The Stanford Cardinal came back home looking to get that winning feeling back into their system after a dreary four-game road trip which saw them lose all four contests, three of them by less than double digits. Washington State was looking to capitalize after their season sweep of the Arizona Wildcats, defeating the men from Tucson in Pullman the previous Saturday. Unfortunately, the friendly confines and the undefeated record in Pac-10 play at home both were in serious jeopardy of coming to a crashing halt as an onslaught of turnovers and bad shooting, coupled with impeccable efficiency off those miscues by WSU, allowed the Cougars to open up a lead of 18 early in the second half. However, Stanford caught fire at just the right time, saving their best efforts on both sides of the court for the final 12 minutes of play, outscoring WSU 36-16, to get the miraculous win at Maples, 60-58, over the stunned Cougars. Stanford moves to 11-13 on the season, 5-7 in Pac-10 action, while Washington State drops to 15-9, 5-7 in conference play.
Landry Fields gave the Cardinal an early 2-0 lead before Washington State turned on the jets and burned the nets, getting three-pointers from Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson to take an 11-4 edge over the home team with 14:22 left in the first half. Fields stopped the run momentarily with a short jumper, but soon enough the Cougars were back off to the races, turning multiple turnovers into points, capped off by a Marcus Capers one-hand jam off a fast break opportunity, putting Washington State on top 19-6 just past the midway mark of the first 20 minutes of play. However, Stanford put together their best run of the game shortly after, rattling off eight straight points in 1:16, topped off by an Emmanuel Igbinosa three-point play to bring Stanford within six, 21-15, with 6:42 left in the first half.
Unfortunately, Washington State turned up the zone defense versus the Cardinal, even breaking out some full-court 1-2-2 after made baskets, to stop the home squad's momentum. Nikola Koprivica hit a three-pointer from the left wing to stop the run, then DeAngelo Casto and Thompson hit layups to bring the lead back out to 14. Thompson ended the 12-0 run over a 4:27 span with another jumper, giving WSU a 33-18 lead with 1:42 to go. Jeremy Green made a three-pointer from the right wing over the zone to kill the rally by the Cougars, but neither team could make a shot over the final 87 seconds of play.
At the half, Stanford had made 33% of their shots, including just 25% (2-8) from beyond the arc, along with just 33% (2-6) from the free throw line. Washington State was shooting 46% at the break, including 38% (3-8) from the three-point line, and was a perfect 4-4 at the charity stripe. The Cougars outrebounded the Cardinal 16-15, but the real difference between the two squads was in terms of turnovers and assists. Washington State dished out eight assists and turned the ball over just five times, while Stanford had tallied one lone assist, but nearly a dozen (11) turnovers. Washington State turned those 11 turnovers (including six steals) into 18 points, while Stanford did not get a point of the WSU miscues, a crushing blow that was directly resulted in the play seen on the court through 20 minutes of action at Maples.
Stanford was led by Green's six points on 2-7 shooting, with Fields netting five points and five rebounds for the half. Washington State was led by Casto's near double-double as the big man scored nine points on 4-5 shooting and seven rebounds in just 14 minutes of play. Thompson was next in line with eight.
The second half didn't start off as Stanford would have liked as Thompson made a long three-pointer from the right wing to double up the Cardinal just seconds into the second half. Drew Shiller countered for the Cardinal with his own right wing three-ball on the next possession. A Shiller layup off a beautiful pass on a rope from Fields cut it to 13, but WSU came right back with a Thompson shot to halt Stanford's thoughts of getting it to within 10 anytime soon. A Michael Harthun right baseline two made it 40-24, Cougars, just before the media timeout, further pushing the home team into a hole which was going to be difficult to climb out of if the current pace continued.
Another Harthun jumper gave WSU their biggest lead, 42-24, before Green made two free throws to try to keep Stanford in it. However, both teams went into a deep shooting funk as neither squad could make a shot for over two-and-a-half minutes before a runner in the lane with no time on the shot clock went in for the Cougars. Green managed to make another three-pointer from the left wing to give the crowd some hope, but with just over 11 minutes left in the game, Stanford needed to make some more shots and stop WSU any chance they got to get back into the ballgame. Coming out of the next media timeout, Stanford caught lightning in a bottle, using some pressure defense and good shooting to get back into the game.
Da'Veed Dildy hit a layup inside, Green hit a long jumper from the top-of-the-key, and Fields drove inside for a running layup and was fouled, bringing Stanford within single digits for the first time since midway through the first half. After a long stoppage brought about by a clock that was stuck for 24 seconds without anyone noticing, which was corrected before Fields made his free throw, Washington State found Thompson inside for a deuce and the harm. The made free throw made it 47-36, but Dildy made a tough layup to get the lead back to nine. Casto went inside for two, but Green hit a long three-pointer from the right corner, however, Thompson came off a screen and hit a right wing three, keeping Stanford at arm's length from the Cougars. Fields made his own long three-pointer from just left of straightaway and forced a miss by Casto. Igbinosa was open for a long trifecta from the right corner, but airballed the shot to cut the lead to five before the media timeout at 6:26 to go.
