The Cardinal rode a blistering stretch bridging both halves to an 84-74 win over Washington. Stanford (15-5, 6-2 Pac-12) had four players score in double figures, led by 23 points from Anthony Brown. Washington (14-6, 3-5) dropped a home game to the Cardinal for the first time since 2008.
“It feels good to get a win here,” Cardinal head coach Johnny Dawkins admitted during his postgame interview on the Cardinal Sports Network. “As a competitor, whenever you haven’t had a win in a certain place for an extended period of time, that can be difficult. But we just tried to focus on the importance of winning the game, not where we were [playing it]. That was our approach, and I thought our kids handled it very well.”
The Huskies went into the game undermanned, and against the Cardinal it cost them dearly. On Monday, the school announced that it had dismissed center Robert Upshaw for unspecified violations of team rules. Upshaw was the nation’s leading shot blocker, and an offense-altering presence for the Huskies. With Upshaw gone, and with 6-foot-10 forward Jernard Jarreau already on the shelf with a knee injury, the Huskies’ frontline was severely shorthanded.
Washington’s woes were Stefan Nastic’s gain. Before fouling out with 5:52 left, Nastic owned the paint on both ends of the floor. He scored 15 points in the first half, hitting seven of eight shots. Neither Shawn Kemp, Jr. nor Gilles Diericx were a match for Nastic, as they both couldn’t stop the Stanford big man’s moves in the post. Nastic also showed a touch around the basket that he had struggled with at other points this season.
“I just tried to keep it simple within the team offense, be myself, and take the reads when they’re there,” Nastic told the Cardinal Sports Network. “[Kemp’s] a great player, and you have to respect him as well, but you have to do what you have to do.”
“Stefan does a really good job in the low post when we get him the basketball,” Dawkins added. “Tonight, our guys did a good job of looking for him, and he did a good job of demanding the ball. He wanted it, and he made something happen when he got it. That really balanced out our offense.”
Nastic finished with 17 points. Chasson Randle scored a quiet 20 points while adding five rebounds and five assists. Marcus Allen did what Marcus Allen does: drive to the hoop, bring energy on defense, and finish with 12 points.
The Huskies seemed shellshocked from the loss of their big man from the start of Wednesday night’s game, and the Cardinal took advantage. While Washington committed five early turnovers, Stanford built a 16-4 lead. Then, after surviving a brief Husky flurry that cut the lead to four points with 3:44 left, Stanford finished the half on a 12-4 run. The Card led 36-24 heading into halftime.
Stanford did not let up as the second half began, rolling up a 17-3 run. Along the way, they did their best work while Nastic sat on the bench with three fouls. Brown got hot beyond the arc, Marcus Allen drove to the cup repeatedly, and Stanford led by as much as 26 points before the Huskies recovered. The game’s final ten minutes were more helter-skelter than the Cardinal would have liked, but the Huskies were in too deep of a hole to climb out completely.
The Cardinal welcomed back Reid Travis, who had missed Stanford’s previous eight games with a stress reaction in his thigh. Travis participated in shoot-around and was cleared for action, but did not play.
After sweeping the Huskies, Stanford looks to do the same to Washington State (9-10, 3-4 Pac-12; #122 RPI) on Saturday. Tipoff from Pullman is at 5:30 p.m. The Cougars dropped both games of the Mountain swing last week, and will host Cal on Thursday.********** ********** **********
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