While collecting 11 straight NCAA tournament appearances, the Cardinal's signature efforts all too often occurred just as the conference season got in full swing. And throughout those halcyon years, few performances were as dominating as what took place eight years ago this week in Tucson.
By the scoreboard, it was the second-worst home defeat in Lute Olson's long tenure with the Wildcats, but the final score fails to detail the game's one-sided nature. Fourth-ranked Stanford thoroughly hammered the No. 3 hosts, leading by as many as 20 points with four minutes left in regulation. Hordes of stunned 'Zona supporters couldn't find the McKale Center exit doors fast enough.
Consider the images the Card left the home folks: Chris Hernandez leading the attack in transition, Josh Childress swatting away a Salim Stoudamire jumper, then later slamming one home after a Nick Robinson blocked shot.
"We tried to match their intensity and not let them get any big plays, get the crowd hyped," Hernandez said after the game. "They thrive off their dunks and their fast breaks. If you can limit them and make them run offense, they're not as effective."
On the same court where the Wildcats won 71 straight games between 1987 and 1992, Stanford won for the fourth straight season. No other Wildcat opponent enjoyed such a streak during the Olson era.
The Cardinal held Arizona to just six fast break points. Five Stanford players scored in double figures, while Justin Davis, Matt Haryasz and Rob Little controlled the paint on defense. In the 26-0 start Stanford compiled that season, never did it play any better.
Jan. 12, 1989: Stanford 71, Washington 69
Ho-hum, Todd Lichti to the rescue.
The Chosen One's rebound and put back of a missed three-point attempt with three seconds left provided the winning margin for the visiting Cardinal. The heroics capped a comeback of massive proportions, with Stanford erasing a 14-point deficit in the second half before taking a 69-67 lead into the final seconds.
That's when things really got interesting. Huskies forward Dion Brown drew a foul with seven seconds to play. His two foul shots tied the score, but Stanford immediately went to work. A long inbounds pass made its way down the court to forward Andrew Vlahov, who hoisted up a most ill-advised shot 25 feet from the hoop. The ball clanged off the rim and made its way earthward.
"Everybody was watching to see what would happen," Lichti said.
Eric Reveno's tip kept the ball alive before Lichti, who scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half, cleaned up the mess. Not since 1978 had Stanford won in Seattle.
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