Tra Holder (USA Today)

Sun Devils persevere in 75-69 win over Cardinal

Late-game heroics by Arizona State senior Torian Graham led the Sun Devils to a season sweep of the Stanford Cardinal.

Long before being mobbed at midcourt at the buzzer by his teammates, Torian Graham knew he wanted the ball in his hands for the waning minutes of Saturday's game.

Despite going 0-of-9 from three-point range in Arizona State's Wednesday loss to California and 2-of-5 from behind the arc in the first half of ASU's game against Stanford, Graham was confident in his shot-making ability. 

In the second half of ASU's 75-69 comeback win over Stanford, Hurley told ASU head coach Bobby Hurley to feed him the ball, and in the end, it turned out in his favor. 

"He told me in the second half that he wanted the ball coming his way," Hurley said. "He had it going, he knew it and he delivered."

In the final 1:16 of Saturday night's contest, ASU went on a 12-2 run behind two clutch three-pointers by Graham - in addition to his crucial steal off an inbounds play - to pull out a win in front of 8,206 in attendance at Wells Fargo Arena. 

"We wanted to get him into an isolation and we had a play to get Torian on the wing and in space so he could go off the dribble and with his elevation I know he could create his own shot," Hurley said. 

With the win, ASU improved to 12-14 overall and 5-8 in Pac-12 play. Graham led the Sun Devils with 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, 6-of-11 from behind the arc. ASU junior guard Tra Holder had 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from three-point range and was a perfect 4 for 4 from the charity stripe. 

Stanford dropped to 12-13 overall and 4-9 in conference play. Prior to Saturday’s game, the Cardinal had won 10 of the last 15 games against ASU. ASU previously beat Stanford 98-93 on the road on Dec. 30. Stanford last won at Wells Fargo Arena on Feb. 9, 2013.

For ASU, it was coming off a Wednesday night 68-43 blowout home loss to California. The Sun Devils were only 3-of-25 from three-point range and shot 25.4 percent from the field overall. 

"The day after the Cal game was not a practice most players want to be in and with the conditioning that we did and the film study that we did and it was a tough day for everybody to get that last game out of our system," Hurley said. 

Saturday night, the Sun Devils had four made three-pointers by the 16:21 mark of the first half off ASU junior guard Shannon Evans' three-pointer, capping a 9-2 run for ASU. However, ASU was only 6-of-26 from behind the arc for the remainder of the game. 

Additionally, despite Graham's late-game heroics, ASU was at a clear disadvantage in multiple facets throughout the game. 

The Sun Devils were out-rebounded by the Cardinal 49 to 27, specifically being out rebounded 22 to 6 on the offensive boards alone. They were outscored 38 to 14 in the paint, were outscored 18 to 7 in second chance opportunities, and were 0-of-1 in free throws in the first half alone. Add on two separate five-minute scoring droughts and on paper, the Sun Devils had the odds stacked against them. 

But despite all the adversity, ASU still overcame a Stanford team that had a nine point lead with nine minutes remaining in the second half. Stanford was sloppy with the ball, turning it over 21 times, was only 3-of-9 from three-point range and was only 8-of-16 from the free throw line. 

The Sun Devils went 17-of-21 from the free throw line in the second half alone. 

"There was such determination there the guys played like it was the last game of their lives," Hurley said. "They played like they were blessed to play Division I basketball and I felt that throughout the majority of the game." 

Stanford senior guard Marcus Allen led the Cardinal with a 20-point performance and shot 8-of-12 from the field. Allen was averaging 11.4 points per game in the past seven games. 

In addition to Allen, both Stanford junior forward Reid Travis and Stanford junior forward Michael Humphrey, a Phoenix native, had double-doubles. Travis recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds while Humphrey had 16 points and 13 rebounds. 

"They are a handful I knew watching the Arizona game that we were going to have trouble with those guys," Hurley said.

At halftime, ASU was down 33-32 to the Cardinal, who were led by Humphrey with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. Holder and Graham both had eight points to lead the Sun Devils.

"I thank teammates and my coaches for having faith in me," Graham said. "Sometimes more than myself." 

ASU started off hot from three-point range, going 4-of-6 to open the game, but cooled off, only making 2 of its last 12 three-point attempts going into halftime. And as the Sun Devils got cold, so did the Cardinal. 

ASU had a five-minute scoring drought and the Cardinal had almost a four-minute scoring drought up to the 2:37 mark in the first half. By the end of the first half, Stanford turned the ball over 12 times and ASU nine times - with Obinna Oleka recording four of them. 

"All game we were going through adversity we didn't give up we were going through adversity throughout the season," Graham said. 


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