It's the morning following another frustrating loss, and the Arizona State Sun Devils are still looking for answers.
ASU, traveling to Stanford in search of back-to-back Pac-12 wins for the first time all season, fell short 79-76 to the Cardinal in a game that provided many ups and downs to last Arizona State until the Monday road test at USC.
The Sun Devils, trailing by 15 points in the second half, ultimately battled back in a contest that looked to be heading to overtime.
However, Sun Devils forward Jalen Graham fouled Stanford's three-point shooter, forward Brandon Angel, with one second left on the clock in a tied game.
Angel knocked down all three of his free-throw attempts to put away any hope of a ASU victory.
Following the buzzer, head coach Bobby Hurley offered some words of advice for two officials on the court, which probably shouldn't be repeated here. Guard Jay Heath was also spotted bumping an official following the game, which may lead to discipline from the Pac-12.
It was a loss where the court felt tilted in favor of Stanford, as the Cardinal attempted a mind-blowing 41 free throws, while Arizona State attempted only nine.
In a game that featured 24 lead changes (14 in the second half), the Sun Devils once again fought their way through a tough game.
That's been the story of ASU's season thus far: Tough sledding. Arizona State, now 6-10 on the season, have seen 10 of their 16 games finish within three possessions. Six of their last eight games have been decided by five points or fewer.
The loss is even more surprising considering how well ASU shot the ball, converting 52.5% of their attempts Saturday.
Saturday was indeed a perfect microcosm of ASU's season thus far, as the final score didn't reflect how well Arizona State battled and clawed their way back despite numerous factors working against them.
The idea behind Arizona State's early slate of tough games was to have the team battle-tested for a tough Pac-12 schedule, and perhaps pay dividends in a potential bid for the NCAA tournament.
However, while the Sun Devils have seen their share of close games fall in their favor, it feels as if ASU has caught the short end of the stick too often.
In a season where the Sun Devils have largely been without star forward Marcus Bagley due to a knee injury, their canceled/postponed games (mostly due to COVID) have also thrown ASU's train off the tracks more than once.
The season is far from over, as the Sun Devils have played only six Pac-12 games with nearly six weeks of action remaining before the conference tournament in early March.
However, Arizona State knows it needs to start stacking wins in order to make a serious push for a solid run in the Pac-12 tournament and possibly further.
Saturday's game against Stanford was a good reminder of how far the Sun Devils have come, while also showcasing that Arizona State perhaps isn't quite done with its growing pains of overcoming adversity.