Thursday night couldn’t have gone any better for Arizona State.
The Sun Devils were looking for their first win away from Wells Fargo Arena at a non-neutral site, and they earned it in convincing fashion at the Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California.
The Golden Bears came in with a respectable overall record, but — like ASU — were just 1-4 in Pac-12 play.
Cal held a one-point lead very early on, but Eric Jacobsen hit a layup to break a 4-4 tie with just under 17 minutes left in the first half, and the Sun Devils would never look back.
Herb Sendek’s group went into the half with a commanding 34-13 lead, and the team came out shooting even better in the second period.
The result was a 79-44 blowout by the visiting Sun Devils. It was far and away Cal’s worst loss of the season, and it happened on the team’s home floor, no less.
The win was ASU’s second in a row, and the school improved to 10-9 overall and 2-4 in the conference. The Golden Bears fell to 11-8, 1-5.
Here’s a look at Arizona State’s dominant victory, by the numbers:
Believe it or not, with as many points as ASU dropped, only two players reached double-figures. Bo Barnes, a senior, tied his career high with 17 points. He made 2-of-4 from downtown and went 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Kodi Justice poured in a career-best 16, highlighted by his 4-for-4 performance from long range. Cal only had one player reach double-figures: Jordan Mathews with 11.
Freshman guard Austin Witherill of Gilbert, Ariz., scored his first basket as a Sun Devil. His impressive three from the right wing marked the final bucket of the game.
After failing to reach 70 points in five straight games, the Devils have topped the mark in the last two — both wins. They are now 7-5 when dropping 70 or more this season.
Jacobsen started out hot with eight of the team’s first 14 points. What did he finish with? Nine. He shot 4-of-7 from the field but missed four of his five free throw attempts. Guard Gerry Blakes had the other six of those first 14 points, but he did not score again after his hot start.
ASU held Cal to an anemic 33.3 percent (15-of-45) night from the field, including just 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) from downtown. The Bears, at least, shot solidly from the free throw line: 12-of-16 (75 percent). The Sun Devils had 10 more attempts from the charity stripe, but made just 65.4 percent of their freebies.
Although it was the Bears’ worst loss of the season, the 35-point gap between the two teams actually wasn’t the Sun Devils’ biggest win of the year; they routed Detroit 93-54 on Dec. 23, and they crushed Chicago State 86-50 in the season opener.
The Sun Devils led for 36 minutes and 43 seconds of the 40-minute contest. They only trailed for all of two minutes and four seconds, and the game was tied for just one minute and 13 seconds.
Since Barnes and Justice both came off the bench, ASU’s reserves crushed Cal’s 48-18. In fact, the Sun Devils bench outscored all of the Golden Bears combined. Barnes and Justice were just two of the 12 different Sun Devils to score at least one point Thursday.
Despite the big halftime lead, ASU was shooting just 43.3 percent from the field at that point. The team picked it up in the final half by going 13-of-24 (54.2 percent). The Devils finished the night at 48.1 percent from the floor, as compared to Cal’s 33.3 percent. ASU also made 10 of its 21 three-point attempts (47.6 percent).