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Stanford blows halftime lead, falls to Huskies in Seattle

For the Stanford men’s basketball team, the nightmares in Seattle just keep on coming. The Cardinal (15-8, 6-5 Pac-12) blew a 7-point halftime lead on Wednesday night, falling to the Washington Huskies (14-11, 6-6) 64-60, marking Stanford’s fifth consecutive loss on the Huskies’ home court. The defeat dropped Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins’ career record to just 2-10 against his Washington counterpart, Lorenzo Romar.

The Cardinal started off strong, seemingly providing an answer for every Washington run. After consecutive dunks by seniors Josh Huestis and Anthony Brown gave Stanford a 4-point lead, 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions by Washington’s leading scorer, senior C.J. Wilcox, gave the Huskies a 23-21 lead 15 minutes into the game. Stanford would respond by closing the first half on a 13-4 run, powered mostly by the play of senior Dwight Powell and junior Chasson Randle, who combined to score 11 of those 13 points.

Senior forward Dwight Powell

Senior forward Dwight Powell (above) led Stanford in points and rebounds in Wednesday night’s loss to Washington, scoring 18 points to go along with 9 boards in the 64-60 defeat. (FRANK CHEN/The Stanford Daily).

The second half began slowly for the Cardinal, which immediately allowed the Huskies to get back into the game. Washington started the second frame on a 12-2 run that briefly gave it a 3-point lead. Yet the Cardinal responded once more, as it had throughout the entire game up to that point. A 3-point play from Powell gave Stanford the lead back with 15:41 left to play, and the Cardinal would push that lead back up to five with 11:07 remaining in the game.

Just when it looked like Stanford was ready to pull away from the Huskies, the Cardinal invited Washington right back into the game. Stanford endured a cold stretch in which it went 0-for-4 from the floor and committed two turnovers, turning a 5-point lead into a 1-point deficit with 5:48 left to play.

The two teams would trade baskets down the stretch until poor free-throw shooting in the final three minutes became Stanford’s undoing. Brown and Randle each missed key freebies from the stripe, allowing Washington a 2-point lead with just 25 seconds left.

On the ensuing possession, it looked for a moment as if the Cardinal had tied things up on a Huestis baseline dunk, but the play was whistled dead beforehand, as Randle was called for a charge before the pass. Stanford fouled with 4.1 seconds remaining, but Wilcox calmly sunk both free throws to clinch the victory for the underdog Huskies, who improved to 5-0 at home during Pac-12 play this season.

Powell was again solid for the Cardinal, tallying 18 points and nine rebounds in the defeat. Randle added 17 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists, but he also finished just 1-of-6 from behind the arc and was a disappointing 4-of-9 from the free-throw line.

Wilcox, who was held to just nine points in the last meeting between these two teams, again struggled from the floor, shooting just 4-of-14 despite scoring 17 points this time around. Freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss was again solid against the Cardinal, adding 16 points, five rebounds and five assists in the Husky victory.

A lack of basic offensive execution down the stretch was once again Stanford’s downfall, much in the same mold as the team’s performance against Arizona two weeks ago. The Cardinal shot just 8-of-26 — 30.8 percent — in the second half, which included just a 1-for-7 performance from behind the arc and a 9-for-15 showing from the free-throw line. For the game, Stanford finished at just 40.4 percent from the field, 18.8 percent from 3-point range and 61.1 percent from the free-throw line. Dawkins’ squad had its chances but instead could not capitalize, shooting itself right out of Alaska Airlines Arena.

Stanford will look to rebound in anticipation of the team’s matchup at Washington State on Saturday. The Cardinal will be seeking its first road win against one of the Washington schools since a 75-62 triumph at WSU on Feb. 10, 2011.

Contact Daniel E. Lupin at delupin ‘at’ stanford.edu.

  • Candid One

    The long-ago bemoaned injury losses of Andy Brown and Aaron Bright are continually haunting the shoulda-woulda-coulda realm of Stanford’s fantasy basketball fans. No reliable bench strength. No additional scoring threats among the regulars. The Cardinal has a distinct lack of a reliable sixth or even seventh man, although Bright also had his off games along with his occasional breakout games. The Huskies are too good at home for Stanford to get by without bench support when one of the starters has early foul trouble or an off game or both. Washington’s Wilcox didn’t have the same off game as he had in their loss at Stanford. Their 64 points needed a stronger reply than Stanford’s starters could muster this time. Didn’t happen.