Fresh off an upset victory over No. 11 Oregon this past weekend, Stanford men’s basketball (12-11, 5-7 Pac-12) will continue conference play against the Washington State Cougars (9-16, 1-12 ) this Thursday evening in Pullman.
The Cardinal are looking to make a late season push in their last six games before the conference tournament. Despite a disappointing four game losing streak, Stanford was able to bounce back with their second win against a top-25 team this season, beating the Ducks 76-72 in Maples Pavilion on Saturday. Stanford has struggled on the road, though, amassing a 1-4 away record in the Pac-12.
As has been the case all season, the Cardinal will go as far as senior Rosco Allen can take them. The forward matched his season-high with 25 points in the matchup against the Ducks, shooting an efficient 9-12 from the field which included an impressive 4-5 from downtown. Allen also chipped in 7 rebounds aiding a Cardinal roster that has struggled on the boards in recent games with sophomore forwards Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey out with a stress reaction and a concussion, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Cougars are hoping to snap a conference-leading 11-game losing streak and earn their second win in the Pac-12 when the Cardinal pay them a visit. The team has recorded some close games during that span, including a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to Colorado and an overtime drop to Washington, but Wazzu has still fallen by an average margin of over 16.5 points since their last win.
Nevertheless, the Cougars have more talent than their record would suggest. Junior Josh Hawkinson is one of the better forwards in a league with an abundance of talented bigs. He is an effective and consistent scorer who commands the paint on the offensive end as anyone in the Pac-12. With a solid 245-pound frame and great timing, Hawkinson is also a defensive influence and rebounds well.
The junior is averaging 15.4 points per game and gobbles up 19.6 percent of available rebounds, good for second in the conference. His .592 effective field goal clip is also second in the Pac-12.
Washington State, however, has been unable to string together consistent efforts on offense, often lacking the firepower to keep up with opponents’ runs during games. The Cougs were blown out by Utah in an 88-47 loss in their most recent contest, when Hawkinson was held to just 4 points in 29 minutes.
Stanford will look to impose their disciplined defensive scheme against a struggling Wazzu squad. The Cardinal’s 2-3 zone has succeeded in holding 8 of their 12 opponents under 75 points in Pac-12 play. Stanford will have to overcome recent offensive struggles of their own in order to move closer to a .500 record in the Pac-12.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. at Friel Court.
Contact Irving Rodriguez at irodriguez ‘at’ stanford.edu.