Stanford got a huge boost from Jeremy Green, who had an efficient day shooting, going for a season-high 23 points on 5-for-5 shooting from three, as well as a complete game from Jarrett Mann, who had a season-high 14 points, seven assists, four steals, and just one turnover.
Head Coach Johnny Dawkins said this game showed how his team has matured, as the Cardinal had their second-highest scoring output of the season, and dished out a season-high 18 assists. "I thought we did a great job of executing offensively all night long, and I think this is the best game that Jeremy Green and Jarrett Mann have ever had in a Cardinal uniform," Dawkins said. "Our junior leadership tonight was the difference maker."
The Devils gave the Cardinal every ounce of energy they had, tirelessly fighting for basketballs, fouling, and pushing the basketball, but once again they didn't have enough when they needed it most.
Both teams had remarkably similar first halves in a battle that saw the Devils and Cardinal traded the lead 13 times. The game looked like it might slip away when both Dwight Powell and Josh Owens were sent to the bench with two fouls early on, but Green went 4-for-4 from behind the arc in the first half, helping the Cardinal separate themselves from ASU a little bit, garnering Stanford with a 36-32 lead at halftime.
Both teams shot an identical 12-for-25 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free throw line in the first half, but Dawkins said the boost from Green was the edge they needed to stay ahead.
"I thought Jeremy was terrific, he had a lot of timely buckets, but he made some great passes and was a great leader," Dawkins said. "I was excited to see him get better in that area."
The two fast-paced teams spent the first half driving, flinging skip passes, and bombing up threes at the last second, all while Stanford's forwards sat on the bench watching, and when the second half got going, Powell and Owens helped stick a fork in the Sun Devils. The two combined for 23 points in the second half, with Owens contributing 16, and the junior said that he had to play better after a frustrating first half.
"It was really tough sitting on the bench, because I came into this game
really wanting to come in and put a complete game together, and I just made two
dumb fouls early on," Owens said. "I think I just played smarter in the second
Arizona State can't blame the loss on a lack of effort, though, as they refused to quit during the second half. After Stanford nabbed a 45-35 lead off another perfect Green three-pointer with 16:42 to play, the Devils cut their deficit to five points or less 10 times in the last 14 minutes.
However, the Cardinal's leaders had no trouble responding when they needed it most, pushing them over the top with 70% free throw shooting and 57% three point shooting in the second half. Dawkins said the win was huge for his team, especially heading into a road trip to face the Washington schools next weekend.
"We have tough games coming up, and to get a win before we head out is something we talked about before this game," he said. "And I think our kids did a great job of responding."
Jamelle McMillan led the way for Arizona State with 17 points, followed by Trent Lockett's 14 and Felix Carrick's 10 points. The Devils have now lost their last four games by a total of 15 points, and even though they shot 50.9% from the floor and had 34 points in the paint, they were ultimately sunk by a Stanford team that shot 56% from three, a better ratio than their 52% shooting from the floor overall.
The loss drops the Devils to 1-10 in conference play, and pushes the Cardinal
to 5-6 in the Pac-10 after going 2-2 on their four-game home stand.
Stanford next takes to the court Thursday evening in Pullman as they take on the
Washington State Cougars at 7:00pm.
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