By Ellie Chen
The Cardinal nearly broke their 16-game losing streak to Arizona on Saturday afternoon, when senior guard Dorian Pickens’ game-winning three-pointer just missed its mark. Stanford men’s basketball (11-9, 5-2 Pac-12), coming off a five-game winning streak, lost 73-71 to No. 14 Arizona (16-4, 6-1).
The student section was packed and Maples felt the most alive it has in a long time. Stanford and Arizona co-led the Pac-12 going into the game, but Arizona clinched sole possession of first after coming back from being down 11 in the second half. Senior captains Michael Humphrey, Reid Travis and Dorian Pickens combined for 48 points and 23 rebounds, but Stanford still came up short.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 10-3 lead, blocking multiple Stanford layups and shooting nearly over 60 percent from the field. Travis helped Stanford battle back by dominating the offensive end. His seven consecutive points along with a five-minute Arizona scoring drought narrowed the lead to 29-31 headed into halftime. The Wildcats held Travis, who looked unstoppable in the first half with 14 points, to only six points on four field goal attempts in the second half. Freshman point guard Daejon Davis left the game with two minutes remaining in the first with a leg injury, and he did not return to play in the second half.
Freshman forward Oscar da Silva opened the second half with a dunk, and Humphrey followed with a three pointer that put the crowd on their feet and tied the game 34-34. The Cardinal built on the momentum of Travis forcing Arizona’s star forward DeAndre Ayton into his third personal foul early in the second half.
Pickens became the X-factor in the second half, coming to life with his first of 15 points with 10 minutes remaining. Drama filled Maples as Arizona head coach Sean Miller received a technical after Arizona was called for an offensive foul. Freshman guard Issac White dished an inside-out pass to set Pickens up for a corner three that gave the Cardinal their largest lead of the game at 11 points with nine minutes remaining.
Arizona began full-court pressing the Cardinal, and the Wildcats took advantage of the Cardinal’s zone defense, scoring back-to-back threes that tied the game at 57. The Cardinal and Wildcats battled back and forth for the final 10 minutes of the game with nine ties and five lead changes. Arizona was a perfect 11-11 from the foul line until missing two in the final ten seconds of the game, but Stanford couldn’t overcome the late deficit.
Stanford head coach Jerod Haase commented at the post game conference, “I’m confident in what we’re doing. I like what we’re doing. The guys believe in what we’re doing … if we continue making improvements I love what we’re doing.”
Humphrey echoed Hasse’s confidence, “We can play with the teams at the top of the conference and we should be up there. We deserve to be where we are.” With Stanford’s depth and discipline, the rest of Pac-12 play should be very exciting.
Next up, the Cardinal will hit the road to play USC on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. PT and UCLA on Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. PT. The games will be broadcasted on ESPU and the Pac-12 Networks, respectively.
Contact Ellie Chen at ellie170 ‘at’ stanford.edu.