“Seems like every game we play is close,” said Sun Devil coach Herb Sendek after Arizona State’s 62-59 loss to Stanford Saturday night.
The Sun Devils needed a comeback effort to scare the Cardinal, and they nearly snuck away with a win. Jonathan Gilling hit a late 3-pointer to pull ASU within three points with 14 seconds left. Despite the late game heroics, though, Arizona State ultimately fell to the Cardinal for the Sun Devils’ sixth loss of the season.
In a game in which the Devils trailed by as many as 16 points, ASU battled back in spite of the Cardinal seemingly knocking down every shot they attempted.
After the game, Sendek mentioned Stanford’s successful shooting night. “Every mistake we made, Stanford almost made us pay.” The ASU coach was not far off in his assessment as the Cardinal shot an astounding 55.6 percent from downtown on 10-18 shooting.
Along with their shooting triumphs, Stanford also created matchup problems on the court with the ASU defense as Cardinal front-court big men Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis had big nights.
Powell scored a game-high 22 points, and Huestis missed one shot in his 5-6 shooting performance while registering 13 points.
These front court matchup issues were directly responsible for Jordan Bachynski’s 12 total minutes, and Ruslan Pateev’s 14 minutes played.
Pateev and Bachynski both had trouble rotating when Cardinal players stretched out to the perimeter.
Although Sendek mentioned he thought the “small ball” lineup that was implemented helped close the gap, he wasn’t fully satisfied with the start. “We just had some challenges carrying over our preparations into executions.”
On the other end of the court, a hefty portion of the game featured a convoluted Arizona State offense that often failed to get into its offensive sets. “We took a lot of quick shots, and got out of our offense,” said Carrick Felix.
Another abysmal shooting night from the free throw line (50 percent) turned the game into an overall disappointment.
Felix, who sat alongside his equally disappointed teammate Jahii Carson in the postgame press conference, was visibly frustrated.
“It’s definitely disappointing because this is our home, this is our house, and we’re always taught to protect our house, and that’s something I don’t think we did tonight,” said Felix.
ASU will not have a chance to redeem this loss at home until February 20, in a rematch with the Cardinal out in California. However, the Sun Devils do have the opportunity to get another mark in the win column at Utah on February 13.