A five-minute stretch late in the first half proved costly for the Stanford men's basketball team Thursday night and that could have implications on its postseason plans.
Dorian Pickens came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points but it wasn't enough as the Cardinal dropped a disappointing, 74-64, decision to host Arizona State in a Pac-12 Conference game.
Stanford (15-13, 8-9 Pac-12) has one game remaining before the conference tournament opens in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The Cardinal travels to Arizona for a contest at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"We gave them a lot of momentum heading into halftime," Pickens said. "We turned the ball over and they made big plays. We have to bounce back next game."
Pickens hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 16 with 8:19 remaining to play in the first half. Stanford was still within 25-21 a little less than three minutes later before things suddenly went the ay of the Sun Devils.
Arizona State outscored the Cardinal, 12-1, over the final 3:13 of the half to take a 37-22 advantage at halftime.
The culprit? Turnovers, as in five of Stanford's 10 first-half turnovers occurring in the final 3:15 of the half.
"That was a tough stretch for us," Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said. "They got out and made some easy baskets that gave them momentum. It was very disappointing the way we took care of the basketball."
Stanford still has a slight chance to finish in a sixth-place tie, though that may lead to another confrontation with the Sun Devils in the opening round of the tournament.
There are several important games on the docket Saturday. Stanford could claim another nice win in Tucson, UCLA needs a win over Oregon State to help itself qualify for the postseason and Oregon can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win over USC.
Should all three games end that way, the Cardinal would finish in a three-way tie sixth. Stanford owns victories over four of the seven teams currently ahead of it in the standings. The Cardinal could really use a signature road win though.
Stanford played with starting point guard Christian Sanders sitting on the bench in street clothes. He has been suspended indefinitely for violating a team rule. Dawkins did not commit to a starting point guard for the Wildcats.
"It's tough without him but he was leading from the bench," Pickens said. "So were all the seniors."
Sanders would have helped against the Sun Devils pressure late in the first half.
"They felt his absence," Dawkins said. "He's a starter for us and there was a little disruption from it."
Stanford fell behind by as many as 21 in the second half and then closed to within eight, 69-61, when Rosco Allen nailed a 3-pointer with 1:27 left. That's as close as it would get.
Allen had 14 points and nine rebounds while Michael Humphrey went for 14 points.
Arizona State outscored the Cardinal, 16-0, in second-chance points and 25-14 in points off turnovers.