BC-BKC--Stanford-Arizona St,1st Ld-Writethru
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Rob Edwards didn’t need to take many shots to have an efficient performance for Arizona State.
The junior guard scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and added five rebounds and four assists to help the Sun Devils to an 80-62 win over Stanford Wednesday night.
Backcourt mate Remy Martin added 16 points, and the Sun Devils (18-8 overall, 9-5 Pac-12) earned a key conference win with only one of their final four regular-season games left at home. They have alternated wins and losses in their last seven games.
“Just trying to get confidence for March and tournament time,” Edwards said. “Just trying to pick it up and help everybody else so that we can get ready and win games. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
Stanford (14-12, 7-7) entered having won five of its last six games but played without leading scorer and potential NBA draft pick KZ Okpala, who sustained what coach Jerod Haase called an upper body injury in a recent practice and was held out. The forward is Stanford’s leading scorer at 17.5 points per game.
Josh Sharma’s 17 points led the Cardinal, with 15 points from Oscar Da Silva.
“I don’t think it impacted our shooting. I think it impacted the game because he is so talented, but the guys that were shooting the shots were the guys I wanted, and they are very talented,” Haase said of not having Okpala.
Arizona State led by no less than six in a slow-moving second half, then pulled away with a 3 from Zylan Cheatham and an Edwards jumper with 4:50 to play for a 66-52 lead.
A deep 3 from Edwards as the shot clock expired with 2:07 to play gave Arizona State a 74-60 lead and sealed the win.
The Cardinal missed all 12 3-point tries in the second half and finished 2 of 20 from long range. After 11-for-22 field goal shooting in the first half, Stanford was a frigid 10-for-33 in the second.
’Part of it was just our pressure,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. “We were just really speeding them up some and we didn’t allow them to go side to side.”
Stanford capped a 7-0 run with Sharma’s dunk to make it 18-15 at the midway point of the first half. But a layup by Luguentz Dort put the Sun Devils back in front, and they held the lead the rest of the half.
Martin’s 3 with 37 seconds left until halftime got the crowd on its feet and gave Arizona State the 42-34 lead the Sun Devils had at halftime.
“They have a very talented team and they were able to get enough makes to never let us get too close,” Haase said.
Sharma had 10 points at halftime. The Sun Devils made were 6 of 13 on 3s in the first half, three for Taeshon Cherry off the bench.
Cherry, however, picked up a Flagrant 2 foul for tripping a Stanford player and was ejected from the game with 11:23 to play in the second half. He finished with 11 points.
The Cardinal had a chance to cut the lead to four early in the second half, down 50-44, but Bryce Wills came up short on a dunk attempt and tweaked an ankle to add injury to insult. He later returned to the game.
STANFORD — The Cardinal play three of its final four regular-season games at home, and of the four, three teams are the bottom three in the Pac-12 standings. With a strong finish, Stanford can possibly get into the top four in the conference going into the Pac-12 Tournament and earn a bye to the quarterfinals, which is beneficial.
ARIZONA STATE — The Sun Devils’ home finale is Sunday, then they end the regular season with three road games. Two are at the Oregon schools, both tough at home, and the last one is at rival Arizona, a test despite the Wildcats’ struggles this season. Staying in the top four for a first-round tournament bye is still a strong possibility.
Hurley, on the black shirt and dark tie he chose to wear for the game:
“I had a feeling that we would deliver, and this is my ‘gangster’ shirt and the guys played like gangsters out there. They played hard, they took control of the game, they battled, they fought.“HIGHLIGHT REELWith the outcome not in doubt and 40 seconds to play, Martin’s sixth and final assist of the night came on a mid-air, look-away bounce pass between his legs to De’Quon Lake for a dunk.
“Just tried to figure out the quickest way to get it to him,” Martin said. “It was obviously a little bit of flair, but I just got it to him any type of way. That’s just my playground style.”
It wasn’t Martin’s only nifty dish. At the 2:08 mark of the first half, his bounce pass in transition to Kimani Lawrence led to a layup and a 35-29 lead, UP NEXT
Stanford plays at Arizona on Sunday.