Cougars Flip Script on Cardinal

Stanford can't pull off the Washington road sweep, as the Cougars clip the Cardinal in Pullman.

In Seattle on Wednesday night, Stanford played lights-out for thirty minutes, but fell asleep for the final ten. In Pullman on Saturday, Stanford was nearly flawless for the first ten minutes. Then, the final thirty minutes happened.

Washington State denied Stanford a third straight win, beating the Cardinal 89-88. Stanford (15-6, 6-3 Pac-12) coughed up a 14-point first-half lead, as Washington State (10-11, 4-5 Pac-12) got hot and stayed hot at the right moments.

The Cardinal also lost a chance for its first road sweep in conference play since February 2010. Chasson Randle tied a career-high with 33 points, while Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic each added ten points.

“I’m disappointed at how we defended,” Johnny Dawkins glumly told the Cardinal Sports Network following the game. “Individually guys are doing their jobs, but we haven’t defended well as a team of late.”

The 89 points allowed by Stanford matched a season-worst mark. For the Cougars, DaVonté Lacy—all but invisible when Washington State met Stanford four weeks ago—erupted for 19 second-half points en route to a 25-point night.

Randle took the Cardinal on his back, hitting a three, driving baseline for a reverse scooper, and making another three—this one from Moscow (Idaho)—to tie the game at 60 with 10:18 to go. But Stanford failed to make a field goal until Randle hit a runner with 3:27 left.

By that point, Lacy had sparked the Cougars to a 78-70 lead. With 1:47 left, Washington State was ahead, 84-76. Here, things began to get a little tense. Dorian Pickens connected on a layup, missed a free throw, but was bailed out by Rosco Allen, who rebounded the miss, then hit a big three. 84-81, Cougars with 1:29 left.

Anthony Brown made two free throws, and the Card were down by just one point with 52 seconds left. After Lacy made just one of two free throws with 36 seconds to go to make it an 85-83 score, Stanford had a chance to tie or take the lead.

Instead, the Cougars cut off Randle’s lane, forcing him to dish to Rosco Allen. Allen drove to the hoop early in the shot clock, missed a tough scooper, and failed to draw the foul with 21 seconds left. The Cougars hit four more free throws, and even though Dorian Pickens’ desperation three-pointer splashed through at the buzzer, it wasn’t enough.

Randle took over the game for Stanford, partly out of design, but mostly because no one else seemed ready, willing, or able to help pull the weight. Anthony Brown disappeared, missing every shot he took in the second half. Stefan Nastic spent much of the second half on the bench with foul trouble. And the Cardinal bench, so critical in Stanford’s wins this season, was nearly invisible during this loss.

“He needs help,” Dawkins said of Randle. “One man’s not gonna win a game for you. We rode him pretty heavily in the second half. I thought we had too many guys watching Chasson score. If you’re not gonna score, you’d better defend. You’d better contribute. They can’t be spectators.”

Unlike the first meeting with the Cougars on January 2, Stanford started the game red-hot. Anthony Brown, Marcus Allen, and Rosco Allen hit threes, while Nastic got buckets in the paint. The Cardinal burst out to a 17-5 lead, and stretched it to a 29-15 lead midway through the first half. Stanford hit six of its first eight shots, and five of its first six three-pointers.

But things began to change after ten minutes. Stanford missed six straight three-point attempts to close out the half. Meanwhile, the Cougars put together a 15-3 run, culminated by a three-pointer by DaVonté Lacy that put Washington State ahead, 37-36. Que Johnson was big for the Cougars too, throwing down a pair of rim-rocking dunks and busting a pair of treys. Incredibly, Washington State held a 42-41 halftime lead.

Reid Travis finally saw his first action since suffering the stress fracture in his thigh that cost him nine games. Travis entered the game with 12:53 left in the first half, scored five points, and played 13 minutes.

Asked for his assessment of Travis’ night, Dawkins said, “I thought he did fine. He made some mistakes defensively, but he played with energy, and he played hard. He’ll only get better from this experience.”

Stanford returns to Maples Pavilion to host the Los Angeles schools next week. On Thursday, the Cardinal will try to avenge their double-overtime loss to UCLA. The weekend closes with a Sunday evening meeting with USC.

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