Stanford played what was easily its best game of the season tonight in Maples Pavilion, and took down the 8-point favorite Washington Huskies, 58-56. Josh Owens’s put-back with just under 30 seconds left in the game put Stanford ahead by two, and Washington was unable to match the Card, despite the Huskies’ 30 seconds to shoot, 2 free throws, and potentially buzzer-beating jump shot that would have sent the game to overtime in a raucous Maples.
Stanford blew a one-point halftime lead to trail Washington for the vast majority of the second half, but pulled ahead with 3:49 to play and never trailed again. Owens did not just finish off the game for the Cardinal; the junior center was the the best man on the court all night. His 14 points (including one monster slam in the first half) led all Cardinal scorers, and Owens put in another 2 blocks and 5 rebounds. Even with Jeremy Green’s mediocre scoring night (12 points) the Card got 11 points from Dwight Powell, 9 from Jarrett Mann, and 8 from Anthony Brown in the team’s most well-rounded point distribution of the season.
Husky sharpshooting forward Justin Holiday led all scorers with 15 points, 9 of which came from three (3/7 from downtown). Washington, who has long been considered the conference favorite and won the PAC-10 last season, could not capitalize on a soft Cardinal interior defense, and instead relied on the fast break and spot-up threes. Although their offensive strategy proved fruitful for portions of the game (namely in the beginning of the second half) their outside shooters went cold when the Huskies most needed points.
Stanford also made the most of Washington’s mistakes. The Cardinal had more steals (6) and blocks (3) than Washington, and committed 3 fewer turnovers. The Card continue their poor shooting (41% from the field, 18% from three, 67% from the line) but kept Washington to even worse shooting statistics (36%, 31%, 50%).
Johnny Dawkins seems to have settled on a rotation, which begins with starters Aaron Bright, Mann, Green, Powell, and Owens; Jack Trotter, Gabriel Harris, Anthony Brown, and Josh Huestis come off the bench. Andrew Zimmerman, despite a strong start to the year, has not played significant minutes since the Yale game in December.
Worth checking out: Percy Allen of the Seattle Times has found some telling stats about the Cardinal personnel. For instance, Stanford is 18-11 when Green shoots 14 or fewer shots, and 6-11 when he takes 15 or more; Aaron Bright is now 4-1 as a starting point guard.
Stanford moves to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in the PAC-10. That’s good for a second-place tie with Arizona in the conference standings. Washington falls to 12-4 overall and 4-1 in the conference, keeping them .5 game ahead of both the Cardinal and the Wildcats.
Stanford will host Washington State (12-5, 2-3) in Maples Pavilion on Saturday at 5:00 PM Pacific.