Washington (14-6, 3-5) had five scorers in double-figures, led by the 17 points of Nigel Williams-Goss. Mike Anderson scored 16 and Quevyn Winters 13, while Shawn Kemp tallied an even dozen and Darin Johnson 10 for the Huskies.
“Quick turnaround from what we experienced a couple of days ago,” Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar, referencing Upshaw’s dismissal for a violation of team rules. With Upshaw gone, that also meant nearly a double-double (11.1 points, 9.4 rebounds), as well as a record-setting effort for blocked shots, was gone as well.
The Huskies had one practice to completely overhaul what they wanted to do on offense and defense. “It would have been great if we could have had two or three practices to kind of make a couple of adjustments,” Romar added. “What was evident was, we had gotten away from really containing the basketball. They drove us several times to the rim and we’re accustomed to guys having a tough time once they got to the rim. But we don’t have that at that level, so we’ve got to tighten up defending the perimeter.
“We played with some different lineups. This was the first time; we haven’t even been able to play with those lineups in practice. We have a couple days before we play again and look forward to those days of practice to try to get a little better.”
Stanford took advantage early of the fact that Washington brought in a true freshman, Donaven Dorsey, for his first career start in place of Upshaw, and rolled out to a 16-4 lead with 13:34 remaining in the first half. The Huskies were able to trim that lead down to four with less than five minutes to half, but then the Cardinal finished the half on a 7-0 run to restore their 12-point margin, 36-24.
“They were able to distance themselves from us,” Romar said. “They did a good job that way. They shot the ball really well. We were going to try and play Nastic one-on-one and he did a good job of scoring in the first half. What we wanted to do was limit the rest of their guys - and I thought we did a pretty good job of that in the first half.
“We just had trouble putting the ball down early on. I think we missed three or four really close shots that could have set the tone right away but they didn’t go down.”
Washington tried man, they tried the zone they’ve been playing with a lot, they tried nearly every roster combination they had available - but none of it seemed to have too much effectiveness. Brown, who finished the first half with eight points, went to town early in the second half. Between the last two minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half, Stanford out-scored Washington 24-3, and that was the ball game.
It was only when the Huskies went to five guards - a lineup Romar couldn’t remember using since back in the Brandon Roy/Bobby Jones days - that they were able to pressure enough defensively and cause Stanford to get out of their comfort zone.
“That last stretch where we fought from 20 and cut it down to 10, we can play like that,” said Andrews. “Fast tempo, up in the lanes, denying, trying to play pressure defense - we have the quickness and the players able to do it.”
“There will be times where we will be able to do that,” Romar added. “That won’t be a starting lineup. Shawn Kemp played well tonight, did a good job. But there are times where you go with what you’ve got. At the end they did a terrific job of staying in there and still playing hard, forcing turnovers. It was great to see Darin Johnson and Quevyn Winters come in there and get some baskets and make some plays.”
Winters, the juco transfer from Iowa, was the one Husky who had the touch from outside, shooting 3-5 from deep.
“They’ve been doing that in practice,” Andrews said of Winters and Johnson. “It’s not a surprise to us when Quevyn comes in and knocks down threes or Darin goes to the hole. That’s something they’ve been doing regularly in practice. It was good to see them come in the game and do that.”
The Huskies have until Sunday to prepare for the California Golden Bears, but more importantly they have a few practices to start to iron out the kinks post-Upshaw. They will have to get back to their man principles more and deny penetration to the lane to help out Kemp. And they’ll need to collectively rebound to keep teams from bombarding them inside.
“We only had one day of practice to get ready and prepare,” Andrew said. “With losing a player you’re changing the whole momentum. We have a couple of days to prepare for Cal and get used to this new way we’re doing things, putting four guards out there on the perimeter. We’ve just got to adjust.”
“Rob didn’t play 40 minutes; we used to start games without Rob,” added Williams-Goss. “We know how to play. Obviously Rob’s a great player and we’re going to miss him. What we’re capable of doing, we can do going forward.”
Final Box Score:
Nigel Williams-Goss & Andrew Andrews