By King Jemison
Stanford (10-8, 4-1 Pac-12) returns home for its first matchup against a ranked Pac-12 foe riding a four-game win streak in conference play for the first time since 2008. The Cardinal will face 16th-ranked Arizona State (14-3, 2-3) on Wednesday night in Maples Pavilion.
Last weekend, Stanford headed north and came away with wins over both Washington State and Washington in the span of three days. It was the first Pac-12 road sweep for the Cardinal since 2010, and it propelled them into a tie with Arizona at the top of the conference standings.
Freshman point guard Daejon Davis was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for his performance on the road trip. He scored 15 against Washington State in just 17 minutes and then led the team with 16 points and 10 rebounds against Washington. The win against the Huskies was particularly meaningful for Davis since he is from Seattle and was committed to Washington for much of the recruiting process before backing out and committing to Stanford once head coach Lorenzo Romar was fired.
Wednesday’s game features teams headed in the opposite direction. Arizona State was the last remaining undefeated team in the nation when it tipped off Pac-12 play against Arizona on Dec. 30. However, the Sun Devils went on to lose that game and dropped three of their first four league games overall to fall into a tie for seventh in the conference.
The Sun Devils are led by their talented and experienced backcourt. Senior guards Tra Holder and Shannon Evans II are both among the Top 10 scorers in the conference. Holder is third with 19.9 points per game while Evans is ninth with 17.4 and also leads the Pac-12 in three-pointers and is sixth with 4.5 assists per game. The heavy guard production has given Arizona State the eighth-best scoring offense in the country with 87.6 points per game, best in the Pac-12.
Though Stanford’s offense struggled for much of the season, it has found new life in Pac-12 play. The Cardinal are averaging 82 points per game in conference games, the second best mark thus far. Senior forward Reid Travis continues to lead the team with 20.1 points per game, good for second in the conference. But over the course of the season, a number of other scorers have stepped up for Stanford. Five players are currently averaging double figures.
The Cardinal will need every bit of that balance to keep up with the Sun Devils. Both teams have struggled defensively, so the matchup promises to be a high-scoring affair. Stanford’s quest to stay atop the Pac-12 standings continues against Arizona State. The game tips off at 8 p.m. and will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
Contact King Jemison at kingj ‘at’ stanford.edu.