Men: Stanford 85, Arizona State 65
By Michelle Smith
LOS ANGELES - Propelled by the best game in freshman Chasson Randle's young career, Stanford got off to an impressive start in the first round of the 2012 Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday night at the Staples Center.
The Cardinal had a 50-30 lead at halftime and made it hold up, defeating Arizona State, 85-65.
Stanford (21-10) moves on to face second-seeded Cal Thursday night at 6 p.m. The two teams split their regular-season rivalry series, the Cardinal winning just last Sunday at Maples Pavilion 75-70 to deny Cal the conference title.
Stanford heads into the rubber-match between the two teams having won three of four. Cal has lost two in a row heading into its tournament opener.
It was a huge game for Randle, the Cardinal freshman guard who had 27 points by halftime (a tournament record) and finished with a career-high 30. Randle was 7 of 11 from the floor - six of those shots made from beyond the arc - and 10 of 12 from the free-throw line.
"He came out focused," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said of Randle. "I thought his teammates were terrific. They did a great job of finding him, recognizing he had it going and they delivered the ball to him in some excellent places and he completed the plays."
Arizona State, which had won two in a row for the first time all season heading into the conference tournament, finishes its season with a 10-21 record, getting 13 points from Chanse Creekmur.
"Defensively, I thought we were on our heels early. They were very much the aggressor," said ASU coach Herb Sendek. "Obviously, we ran into a tremendous performance by a fantastic young player in Randle and we just were never able to regroup."
The Cardinal were eliminated in the first round of last year's tournament and looked intent not to let that happen again.
It was a hot offensive night for Stanford, which shot 47.3 percent for the game and drained 10 three-pointers. The Cardinal also held a 32-27 rebounding edge.
Dawkins said his team is "excited" to have another chance to face their rival in the Bears.
"We have to prepare ourselves to get ready to compete against them again," Dawkins said. "We know it will be a challenge, but it's one we are looking forward to."