No. 16 ASU men's basketball falls short of a comeback, loses to Stanford 86-77

Tra Holder has another inconsistent game as the Sun Devils continue to struggle on the road

Coming into Wednesday’s matchup against No. 16 ASU men’s basketball, unranked Stanford had a 12-game losing streak against ranked opponents. But an unsung hero off the bench, and another inconsistent game by ASU leading scorer Tra Holder contributed to the Cardinal's 86-77 win over the Sun Devils.

Holder, the senior guard, had yet another off game, but unlike against Oregon State, the Sun Devils couldn't complete the comeback despite coming within two points in the second half. 

He finished the game with nine points on 3-for-14 shooting and has shot a combined 4-for-23 from the field the last two games. 

Senior guard Shannon Evans II anchored the 13-2 run that brought ASU within striking distance with under four minutes to play, knocking down a flurry of pivotal shots down the stretch. 

He finished the game with 13 points, though he only had two points in the first half. 

The biggest takeaway for the Sun Devils, however, was redshirt freshman forward Romello White. He had yet to score more than 10 points in conference play, and exploded for 19 points against Stanford, making 11-of-14 free throws. 

Stanford, on the other hand, have found different ways to pull off wins this season. Against ASU, they stayed disciplined and were led by upperclassmen. 

Junior forward Josh Sharma was the clear factor for the Cardinal, as he finished the game with a season high 14 points off the bench – 12 of those coming in the second half. He came into the game averaging 4.1 ppg. 

In the first 10 minutes of the second half, Stanford went on a 14-5 run, fueling its biggest lead of the game, 60-45. In that burst, Sharma attacked the paint and finished with a dunk through traffic. 

Moments later, he threw down another dunk, this time a put back to keep the momentum on Stanford's side.

Phoenix-native and Stanford senior forward Dorian Pickens finished with a team-high 19 points on 50 percent shooting from the field. 

He displayed consistency throughout the game, ending the first half with 10 points and adding another nine in the second half. 

With 4:32 remaining in the second half, Holder came off a high screen and finished with a three-pointer, shrinking the Cardinal lead by two, 70-68. 

But Stanford would hit its next four free throws and managed to break ASU’s full-court press consistently, which ultimately helped seal the Cardinal victory. 

ASU shot 68 percent from the free throw line and failed to surpass the 80-point mark for the fourth straight game after averaging a little over 90 points per game during non-conference play. 

Up next

No. 16 ASU @ California

When: Saturday, Jan. 20 at 8:30 p.m. MST

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Reach the reporter at or follow @felipecorraljr on Twitter.  

Like State Press Sports on Facebook and follow @statepresssport on Twitter

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.