(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
After three straight victories, the Arizona State Sun Devils look to take down the Stanford Cardinal at 2 p.m. in Palo Alto on Saturday.
The Cardinal have won only one of their last three games and are coming off of a nail-bitingly close call almost bringing down no. 1 Arizona.
In the fleeting 10 seconds, the tying three-point shot by Cardinal’s lead-scorer Chasson Randle rattled off the rim giving Arizona the 60-57 win and keeping the fire lit for an undefeated season.
However, a successful last-second attempt to tie the game is precisely the way the Sun Devils stayed alive in their last game against the Cal Bears.
Jermaine Marshall sank a crucial three in the last 17 seconds sending the game into overtime. From there, it was checkmate.
The Sun Devils will be looking to ride that positive momentum right onto the court Saturday afternoon
Both the Sun Devils and Cardinal have presented solid defense in their last couple matchups. The Cardinal held Arizona to a mere 36 percent shooting in their last losing effort.
Senior Dwight Powell follows Randle averaging 14.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Jahii Carson and Jermaine Marshall are currently averaging 18.9 and 15 points a game respectively.
If the Sun Devils can maintain those numbers across the roster, they will have a chance of moving up to 6-3 in the Pac-12 conference.
Keys to Victory:
1. Bachynski staying out of foul trouble
In the last two games Jordan Bachynski has gotten himself into foul trouble early on, picking up two fouls less than two minutes in against Cal and eventually fouling out. In order for the 7-foot-2 big-man to be a rebounding factor and a defensive threat to the Cardinal he needs to give Sendek the option of keeping him on the floor for as much of those 60 minutes as possible.
2. Bench Production:
As Sendek always puts it, this win has to truly be a team effort. All facets of this team are going to have to be exhausted in this game, including bench production: namely, Bo Barnes and Jonathan Gilling. Whenever these men come into the game, their hustle and production rejuvenate this Sun Devil team, shifting the momentum to the positive.
This is always a key to any Sun Devil win because it is arguably their biggest problem currently. ASU needs to make better passes and take smarter shots in order to avoid sabotaging their own efforts. When a game comes down to the wire, as exemplified in both teams’ previous matchups, points off a turnovers can be the deciding factor as to who goes home with the win
Matchup to Watch: Chasson Randle vs. Jahii Carson
Both are guards and lead their team in points, averaging 18-19 points a game. Randle clearly has the height advantage, coming in at 6-foot-2 as apposed to Carson’s 5-foot-10 frame. However, it is the hoop-driving, devious-maneuvering, keen play-making abilities of these team leaders that will make the difference.
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