- Associated Press - Thursday, February 27, 2014

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - After an empty-handed trip to Colorado and Utah, Arizona State needed to bounce back with just four games left to impress the selection committee.

A return to the style that put the Sun Devils in the thick of the Pac-12 race - and in consideration for the field of 68 in March - helped Arizona State rebound from back-to-back losses.

Jahii Carson scored 26 points - 23 in the second half - and Arizona State held off Stanford 76-64 Wednesday night, snapping the Cardinal’s three-game winning streak.

“I think we got back to playing our style of basketball, which is up tempo,” said Carson, the fifth-leading scorer in the Pac-12. “When we played Colorado and Utah, we didn’t have very many fast-break points, which doesn’t help fuel our offense. Tonight we got out and played great defense, got rebounds and got out in transition and whenever we do that, we are tough to beat.”

With the win, the Sun Devils (20-8, 9-6 Pac-12) move into a four-way tie for third in the Pac-12 with three games to play. California, after its loss earlier Wednesday to No. 3 Arizona, Stanford and Colorado are all 9-6 in conference play.

“We definitely knew it was a must win game,” Carson said. “We tried to knock the pressure off of our backs but just going out there and have fun.”

The Cardinal, which came into the game committing the second-fewest turnovers in the conference, turned the ball over on its first three possessions, allowing the Sun Devils to score on each to take an 8-0 lead. Stanford ended up with 10 first-half turnovers that led to 17 Arizona State points. Stanford finished with 15 turnovers.

“It’s a tough loss for us,” said Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins. “We didn’t value the basketball. We turned it over too many times and that was a big factor in us not playing as well as we needed to.”

Jermaine Marshall added 16 points, including 12 during a key 10-minute stretch of the first half, as Arizona State opened up a 10-point lead and never looked back.

“I thought our guys did a really good job of zeroing in, focusing and playing with great purpose on defense,” Arizona State coach Herb Sendek.

Anthony Brown led Stanford (18-9, 9-6) with 21 points and Chasson Randle made 6 of 9 shots in the first half, but only scored two points in the second half, finishing with 17 points before fouling out with 7:11 left.

“We had a real tough start, turned the ball over 10 times in the first half, which is not the recipe for winning,” Brown said. “Our defense just wasn’t there tonight, carried over to our offense, turnovers. They played harder than us in the first 20 minutes. We picked it up for a small stretch but by that time it was too late.”

The Cardinal never got closer than nine in the second half.

“I think our guys sensed the importance of the game tonight and I thought they were really connected on both ends of the floor,” Sendek said.

Stanford missed 11 of its first 15 shots and trailed 34-19 with 3:17 left. Arizona State led 39-29 at the break. The Sun Devils made 10 of 18 from beyond the arc.

The Cardinal came into the game having won three straight, including a win over then-No. 25 UCLA on Saturday. Stanford also had won five of six before Wednesday.

In the first half, Josh Huestis blocked three shots, including two against Jordan Bachynski, who is seven inches taller at 7-foot-2. Bachynski, the nation’s leading shot-blocker, did not have a block in the first half after picking up two fouls in the first 10 minutes.

Stanford beat Arizona State 76-70 on Feb. 1 at home.

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