(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Tipping off its final two games of the season, Arizona State will play the Bay Area schools at home looking to end the season on a high-note. The Sun Devils’ first game of the two is against Stanford, who has lost five of its last eight.
Stanford’s last game resulted in a loss to Oregon 73-70 , which was its 10th loss of the year. Along with a balanced scoring output from the starting five, senior guard Chasson Randle once again led the way for the Cardinal with 17 points in a point guard duel where Randle and Oregon’s senior guard Joseph Young each played 40 minutes.
The Sun Devils, on the other hand, are 3-3 in their last six games, and lost both games during their Rocky Mountain road trip versus Colorado and Utah. In their more recent loss to Colorado, senior forward Shaquielle McKissic led the way offensively with 18 points followed by three other Sun Devils who also scored in double-figures.
Keys to the Game
Make the role players beat you
In ASU’s last meeting with Stanford, senior forwards Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic along with Randle scored at least 20 points a piece, contributing a total of 62 of the Cardinal’s 89 points. Those three also took 34 of their team’s 53 field goal attempts, with 19 of the other shots being distributed amongst eight players.
A strong defensive game from the backcourt
With Randle being the second-best scorer in the conference at 19.4 points per contest, he is capable of lighting up the scoreboard on any given night and following a game where Colorado’s senior guard Askia Booker torched the Sun Devils with 29 points, ASU needs to find a way to prevent that from happening in consecutive games, while also keeping the other two seniors in check.
Take Advantage of the Home Crowd
For some reason, the Sun Devils know how to turn up their level of play at Wells Fargo Arena. They’ve collected 13 of their 15 wins at home, and have won four out of their last five in Tempe. With a chance to potentially move up in the Pac-12 standings right before tournament time, this game is crucially important in determining their destiny, and there’s no place the Sun Devils would rather do it than in front of their home crowd.
With both of these teams splitting their last six games 3-3 and their conference tournament seeding on the line, this game is really up in the air. If ASU can keep only one of Stanford’s reliable scoring options below 20 points, it will have a great shot at winning.