Stanford Survives Huskies

With the game on the line, the Card finally come through. Stanford wins a thriller in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.

So many times during Stanford’s spin, the Card were betrayed by late-game situations. A missed shot here. A turnover there. No matter what, the Card suffered from Murphy’s Law when the game was on the line.

On Wednesday night at the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, with the game’s final seconds ticking down, Stanford gambled and finally won.

Chasson Randle’s three-pointer with three seconds left pointed the way to a 71-69 Stanford win over Washington. The result gave No. 6-seed Stanford (19-12, 9-9 Pac-12; RPI #58) a third win over the No. 11-seed Huskies this season, catapulting the Cardinal to a second-round matchup with No. 3-seed Utah.

“He couldn’t have picked a better time for one to go in,” Johnny Dawkins said of Randle’s game-winner on the Cardinal Sports Network. “That’s what March Madness is all about. He took it with conviction, like he takes all of his shots. It was great to see it go down. But the play doesn’t happen if Marcus doesn’t step up and rebound the way he did.”

More on Marcus Allen’s rebound in a second. Stefan Nastic continued to be the Huskies' boogeyman, leading Stanford with 21 points. Anthony Brown added 16, and Reid Travis muscled his way to 14 points. Marcus Allen grabbed a team-high nine boards, none more critical than his final one. Washington (16-15, 5-13; RPI #113) lost despite making 13 three-pointers.

Randle’s three was the climax of a wild game-ending sequence. With 29 seconds left and Stanford down 69-68, the Huskies missed a free throw. Rosco Allen grabbed the rebound, then took a jumpshot with eight seconds left. It missed, but Marcus Allen flew in from out of nowhere, snatched the rebound, and left it to Randle to save the day.

“Rosco got a good shot, and I just crashed opposite, like normal,” Las Vegas native Marcus Allen described to the Cardinal Sports Network. “I got a good bounce, and it came to my hands. I knew [Chasson] was coming back the other way, so I was like, ‘let it fly.’ And he hit it.”

The shot capped a fine defensive effort down the stretch from Stanford, who held the Huskies scoreless over the game’s final 3:25. This came after Washington made 12 of its first 15 shots in the second half, including four three-pointers.

But when Nigel Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews threatened to personally lead the Huskies to victory, the Card defense rose up, led by Reid Travis. With Michael Humphrey sidelined by a sprained ankle, Travis pushed Washington around, created turnovers on defense, and finished plays on offense.

“Reid is a winner,” Dawkins beamed. “I can remember him in the huddle saying, ‘we are not losing.’ That sent chills down my spine. Here’s a freshman saying ‘we are not gonna lose!’ and looking at guys with passion. I was like, ‘yes!’”

“I didn’t see anyone who could man up with Reid in there,” Marcus Allen added. “The middle was open, and Reid took advantage. I’m very proud of him.”

A dunk by Travis put Stanford ahead, 64-63 with 4:35 to go. But Williams-Goss busted a three to give Washington the lead back. Then Anthony Brown snuck behind the Huskies, took the long pass, and blew a wide-open dunk. Worse, the Huskies immediately cashed in, as Jernard Jarreau knocked down another three, giving Washington a 69-64 lead with 3:25 to play.

The Huskies did not score another point. Nastic scored two buckets to make it a 69-68 game, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.

In the first half, both teams took turns making runs and taking the lead. Washington erased a 7-2 Stanford lead with 6-0 run. The Cardinal answered with a 10-3 surge, with Rosco Allen scoring two key buckets. After an 8-0 Husky run restored Washington’s lead, Stefan Nastic put on a jump-hook clinic, hitting four straight to put Stanford back on top.

Still, after all the ebbs and flows, the game was tied at 32 at the half. Nastic had 11 points, but the Card hit only two of eleven three-pointers. Meanwhile, Washington hit six of nine from beyond the arc, three coming from someone named Jack Kingma.

“To win a game like that, it really shows what our team is made of,” Marcus Allen exhaled. “Everyone came in, we celebrated for a bit, and then it was on to the next play. Quick turnaround tomorrow, and we’re ready to get back out there.”

Indeed, Stanford’s reward for victory is a second-round matchup with Utah (23-7, 13-5; AP #17) The Utes handled the Cardinal, 75-59 on February 12. Thursday’s tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. The winner meets the Oregon/Colorado winner in the Pac-12 semifinal.

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