Arizona State will be out to build more momentum for a late-season push when it faces host Cal on Saturday in Berkley, Calif.
The Sun Devils (17-8, 8-6 Pac-12) rallied for a 69-65 victory at Stanford on Thursday, but it was just their second win in their last seven games since dropping a showdown game against UCLA on Jan. 19 that was a battle for first place at the time.
Arizona State is nowhere near such a lofty perch now, but it still has a 20-win season in its sights despite the fact that a pair of top-10 teams remain on their schedule in Arizona and UCLA.
DJ Horne scored 18 points in the victory over Stanford and Frankie Collins scored 15, but the Sun Devils were outrebounded 44-39 without big man Warren Washington, who was out because of COVID-19 concerns.
Arizona State trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half and was down 52-41 with 13:26 remaining before a quick 9-0 run got the Sun Devils within striking distance. They took the lead for good at 67-65 with 1:50 remaining.
“This game was textbook about how our season has been,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. “Getting down at different stages, then getting up and finding a way. It was great that the guys fought as hard as they did and were able to get a win.”
Cal (3-21, 2-11) has been unable to find its way all season. The Golden Bears started 0-12, rebounded with three victories in four games around the holidays and are now on an eight-game losing streak.
Cal was thumped 85-62 by No. 4 Arizona at home on Thursday, with the positive coming from the fact that they scored more than 48 points for the first time in five games as the offense increased its tempo.
Golden Bears leading scorer Devin Askew (15.5 points per game) was ruled out for the remainder of the season last week and underwent sports hernia surgery. DeJuan Clayton returned Thursday after missing two games due to an illness, but shot just 2-of-11 from the field and scored five points.
“DeJuan, I don’t think he was in any rhythm and on defense we couldn’t solve the matchups — they were too big,” Cal coach Mark Fox said. “I thought we competed for significant segments in the game but we dug too big of a hole.”
–Field Level Media