By all accounts, holding the Pac-12’s leading scorer to zero made field goals and holding a team to a 3-for-22 performance in 3-point shooting are usually enough to win a game.
But on a night during which the Cardinal’s defense forced a lot of mistakes, their offense made even more.
On Saturday night, Stanford (13-12, 6-8 Pac-12) fell 64-53 to the Washington Huskies (16-11, 8-7), who snapped a four-game losing streak behind a dazzling performance from freshman Dejounte Murray.
Murray totaled 25 points on a 10-of-14 line from the field and added 9 rebounds. He picked up plenty of the slack as a result of an off night from fellow starting guard Andrew Andrews, who had 8 points, all from free throws, and missed all four of his shot attempts. Andrews, who currently leads the conference with 20 points per game, just couldn’t find his rhythm and was swallowed up by the energetic Stanford defense.
However, the issue for Stanford in this game wasn’t the defense. Although the Huskies went on a few scoring runs, the major issue was the Cardinal’s inability to convert on the offensive end.
While senior Rosco Allen did his fair share by scoring 20 points, Stanford received little offensive output outside of that. As a whole, the team shot just 32.7 percent from the field and turned the ball over 20 times to give Washington 23 points off turnovers and 13 in fast break.
“We’re typically a team that doesn’t turn the ball over very much,” said head coach Johnny Dawkins after the game. “So that was disappointing. We didn’t handle the ball as well as we needed to.”
Stanford played somewhat well in the first half, keeping pace with Washington to lead to a 26-26 tie at the half. The Cardinal appeared to run out of gas in the second half, though, and that resulted in some unfortunate turnovers and missed opportunities at the basket.
Stanford also struggled with ball movement, something that has been a recurring theme for the team this year. While the Cardinal’s 11.4 assists per game is already the lowest mark in the conference, they had just 4 assists against the Huskies, which tied a season-worst.
As a whole, it was a tough loss for a team that can’t afford tough losses at this point in the season. Stanford has just four games left in what has been a particularly deep year for the Pac-12, and it has struggled to find its footing in its end-of-season push.
“We weren’t as poised as we needed to be,” Dawkins said. “They’re long, they’re very active, they’re athletic. I don’t think we showed the poise you need to have against a team like [Washington].”
The Cardinal will next host USC at home on Thursday before UCLA comes to town on Saturday. A two-game road trip in Arizona will finish up Stanford’s regular season.
Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’ stanford.edu.