Pregame: Thanks to Fox Sports for fitting 80 percent of the shot onto screen. Hope nothing too interesting happens on the periphery. Dawkins on Chasson Randle: Motion offense has freed him up, allowed him to assert his instincts. There are maybe 500 people in the Staples Center by the looks of it, and our band accounts for 30 of them.
Stanford enters at 20-10, while Arizona State is an inverse 10-20, but the Devils are coming off an upset of Arizona. Card won by 24 in the teams' only meeting this season.
Brown responds to an ASU three in kind. Then Randle adds another, 6-3 two minutes in, slow pace early. Here's some food for thought, as Randle hits 2-of-3 from the line: how bad does your league have to be for you to post 23 wins, as Stanford would were they to make the Pac-12 Finals, and not be in the bubble discussion whatsoever, as Stanford would not? Does a 23-win team get in from the Mountain West? The Ohio Valley? The WCC? I'd think so. They'd probably have a tougher out-of-conference slate, for one. (Also, they probably wouldn't have lost to Utah.)
16-minute mark: Stanford 8, ASU 5
The Grand Marquis refers to Andrew Zimmermann as "the Grizzly Zim". I like it. Josh Owens with a sick block, ASU's best guy has two fouls, and Stanford forces a shot-clock violation. I like it. Announcers complement our interior D and say we have great depth. I like it. We pinball it around on an ugly possession but somehow the ball works itself to Mann inside for a layup. Off a drive, Randle draws and hits a pair. He's the one guy on this squad who looks like he's actively trying to attack the other team. Guess that bodes well for our future. ASU is blocked and then travels. They are ugly offensively, 2-of-8 already. And it's Randle with another three. Catch-to-release time was probably under a second, no hesitation there. 16-6, Randle with 10. ASU hits a contested jumper from 18 and then Powell steps on the baseline for our fourth turnover. Bright with a pull-up three, we're 4-of-5 deep. I like (no joke) that the Stanford ad ends with a girl swerving on her bike, which must happen 500 times per day on our campus. Better that than the cliché shot of mixing liquid food coloring in a lab.
12-minute mark: Stanford 19, ASU 10
Holy poop – it's Randle from NBA length and then another two NBA lengths on top of that. Swish. 17-5 Stanford run. Would be sweet to kill, or at least seriously damage, Cal's bubble hopes tomorrow. Hey, ASU scored, I didn't know they could do that. Bright with an off-balance three, we're 6-of-9 deep. Can we bank some of these for tomorrow? Huestis with two consecutive blocks. It feels like we have five swat-aways already. Maybe we can put the Devils away and save some legs for tomorrow. And it's Bright with another catch-and-shoot three. 7-of-10 deep. Good sign that we have the potential. Bad sign that we seemingly fold under pressure and can't do it consistently? We also haven't penetrated all day, but shouldn't matter tonight.
Eight-minute mark: Stanford 29, ASU 13
Zimmermann drops a pass, nicely mimicking Owens doing just that a few minutes earlier. John Gage with a free throw-line jumper. We draw a charge underneath – say what you will, but this is a pretty good defensive team, especially on the inside. Randle with a drive and a layup. He has 15. ASU with a layup and the foul, sorry for jinxing our D. Gage airballs a three, no need to save that for tomorrow. We've kept on leading by about 14 for the last 10 minutes, as we can't grow the lead, but it's not shrinking either. ASU is helping matters by going 4-of-8 from the line, after just missing the front end of a one-and-one. And another ASU travel. Not exactly Duke-UNC here.
Four-minute mark: Stanford 35, ASU 19
Randle is again fouled on a three and converts two of the freebies. ASU turnover underneath. Huestis picks up a missed Randle drive and is fouled. He makes one and misses the second, but Powell tips that in. Randle with a steal and he hits both resulting free throws. He has 19 and his aggression is driving this 9-0 run. Now he's blocking ASU's seven-footer, Jordan Bachynski, though Randle was whistled a foul. Sick, sick game for Randle, something he can build on moving ahead. And another three from Randle. He has 22 and looks totally unfazed. Deep thought from Marquees: "Why do they call it the Quad Cities when there are actually five cities?" Randle fouled on a breakaway, makes 'em both, he has tied his career-high of 24. 47-21 as we have blown this thing open. Open ASU three. And another one. Randle does miss a three. And his guy hits another trey – Randle's freelancing a bit too much on D here. 9-0 ASU run as a 26-point lead is now 17. No matter, Randle nails a three just before the halftime horn. He Pac-12 Tourney-record 27 first-half points. Rebecca Haarlow: We're doing a good job of reversing the ball and getting it to Chasson on the weak side. I have a new favorite sideline reporter.
