game from behind the Stanford bench.

• ASU observed a pregame moment of silence for former Sun Devil football player Tyrice Thompson, who was died last Saturday from injuries suffered in a stabbing while he was working as a bouncer at a Scottsdale bar last month.

What’s Next:

The Sun Devils hit the road for a crucial two-game swing against Utah Wednesday and Colorado Saturday.