ASU Men's B-Ball in Freefall as Season Winds Down

The less said about the ASU men's basketball team's effort against an average Stanford team in last night's loss at Wells Fargo Arena, the better.

Hard to believe it's been just a month since the Sun Devils humilated the Cardinal by 30 points up in Palo Alto, California.

This time, Stanford took it to the home boys from the opening tip, showing more athleticism and, more important, far more heart than the 21st-ranked (and rapidly fading) locals.

It was new head coach Johnny Dawkins' first conference road win this season, and the first win for Stanford out of the state of California since last December 14.

A onetime great player at Duke, Dawkins looks much the same these days as he did in the photo to the left, when he played for the Sixers. 

But I gotta tell ya: The guy whines at the officials all game long. Non-stop. Guess he learned at the feet of the master, Coach K, Duke's Mike Kryschevski.

Sitting in the gym last night was an unfortunate throwback to a different era, when Sun Devils fans usually were listless and uninvolved (except when UA was in town), and the players often responded accordingly.

No sense of urgency, no real intensity (except, perhaps, from Jeff Pendergraph, who took all of four shots from the field during the game) added up to a loss that may cost ASU a decent seed at the upcoming NCAA tourney.

That's unless the Devils can beat Cal tomorrow afternoon and win a game or two at next week's Pac-10 tourney out in Los Angeles.

And to think that just a week ago, ASU was playing in Washington for first place in the league. Oh, well.

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin