Coming off a convincing victory over the California Golden Bears on Sunday evening, the Stanford Cardinal traveled down to the desert to see if they could exorcize their road demons against the Arizona State Sun Devils. After watching a double-digit lead slip away in the first half, the Cardinal used rebounding, second chances, good defense, and free throws down the stretch to hold off the Sun Devils and secure a 55-41 victory on Thursday evening. The win moves Stanford to 9-4 on the season (2-0 in the Pac-10), while Arizona State falls to 8-6 (1-2 in the Pac-10).
A layup by Ruslan Pateev cut a Stanford second half lead to five with 7:45 to go, but an Anthony Brown three-pointer from the left corner 13 seconds later pushed the lead back to eight. Carrick Felix's jumper and two free throws by Chanse Creekmur closed the lead down to four with under five minutes remaining, but that was as close as the Sun Devils would get as the Cardinal closed the game out on a 10-0 run, eight of those points coming at the free throw line as ASU missed several opportunities from long range in an attempt to come back.
Josh Owens led the way for Stanford, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds on 6-8 shooting from the field. Jarrett Mann was the only other player in double-digits, scoring 11 and making five of his seven free throw attempts, including several down the stretch as the Cardinal held off ASU. Felix and Trent Lockett both finished with 10 points to lead the Sun Devils.
The second half started with the Cardinal establishing some control of the game, going up 32-27 on the strength of two thunderous dunks from Josh Owens, the second of which led head coach Herb Sendek to take a time out to steady the Solar Satans. The timeout appeared to stymie the Stanford offense as ASU climbed to within one after an impressive Felix drive and slam dunk, but the Cardinal defense and some timely putbacks, propelled the visiting troops to a nine-point lead, 42-33, midway through the second half.
Stanford shot 42% from the field and 20% beyond the three-point line, but really did some damage at the free throw line, making 15-19, for a sizzling 79%. Arizona State made just 35% of their field goals, including a dismal 27% in the second half, to go with a 1-14 (7%) effort from long range, missing all nine attempts in the final 20 minutes of play. The Sun Devils made 60% (6-10) of their shots at the charity stripe. Stanford outrebounded Arizona State by a 34-26 margin, completely turning around the effort seen in the first half, as they outhustled their way to 25-8 edge on the boards in the second half. The Cardinal tallied 11 assists and 16 turnovers, while the Solar Satans dished out 10 assists, but committed 15 miscues on the evening.
An early 8-0 run, capped by a tough Mann three-point play, gave Stanford a 10-4 lead five minutes into the contest. ASU scored the next two buckets, but Stanford countered with another streak, this time scoring the next nine in a row, before a dunk by Pateev, the big man originally from Russia, stopped the Cardinal from getting any further ahead midway through the first half. The lead would grow to as large as 11 before the Sun Devils held the visitors scoreless for over seven minutes to tie the game at 21, before Stanford steadied itself just enough to take a 25-23 lead into the locker room .
Stanford next heads to Tucson to take on the head coach Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats, 73-71 comeback winners on Thursday evening over the California Golden Bears. Tipoff is at 3:30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!