Slow Start, Fast Finish for Stanford In Win

Bright led the way for Stanford with 16.

Men's Hoops Editor Ray Salloom provides the Bootleg faithful a look at the game flow, stats, quotes, and facts after Stanford used a 21-8 run to end the first half, then put their momentum into overdrive to start the second, gaining a 68-44 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils on Thursday night at Maples Pavilion.

The Stanford Cardinal came into tonight's contest versus the Arizona State Sun Devils looking to halt the shenanigans that had plagued them in three consecutive road losses to the Washington schools and Cal. After a slow start that saw the home team down five points (12-7) and shooting a paltry 17% halfway through the opening stanza, Stanford blistered the nets at a 57% clip from there on out to cruise to a 68-44 victory. Stanford moves to 16-6, 6-4 in Pac-12 play while the shorthanded Sun Devils fell to 7-15 and 3-7 in league action.

After an Anthony Brown three-pointer capped a 9-2 scoring blitz to end the first half, the Cardinal scored 16 of the first 19 points in the second half to open up a 28-20 halftime lead up to 21 with just over 13 minutes to go in the game. Aaron Bright was the main reason for the outburst, nailing three long balls in a 3:29 span to fuel the run.

"It was good to see our kids bounce back," said head coach Johnny Dawkins after the win. "I was really proud of our guys defensively...our kids just did a real great job…were very active today."

Once Stanford was done with their run, Arizona State attempted to counterattack, but they could only get as close as 16 before finally wilting against the Cardinal on their home floor.

"We've really struggled to be competitive on the road. We were too quick to break away from we were trying to do on offense," said Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek. "Guys just didn't have the constitution to stay with what we do. We're not a team of guys who can break off and create their own shots. We're not built that way. If we don't stay with what we do, with great discipline, it makes it very difficult."

The Cardinal were led by Bright's 16 points. He was followed by Chasson Randle's 14 and Brown's 11 for the victors. Arizona State, playing with just eight men and without leading scorer Trent Lockett who was out due to a sprained right ankle injury, were led by rising star center Jordan Bachynski who scored 20 on 5-6 shooting and 10-12 from the line, a place where he had only hit 40% of his shots so far on the season. Kyle Cain was next in line with eight.

Stanford shot 45% from the field (62% in the second half), including 36% from downtown and 56% from the line (5-9). Arizona State made just 34% of their field goals, including just 21% from deep, but did make 70% of their charity stripe attempts (14-20). The Cardinal out-rebounded ASU 38-24, including 16-5 on the offensive glass, leading to a 15-4 edge in second chance points. Stanford passed around 14 assists compared to just nine turnovers, while the Sun Devils had just four assists (all late in the second half) and turned the ball over 14 times. This led to a 20-7 edge in points off turnovers. Stanford also won the war in the paint, outscoring Arizona State 26-18.

At 16-6, the Cardinal know they need to string a lot of W's together to get possibly positioned for a potential at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, a fact not lost on Bright after the game who said "We know we've got to make a run at this thing now."

Stanford needs to continue the offensive and defensive effort to make that run happen. In the post-game press conference, Brown was confident that if they play well on both sides of the ball, that potential run will be hard to stop.

"If we shoot well and defend well, no one in this league should beat us."

Stanford gets its next shot to do that on Saturday at High Noon versus the Arizona Wildcats at Maples Pavilion.
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