A spirited comeback in the second half fell short as Stanford opened Pac-12 Conference play with a 98-93 loss against Arizona State at Maples Pavilion.
The Cardinal (8-5, 0-1 Pac-12) faced a 52-39 deficit at halftime against the visiting Sun Devils (8-6, 1-0), who shot 54 percent (13-24) from beyond the arc.
"I believe Marcus Sheffield should feel positive about how he did but I think he is hurting about the loss just like everyone else," Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. "For us to be a very good team we have to have a more balanced attack offensively. It is a positive for us he had a good game and now we hope to have him as a consistent offensive threat. Having multiple perimeter threats helps us on the interior as well."
Reid Travis added 21 points and eight rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting, while senior Christian Sanders had 13 points and a game-high eight assists. Dorian Pickens finished with 18 points for the Cardinal.
"We are always going to fight and crawl our way back in, as you can see in the second half, but when you dig yourself that big of a hole especially in our conference, it is tough to erase a double-digit deficit," Travis said. "Going forward we cannot put ourselves in a hole like that."
Stanford shot 53.3 percent from the field, but missed 11 free throws (21-31) and was out-rebounded by Arizona State, 35-25.
"We can absolutely rebound from this, but I take no consolation," Haase said. "I am not going to hang my head and act like woe is me. We are going to get to work and find out what the solutions are and work until they are figured out."
Stanford returns to the hardwood on Sunday when it hosts Arizona at 5 p.m