Wildcats' Weapons Sink Stanford

The Cardinal don't have enough to knock off Arizona in Tucson.

Stanford knew Tucson would be a huge test to finish the regular season. But Arizona had all the answers.

The Cardinal dropped a 91-69 decision to the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon. Stanford (18-12, 9-9 Pac-12; RPI #64) closed the regular season with seven losses in its final ten games, and five straight losses on the road. Chasson Randle led with 16 points. Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic added 14 points each.

Arizona (28-3, 16-2; AP #5) now owns an eleven-game winning streak over Stanford. The Wildcats came at the Card in waves, and by the middle of the second half, Stanford – already short-handed without Michael Humphrey (ankle) – was powerless to do much about it. Five Wildcats scored in double figures, T.J. McConnell dished 11 assists, and Arizona shot nearly 54% for the game.

The key sequence came late in the first half. Stanford had chipped Arizona’s lead from 13 points down to two with less than seven minutes to go. But foul trouble sent Anthony Brown, Reid Travis, and Stefan Nastic to the bench, and the Wildcats took advantage with a 13-0 run. Arizona guard Gabe York did what he does best: stick the Cardinal with dagger threes. His second such shot came at the buzzer, punctuated an overwhelming sequence, and gave Arizona a 47-31 halftime lead.

Stanford’s first-half foul trouble was particularly vexing to Johnny Dawkins. “Our guys need to know their value,” the coach told the Cardinal Sports Network after the game. “That’s the second game in a row where we have our key players out toward the end of the half, and a close game balloons to a double-digit lead. We can’t have that.”

The Wildcats wasted little time establishing control of the game, working to a 21-8 lead after eight minutes of play. Back-to-back three pointers by Randle and Rosco Allen woke up the Cardinal, and those two did much of the scoring as Stanford whittled Arizona’s lead to 29-27 with 6:41 left.

But from there, it was all Wildcats. The second half devolved into a series of circus plays by Arizona on both ends of the floor, punctuated by occasional technical fouls by both teams in a chippy contest. A brief flicker by Stanford closed Arizona’s lead to 12 points with 13 minutes left, but the Card got no closer. The Wildcats lead ballooned to 25 points before the final margin.

The usual culprits did Stanford in: a failure to make layups, defensive lapses, and fouls. Arizona also grabbed 28 defensive rebounds, and dominated Stanford in the paint.

The game was not completely devoid of bright spots for the Cardinal. Rosco Allen finally cracked the scoring column in his third game back from injury, scoring ten points. “That was huge for us,” said Dawkins. “Rosco is rounding into shape and starting to get his timing back. I was really proud of him. When we were reeling in the first half, we inserted him and he stepped up and made some big shots for us. That really helped us.”

Whether Michael Humphrey will be ready to go for the Pac-21 Tournament is still a mystery. Humphrey’s sprained ankle was re-evaluated on Friday night, but was not deemed healthy enough to play against the Wildcats.

Stanford’s loss, coupled with Arizona State’s win over California, means that the Cardinal are the No. 6 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. Stanford will face No. 11 seed Washington, whom the Cardinal swept during the regular season. Tipoff on Wednesday is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. The winner faces No. 3 seed Utah on Thursday night.

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