"Obviously a great bounce back game for us," Coach Herb Sendek announced. "Really proud of the way our guys regrouped and came out and played, especially in the first half. Obviously Ty Abbott was spectacular and you can't say enough about him. He propelled us to the lead in the first half and just played a fantastic game. A good day for us."
Ty Abbott got the Sun Devils off to a nice start converting eight of nine shots in the first half, including 6-6 from downtown to give the Sun Devils a 54-22 half-time lead. As a team ASU went 10-18 from beyond the three-point line in the first half while holding Stanford to 0-11. ASU's first 18 baskets came through assists.
"We made shots," Sendek said bluntly, "we shot the ball well. We didn't do anything dramatically different than we've done the last two games offensively, I'm not even sure it was a function of us getting better shots than we've gotten the previous games. We just made a higher percentage of them and had a guy like Ty play really, really, really well."
The 54 points were the second most points the Sun Devils have scored in a half this season, only topped by the 58 they scored in the first half against San Francisco earlier this season.
The second half was a much different story than the first as Stanford began chipping away at what started as a 32-point lead.
"Stanford is a good team and the disparity or the teams isn't what it was in the first half, we know that," Sendek admitted. "They have a lot of pride and they're going to play well and battle back. They have a good team. The inclination is to say we didn't play as well or we lightened up, and maybe we didn't play as well and we got a little comfortable, but just as importantly, Stanford kept playing and they made some shots and plays. How bout the threes Jeremy Green was making?
"I think every time you get in conference play, regardless of the conference you're in you can bracket a group of your games and say ‘holy moley,' that's a tough stretch and if we don't win this one is there an easy win or an automatic win in sight? No. I don't think that's necessarily true of today I think that could be true around any number of bracketed games. Obviously coming off a two game losing streak and going on the road this week to two really good teams it was an important game, but that didn't make this game any easier. I told our guys before that we'd have to go out and win it because Stanford is good and they weren't going to give us anything."
The Sun Devils hit a cold spell and with 3:36 left in the game the Cardinal had cut the lead down to 12, but Derek Glasser wasn't about to let another lead slip away as he knocked down 9 of his final 10 free throws from that point on to ice the game and give the team something to feel good about moving forward. Glasser ended the game with 12 points, and 10 assists to only three turnovers.
Abbott stole the show in the first half, but something else caught the eye of all in Wells Fargo Arena and that was Derek Glasser not in the starting line-up for the first time all year, replaced by freshman Demetrius Walker.
"It's obvious he's been pressing," Sendek pointed out, "so I just wanted to let some of the air out for him, let him see the first few minutes until the media time out to get the ground under his feet, and I knew that if we did that he would respond well and obviously he did, had a great game, 10 assists, made 10 free throws, and made all the clutch free throws down the home stretch.
"I wasn't trying to send any messages, I wasn't trying to prove any points, I wasn't even trying to be a mastermind, and I was just trying to help a young guy who had been pressing a little bit catch his breath."