Monday, January 4, 2016

A Drubbing in the Desert

By Wally Mersereau

The same weather system bringing rain to the Bay Area extended to Arizona. Upon arrival at the Phoenix airport this afternoon I found the same temperature and moisture as at SFO. Unfortunately, the gloom outside seemed to follow Stanford inside Wells Fargo Arena this evening to cast a pall over the entire game from a Stanford fan’s standpoint.

Going into the game I thought #9 Stanford had an excellent chance to come away with a win over #14 Arizona State. Just a solid performance on offense and defense would do it, but the Cardinal performance was stuck at the other end of the spectrum from the git-go, especially on offense, resulting in the poorest game of the season—so far.

I can find nothing to praise. The team and every player played poorly. ASU, on the other hand, brought poise and, seemingly, every Sun Devil player stepped up, aided by quite a bit of luck with bounces and rolls that turned a disproportionate number of marginal baskets into ones that counted. The Cardinal seemed unable to do two good things in a row, producing only brief glimmers of competence now and then.

Stanford shooting, across the board, was pitiful. Shots of every type by every player were muffed and the Cardinal had no luck at all. Stanford scoring by quarter was: 1st = 7 points, 2nd = 6 points, 3rd = 9 points and 4th = 9 points. Arizona State didn’t do a whole lot better in the scoring department, but it led from start to finish and did more than enough to come away with a 49-31 win.

Lili was high scorer for the Card with 7 points. Nuff said. Some credit for Stanford’s poor shooting should go to the stellar ASU defense, but not all by any means. Stanford was just inept tonight.

Stanford passing was notable for the number of passes made to an ASU player. Stanford did not take care of the ball. The Devils were on their toes and deflected or stole the ball way too many times. The Devils were uber-pesky and seemed to be in constant motion. In a word, they were devilish.

Attendance on a Monday night at 6 pm, following the New Year weekend, was probably about 2,000. At least, theoretically, this helped to limit the home court advantage, but the Sun Devils had more than enough backing to dominate the game.

Losses are supposed to be learning experiences. There needs to be a whole lot of learning from this one.