Widgets Magazine

Upset falls short as men’s basketball bested by No. 12 Arizona

Senior Rosco Allen pulled his shirt up over his face, covered his eyes, then stared down at the court as the buzzer rang. It was just that type of night for the Cardinal (10-7, 3-3 Pac-12), as they fell 71-57 to No. 12 Arizona (16-3, 4-2), their twelfth straight loss to the Wildcats.

(RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily).

Freshman Marcus Sheffield (center) gave Stanford a chance at upsetting No. 12 Arizona with a career-high 17 points and a key scoring run to end the first half. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

Close but not quite was again the theme in Maples Pavilion as Stanford showed potential, but ultimately came up short down the stretch. The Cardinal shot just 26.7 percent from the field in the second half and made just 1 of 12 three-point field goals as they failed to respond adequately to an uptick in pressure from the visiting side.

“I think it was just a hard-fought game by both teams,” coach Johnny Dawkins said after the game. “I give Arizona a lot of credit – they made the stops in the second half when they had to… you can’t keep sustaining empty possessions against a team with their firepower.”

In their usual fashion, the Cardinal looked strong at the beginning and started out with plenty of energy, jumping back from an early deficit to bring the Wildcat lead down to one at halftime. Freshman Marcus Sheffield hit two clutch threes and junior Marcus Allen made some late key shots to give the team momentum going into the break.

Stanford came out fast from the half and briefly took a 40-39 lead with 14:17 to play, but Arizona answered with a 12-0 run that seemed to break down the Cardinal’s spirits and effectively put the game out of reach.

“I think we had a little lapse in the second half defensively,” sophomore Dorian Pickens said. “They got going, they were playing comfortably and they [managed] to put together a good amount of buckets.”

Sheffield tied his career high with 17 points, while Pickens joined him in double figures with 11. Senior Grant Verhoeven added another 8 points from the bench, but Stanford failed to achieve the contribution it was counting on from its typical offensive weapons, with sophomore Michael Humphrey playing just 20 minutes due to foul trouble and Rosco Allen connecting on just 1 of 12 shots from the floor.

“The fouls on Michael Humphrey really hurt,” Dawkins said. “He’s pretty much our most experienced big man, and so we had to make a tough decision when to [keep] him in the game.”

Gabe York led the Wildcats with 19 points, while lead scorer Ryan Anderson added 15 in the second half to help his team put the game away. Arizona’s offense progressively worked its way into a rhythm over a persistent Stanford defense, an impressive feat considering that the squad was playing without star freshman Allonzo Trier.

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The Cardinal now will have just one day off as they begin preparing for their next matchup, a Saturday game against Arizona State (11-7, 1-4).

The Sun Devils have struggled to rebuild after losing All-Pac-12 point guard Jahii Carson at the end of his sophomore season in 2014. Sophomore guard Tra Holder has stepped up as the team’s de facto playmaker this year, leading the Sun Devils with 16.2 points per game, but the team has managed just one win in conference and a 3-5 record away from the Wells Fargo Arena midway through the season.

ASU is just one of two teams in the Pac-12 with a worse team field goal percentage than the Cardinal, struggling from deep in particular with a paltry 32.1 3-point percentage. The team is capable of making up for this poor shooting on the offensive glass but has proved largely unable to come up with the plays it needs to in close games.

The x-factor for the Sun Devils in their stronger showings has been sophomore Kodi Justice, who scored 16 in their victory over Washington State and 17 in their close loss against Washington. Stanford will look to lock down its inconsistent perimeter defense to prevent him from becoming too much of a factor.

The Cardinal tip off against the Sun Devils at 8 p.m. in Maples Pavilion. The game will also air on Pac-12 Networks.

 

Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Andrew Mather

Andrew Mather served as a sports editor and as the Chief Operating Officer of The Daily. Growing up a devout Clippers and Iowa Hawkeyes fan in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Mather grew accustomed to watching his favorite programs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He brings this nihilistic pessimism to The Daily, where he occasionally feels a strong sense of déjà vu while covering basketball, football and golf.