Well, that’s more like it.
ASU erased a week’s worth of bad memories with a 76-64 win over Stanford in front of 6,227 at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday.
Jahii Carson erased his own recent bad stretch of play with 26 points, four assists, two rebounds and only one turnover in 35 minutes. He consistently weaved his way into the lane, and if he didn’t make the shot, then he made his free throws, going 8-for-8.
“I thought his decision-making was outstanding tonight,” head coach Herb Sendek said of his point guard.
Carson scored six of his 23 second-half points during a 9-0 run that gave the Sun Devils their largest lead of the game — 53-35 with 12:58 remaining.
Stanford (18-9, 9-6) would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the game.
“I’m just glad that we got the ‘W’. Anything I can do to help my team get the ‘W’ whether that’s distributing or scoring that’s what I’m going to try to do,” Carson said.
ASU (20-8, 9-6) scored the game’s first eight points and never looked back, leading wire-to-wire for their first victory since upsetting then-No. 2 Arizona on Valentine’s Day.
“We definitely knew it was a must-win game,” Carson said.
Jermaine Marshall finished with 16 points while Shaquielle McKissic added 10 to help the Sun Devils snap a two-game losing streak and move into a third place tie in the Pac-12.
Carson, after being held to eight points (3-of-13 FG) at Utah, recorded his first 20-point game since playing Oregon State on Feb. 6. It was his 10th such performance of the season.
Marshall scored 14 first-half points (5-of-8 FG), matching his point total from the past two games in which he shot a combined 6-of-23 against Colorado and Utah. It was the 20th time he scored in double figures this season.
ASU shot 55.1 percent from the field, its best effort in conference play and third-best of the season.
Jordan Bachynski came into the game needing just two blocks to break his own Pac-12 season record of 120 blocks set last year. He remains two blocks shy after not recording a single blocked shot in 15 minutes of court time. Bachynski was mired in foul trouble for much of the game and struggled with his play as a result, missing five of his six shot attempts (including having three blocked) while grabbing only three rebounds.
STAT OF THE GAME
ASU finished with 18 assists. Stanford had only four, three of which came in the second half. “Offensively, I don’t recall at any time this season when we had better ball movement, better action on offense. Guys played unselfishly and they played smart on offense. They made each other better,” Sendek said. “When we’re at our best, that’s how the ball should move.”
HE SAID IT
“I think we got back to playing our style of basketball, which is uptempo,” Carson said. “When we played Colorado and Utah, we didn’t have very many fast break points, which doesn’t help fuel our offense. We’re an uptempo type of team and when we don’t get any transition buckets that helps us not score. So tonight I think we got out and played great defense, got rebounds and got out in transition. Whenever we do that, we’re tough to beat.”
*Sendek recorded his second straight 20-win season and fifth overall at ASU
*Carson’s 26 points established a new career-high at Wells Fargo Arena
*ASU improved to 15-1 at home and 16-2 when leading at the half
ASU plays its regular season home finale on Saturday. The Sun Devils host Cal, looking to sweep the season series from the Golden Bears. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. MST with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Saturday, March 1.
Back in January, the Sun Devils beat Cal, 89-78 in overtime. Carson scored a game-high 29 points while Marshall added 22, McKissic 12.