Halftime: Stanford 50, ASU 30
ASU spilts a pair, then commits a dumb foul in the backcourt. Anthony Brown with a floater. ASU with a deuce, then a trey. ASU's full-court pressure results in an uncontested Jarrett Mann layup. This game's opening up all of a sudden. Steve Physioc doesn't know how to pronounce "VanDerveer". It's okay, no one knows how to spell his name either. Zimmermann with a three, were it not for his big toe on the line. Mann decides to go one-on-three and gets blocked. ASU hits a pair from the line, and they're on a 20-9 run. Mann now has a one-on-one and makes his layup. Funny how that works.
16-minute mark: Stanford 58, ASU 41
We've started fouling a lot, and Arizona State opens this stanza with two swishes from the line. Brown misses a contested 23-footer, poor shot selection. Zimmermann jumps three times to pull down a board, is tackled onto his defender and somehow draws his third foul for his efforts. Marquees on Zimmermann's blue-collar attitude: "Baloney sandwich, pitcher full of KoolAid." Yeah, I have no idea either. We tip one of theirs into the net and now the lead is down to 13. Powell backs down his man and puts it off the glass to stop the bloodletting. Jack Trotter gets his man in the air and puts in a three-footer underneath him. But then ASU steals an inbounds and absolutely stuffs it in Powell's face. SportsCenter stuff there. Mann throws up an airball after he started to slip. Bright with a foul at halfcourt. Looks like we're trying to do too much to stop their momentum here. Sure enough, we triple one guy and another is wide open for a layup. Powell tries to throw down a dunk with similar intensity to the one he just suffered through, but is fouled on the effort. He gets his two points the hard way. We commit another two off-ball fouls and ASU is already in the bonus. Naturally, the Devils again miss the front end of a one-and-one.
12-minute mark: Stanford 64, ASU 49
Mann, to his credit, hits a pair of free throws. We show zone for the first time all game. ASU misses two point-blank shots, grabs two o-boards and still can't score. Not a great showing for the zone. Randle connects from 24 feet on one of his first shots of the half. ASU has been focusing on him and limiting his touches this half, but he is up to 30 overall. Jack Trotter is whistled trying to box out, and ASU splits the resulting free throws. Bright makes two free throws and has 11. ASU now hits another two free throws, as this is quickly devolving into a game of horse. Mann fast-break layup; he has 10. Would be nice to start resting our starters, notably Randle.
Eight-minute mark: Stanford 73, ASU 52
Randle has played 28 minutes and is on the bench now – let's see what we can do offensively here. We're running the drain-clock offense, and it works, with Josh Huestis hitting a six-foot jump hook. Then it's Brown with a running floater. A few minutes later, it's Owens with a jump hook. We've stretched it back out to a 22-point lead with three minutes to go, let's get Owens and the other familiar faces out of here as well. And don't tell me we have folks in to "build confidence"… shouldn't that have already happened by Game 31? Aren't we going to regret this tomorrow? Okay, the second string is coming in with three minutes to go.
Four-minute mark: Stanford 79, ASU 59
ASU hits a few shots to make it a bit more respectable, but can do nothing to alter the long- decided outcome. We do get some of our deep bench guys in, kudos to them, and Jack Ryan hits two field goals in his limited minutes.
When you're complaining about substitution patterns, either it's a blowout and you're grasping at straws, or you lost narrowly and are grasping at straws. Luckily, it was the former today. Chasson Randle is the obvious MVP and finishes with 30 points on 7-of-11 shooting overall, 6-of-8 deep. Stanford improves to 21-10 while the Devils will finish 10-21.
We're playing at 6 p.m. PT tomorrow, same bat channel. Oh yeah, it's against Cal. Wouldn't have it any other way. (Oregon or Colorado awaits the winner.) Randle on the motion offense: "I think it's been working well." Yeah, I suppose so.
Final: Stanford 85, ASU 65
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