Pac-10 basketball: Stanford shocks Arizona State to advance in tourney
The Sun Devils, who were trying to strengthen their postseason resume, left the Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament early, losing to Stanford, 70-61, in the quarterfinals at Staples Center.
Jeremy Green scored 18 points and Landry Fields added 17 to put the Cardinal into Friday’s semifinal against the winner of Washington and Oregon State.
Arizona State (22-10) finished second in the Pac-10, but likely needed to reach the conference tournament final to lock down an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.
The Sun Devils' “marquee” nonconference victories were over San Diego State, which finished tied for third in the Mountain West Conference, and UC Santa Barbara, the co-champions of the Big West Conference. Arizona State has a 0-3 record against teams currently ranked in the top 25.
The loss Thursday could limit the Pac 10 to only one team in the NCAA tournament should regular season champion California win the conference tournament.
Stanford (14-17) took control of the game with a 19-5 blitz for a 50-35 lead with 11:41 left in the game. Green and Fields both scored eight points during the run.
The Cardinal shot 55% from the field. Arizona State shot 39%.
Stanford led by as many as nine points early in the game, but was up only 29-28 at halftime.
Rihards Kuksiks kept Arizona State from being buried. He scored 10 of his team’s first 12 points.
Kuksiks had 15 points in the first half. The rest of the Sun Devils had 13. He made five of six shots. His teammates were five of 19.
But Kuksiks did not score in the second half and nobody on the Sun Devils stepped up to apply consistent offensive pressure.
Photo: Stanford's goes up for a basket during the first half of Stanford's 70-61 victory over Arizona State on Thursday. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press