They were in Las Vegas on Thursday, but Arizona State’s loss to Stanford wasn’t a matter of luck. It was a matter of fate.
ASU stepped onto the MGM Grand floor in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals already sliding and their three seed wasn’t keen on helping them out. The big picture — the accolades stored in the quiver throughout the season — were nowhere to be seen and the present was in focus.
And the present is no good; it’s not the brand of kismet you want to bring to Vegas.
The Sun Devils’ struggles picked up right where they left off from the time the ball was tossed up at center court and now — after a 79-58 loss to Stanford — coach Herb Sendek’s team find themselves in fear of an NCAA Tournament snub, which may not be all that far-fetched, given the team’s recent stretch.
Here’s a look back at the second-round loss by the numbers:
The Sun Devils never led the contest on Thursday, falling into a 9-0 hole just 3:57 minutes into the game. This was consistent with their most recent efforts, which saw them fall behind to Oregon 15-0 and Oregon State 9-1.
The Sun Devils pulled down a grand total of two offensive rebounds and zero in the first half. All in all, they were outrebounded 34-23 by the Cardinal.
ASU earned a three seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, but were outmatched by the sixth-seeded Stanford Cardinal, who controlled the game from wire-to-wire.
The Sun Devils are forced to prep for Selection Sunday the exact opposite way a tournament hopeful team should want to: on a three-game losing streak, having dropped five of their last seven games.
ASU has won just six of its 16 Pac-12 Tournament games all-time.
Stanford managed seven steals Thursday — five more than ASU’s two.
The final deficit for ASU was also the largest for the Sun Devils throughout the game, as Stanford never took its foot off the gas pedal, stretching their lead to 21 on three occasions in the second half and once leading the Sun Devils by as many as 24. The early 9-0 tone setting carried through to the end of the contest.
It has been 44 days since ASU last won a basketball game away from Wells-Fargo Arena — something they did back on Jan. 29 in Berkeley against Cal in overtime. Since then, they’ve suffered road losses to Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford — once in Stanford and Thursday in Las Vegas.
Stanford, who beat Washington State on Wednesday to advance to the second round, shot lights out on Thursday versus ASU, knocking down 28-of-51 field goal attempts (54.9 percent) while hitting 8 of their 18 three-point attempts. At one point in the second half, they were hitting shots at a rate of 68.2 percent.
Following Thursday’s deflating loss, and the poor run put together down the stretch by the Sun Devils, their NCAA Tournament hopes have to be dampened. The last time the Sun Devils (21-11, 10-8) made the tournament was in 2009.