TEMPE — Suddenly, the gang that couldn't shoot straight can't miss.
Stanford made 10 more 3-point baskets and held off a furious late charge by Arizona State to escape with a 62-59 win Saturday in front of 8,459 fans at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Cardinal (15-9, 6-5) moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-12 at the expense of the Sun Devils (18-6, 7-4), who lost for just the third time in 17 home games.
It was wild at the finish — including a last-second Stanford inbounds pass that caromed off the scoreboard 25 feet above center court — but the Cardinal built a 15-point cushion on the strength of its now vibrant perimeter game.
“We try to shoot with confidence,” said Dwight Powell, who led Stanford with 22 points and 10 rebounds and made both of his attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.
Stanford made nine of its first 13 3-pointers and was 10 for 18 (55.6 percent) from deep. The Cardinal is shooting 52.7 percent from the arc the pass five games, and 45.1 percent in conference play.
ASU coach Herb Sendek said Stanford can “absolutely” be a force in the Pac-12 the rest of the way.
“They're a really good basketball team,” he said. “They present some real matchup problems.”
It didn't look so pretty just six weeks ago. Stanford ranked last among Pac-12 teams in 3-point accuracy through the nonconference schedule.
“Guys kind of let it get in their heads,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “We told them, 'Keep taking your shots.' It was just a matter of them seeing it go in.”
No one has shot better than 6-foot-10 junior John Gage, who was 3 for 4 from 3-point distance against the Sun Devils, scoring 11 points off the bench.
He is converting an astonishing 68 percent (17 for 25) over the past seven games.
“I tell myself I can only shoot the ball, I can't control if it goes in,” Gage said. “That takes a lot of the mental pressure off me.”