The Stanford men’s basketball team came up just short against Washington State (13-5, 3-3 Pac-10) on Saturday night, suffering its first home defeat of the season, 61-58, after a Jeremy Green desperation three-pointer to force the game into overtime bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
The Card (10-6, 3-2) was unable to contain Cougar junior guards Klay Thompson and Faisal Aden, who combined for 41 points.
Thompson, who entered the game averaging a conference-best 23.1 points per game, was held in check in the first half due to defensive pressure by Stanford and early foul trouble—however, he became more aggressive in the second period and proved too difficult to handle. Aden carried the Cougars’ offense in the first half, as the Stanford defense struggled to keep up with his quickness.
“I thought they outplayed us,” said Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins. “They gave a winning effort and won the game. I thought Klay Thompson and Faisal Aden really stepped up and gave some good contributions to their team.
“We all learn from our losses, and unfortunately, we took one tonight,” he added.
The Card was the dominant team in the first half, led by the play of redshirt junior forward Josh Owens and freshman forward Dwight Powell. Owens displayed strong post moves and created ample scoring opportunities for himself off the offensive glass, while Powell dominated the boards on both ends of the floor.
Both gave the Card momentum going into halftime—Owens with a thunderous dunk over the Cougars’ DeAngelo Casto, and Powell by drawing contact on a tough shot in the lane for a three-point play in the period’s final seconds.
Stanford’s first-half momentum was quickly extinguished as the Cougars went on a 10-1 run—including two threes from a rejuvenated Thompson—to open the second stanza and tie the game.
“We were going into halftime with a nine-point lead, so the first five minutes of the half were key—they hit us in the mouth,” said freshman wing Anthony Brown. “We were never able to respond after that.”
Stanford’s offense was stagnant at times, but a string of missed opportunities from both teams kept the game close. Green, who was quiet in the first half, stepped up to make several much-needed shots from behind the arc. Brown was also impressive, hitting three three-pointers in the second period to prevent the Cougars from pulling away.
Down four points with 1:27 remaining, Green made a tough step-back jumper to make it a one-possession game. Multiple missed shots from the Cougars followed by a jump ball gave Stanford another opportunity to tie the game prior to Green’s last-ditch heave.
With seven seconds left on the clock, Owens was fouled hard in the paint and sent to the line for two shots. A 55.8-percent free-throw shooter heading into the game, Owens hit the first, but missed his second attempt, leaving Stanford down by one at 59-58.
Stanford immediately fouled Washington State’s Abe Lodwick on the rebound, and he calmly sank two free throws—his only points of the game—to give the Cougars the three-point edge.
Junior guard Green had 13 points to lead Stanford, and Brown added 12 points, all off three-pointers. Owens also contributed 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, and he and freshman forward Dwight Powell were the night’s leading rebounders, grabbing 10 boards apiece.
Thompson had 21 points and Aden had 20, though both were fairly inefficient scorers, shooting 9-of-20 and 8-of-19, respectively. The Cougars outshot the Cardinal 41.1 percent to 34.4 percent and had 16 points off turnovers to Stanford’s four.
Next weekend, the Card will travel south to Los Angeles to take on USC and UCLA on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.