Stanford found itself in a familiar situation on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion: overtime. But this time the Cardinal could not pull off what had become a familiar result: a win.
The Card dropped an 86-81 double overtime loss to the UCLA Bruins. Despite leading by 14 in the second half, being given chances to win at the end of regulation and the end of the first overtime, and watching their opponent miss 15 free throws, Stanford (10-4, 2-1 Pac-12; AP #34) could not get its fifth straight win.
For the third time this season, the Cardinal went to overtime. This time, unlike previous outcomes against Texas and Washington, Stanford could not close the deal in extra periods. With the win, UCLA (9-7, 1-2; RPI #110) ended a five-game skid.
Chasson Randle led all scorers with 32 points, playing 49 of a possible 50 minutes. Anthony Brown scored 21 points, and Rosco Allen added 14 points off the bench. But when it mattered most, the game belonged to UCLA forward Kevon Looney (27 points, 19 rebounds) and Bruin center Tony Parker (22 points, 12 rebounds).
The game was in Stanford’s hands. Tied at 66 with time running out in regulation, Randle couldn’t convert a right-handed scooper with six seconds left. UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton grabbed the rebound, but traveled while trying to get clear of the traffic around the hoop. The door was open for the Card to decide things, but Brown’s contested jumper was no good at the buzzer.
The more damaging sequence closed out the first overtime period. Bryce Alford drained a tough three from the corner with 6.3 seconds left, putting the Bruins ahead, 76-75. But Randle drove quickly to the other end, drew Alford’s fifth foul of the night, and went to the line for two shots with 2.3 seconds to go. Randle—a 93% free throw shooter who had already missed twice in the game—made the equalizer, but missed the go-ahead shot. In double overtime, Looney and Parker took over, and the Card could not keep up.
For much of the game, it didn’t seem like things were heading towards any sort of drama. After putting together a 12-0 run to take a 61-47 lead, the Cardinal were in total command midway through the second half. From there, the lid formed on the basket for Stanford. The Card hit just one shot from the floor for the rest of regulation, and it came with 8:40 left. Stanford went scoreless for 5:49 while Looney led the previously listless Bruins back from the brink.
While UCLA fans were struggling to beat the traffic for the television-friendly 6 p.m. tipoff, the Bruins were beginning the game with purpose. Led by Tony Parker, they outhustled and outplayed Stanford for much of the first half. The Cardinal hit just four of their first 13 shots.
Things started to change after Rosco Allen came off the bench to give Stanford a lift with two free throws and two big three-pointers. Those shots put the Card in striking distance, down 22-19 with inside nine minutes left. Then, Anthony Brown took over, scoring 11 of the Card’s next 13 points. Stanford held a 37-32 halftime lead.
On the night, Stanford hit more shots from three-point land (a school record-tying 15) than it did inside the arc (11). Robert Cartwright started for the Cardinal, marking Johnny Dawkins’ fifth different starting lineup this season.
After playing two extra periods, Stanford will have to wait an extra day to avenge the loss, as they head to USC for a 7 p.m. Sunday tipoff. The Trojans (9-6, 1-2; RPI #103) rolled over Cal on Wednesday night, beating the Bears, 72-57.********** ********** **********
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