“We got the Stanford team today that everyone predicted was going to finish in the top half of the conference with 11 returning veteran players … it isn’t so much about us as I thought they were at a whole different level,” Ernie Kent told Matt Chazanow of the Cougar Radio Network. “That’s not the team we’ve been seeing on tape. I don’t think that’s the team that showed up and played some of their previous games.”
Stanford might have thought the same of a WSU team that seemed to be on an upswing. The Cardinal led by 25 points at the half and by as many as 36 late in the second.
Stanford (9-8, 1-4 Pac-12) took full advantage of the Washington State (9-7, 2-2) defensive lapses from start to finish, shooting over 50 percent from the floor in both halves and 54.8 percent for the game. The Cougars shot 32 percent on the night.
Kent said more than once after the loss how the Cardinal was by far the more physical team. The rebounding stats really bore that out, with Stanford holding a 43-25 edge overall, and 35-20 on the defensive end and 8-5 on the offensive glass. Stanford dominated WSU in the paint, scoring 46 points to the Cougs’ 20.
“They beat us in every aspect, they kicked us, they really did. The key thing for us is how we respond, how we bounce back … I fully expect us to bounce back and fight,” said Kent.
WSU true freshman point guard Malachi Flynn was held scoreless in 26 minutes, going 0-9 from the field.
“I think he’s worn down a little bit and that’s why I’ve taken him off the ball and that’s why I rested him a little bit tonight, we’ve got to be careful with him. Typically, every single freshman I’ve ever coached hits the wall sometime in January and then they climb back over it. He’s hitting that wall – he doesn’t realize it, but he is, and we’ll bring him back and get him through that,” said Kent.
Up next, WSU at Cal on Saturday (1 pm, Pac-12 Networks). Cal beat Washington 69-59 on Thursday to move to 12-5 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
“We need to make some corrections before we play again,” said Kent.