Stanford, though, wasn't done with their run as Fields went inside for a tough two, Igbinosa made two free throws after being fouled after a turnover by Washington State, and Shiller did the same on the next possession, bringing Stanford within 52-50 with 5:03 to go. Costa missed two free throws, giving Stanford a chance to tie or take the lead, but Igbinosa lost his dribble and fouled a Cougar trying to recover the ball. The Cardinal then survived two misses by WSU, but Fields threw the ball away. Thompson, though returned the favor, hitting Green near his leg, watching as the sophomore recovered the loose ball. On the ensuing possession, Fields found Green wide open at the right wing and the Texan drilled the shot to give Stanford their first lead since the opening basket. Thompson was long on his next attempt and Fields was fouled as he drove to the basket. The senior made both freebies to give Stanford a three-point lead, 55-52, with 2:04 left in the game. Casto was fouled by Dildy on the floor, but the big man would not miss this time, bringing WSU within one. Green, who was fouled coming off a screen away from the ball, made both of his charity stripe attempts, bringing Stanford back up three with 1:25 remaining. Moore missed on a drive inside, but Shiller was called for going over the back of Costa. Fortunately, Costa was long on the first attempt, providing Stanford an opportunity to get up more than a possession.
The Cardinal came down the court and essentially ran three plays and punted as the possession was a bit discombobulated, culminating in a long Green airball from about 23 feet at the left wing, leaving Stanford up three, 57-54, with 40.4 seconds left. The Cougars came down the court and set up a nice place to leave Xavier Thames open for a three-pointer. His shot was off the mark, but Koprivica swooped in from out of nowhere to get the putback with 27 seconds left in the game. After a 30-second timeout by WSU, Dildy was fouled as he tried to break out of the pressure. Dildy, a 50% shooter for the season, although only eight of 16 in 24 games of action, did exactly as his average dictated, making the first, but missing the second. The Cougars went right down the court with Moore going to the left of the basket. He drove so far inside that he drew a double from Stanford which turned out to be the wrong person to do that to as Moore found Costa inside wide open for a big two-hand jam with 12.9 seconds left and the squads tied at 58. Stanford, though, did not call timeout, a decision that head coach Johnny Dawkins said afterwards was one that he "went with my instincts," leaving the Cougars scrambling on defense. Green got a screen from Fields, leaving him open for a 17-footer from the left elbow that was nothing but net, giving Stanford a 60-58 lead with 4.6 seconds left. Washington State took their last timeout to plot their play, giving Moore the ball to run up the court to launch a three-pointer over Igbinosa just before the buzzer sounded. The shot was off the mark, giving the Cardinal the improbable victory.
After the contest, Dawkins admitted this game was a tale of two halves, much like it was in Pullman last month. He said his halftime talk this time "wasn't a loud one" as he was more disappointed in his team at that point. Down the stretch, the team "picked up full-court more" and "dug in defensively," facts not lost on this reporter and the crowd at hand. The defense and hot shooting allowed Stanford to pull off their biggest comeback since January 2007 when the Cardinal came back from 19 down versus UCLA, a memorable 75-68 win over a Top 10 Bruins team at Maples Pavilion.
For the game, Stanford finished shooting 48% from the field, including a blistering 63% in the second half, 41% from the three-point arc, and 68% at the free throw line, including 13-16 (81%) in the last 20 minutes. Washington State completed the game making 42% of their field goals, 29% beyond the three-point line, and 70% of their free throws. Stanford outrebounded the Cougars 32-27, but had just eight assists and 17 turnovers for the game, while WSU finished with 13 assists and 11 turnovers. Washington State turned those miscues into 22 points, but only got four of those in the second half. Stanford took the six turnovers it received and scored nine critical points with them down the stretch.
Green led the way with 24 points on 7-13 shooting and six rebounds, followed by Fields' 15 points and nine boards, narrowly missing another double-double. Shiller was next in line with nine points and five rebounds. Igbinosa scored five off the bench, but it was his defense on Moore in the second half which allowed Dawkins to stay with the walk-on senior for 22 minutes of the game. Washington State was led by Thompson's 19 on 7-16 shooting. Next in line was Casto with 15 points and 10 rebounds on 6-9 shooting from the field.
Stanford will look to exact another measure of revenge on the Washington
Huskies at 5:00pm on Saturday afternoon. The last time these two teams
played in Seattle, head coach Lorenzo Romar and his Huskies ran roughshot over
the Cardinal, blitzing Stanford by 33, the biggest loss in the history of the
series between the two storied programs. Stay tuned to The Bootleg for
another awesome, and what should be entertaining, "And 1" column from Kevo
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