Washington State rallies to beat Stanford
STANFORD – Washington State can finally head home with a Pac-10 road victory.
Klay Thompson had 21 points, Faisal Aden scored 20 and Washington State ended Stanford’s eight-game home unbeaten streak with a 61-58 victory Saturday.
“If we would have lost this one, it would have been tough to come back and get to .500 in the league,” Aden said. “We sort of left our hearts out there tonight – that’s what we came into the game with.”
The dynamic guard duo helped the Cougars (13-5, 3-3) win a conference road after dropping their first three.
Jeremy Green had 13 points and Josh Owens added 12 points for the Cardinal (10-6, 3-2), who were coming off an upset of No. 17 Washington and looking to sustain some momentum. Instead, they had a letdown by blowing a nine-point halftime lead.
“I’m sure we will learn from this,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “We don’t like to learn in losses, but we will learn from the experience and how competitive Pac-10 play is and how every night you have to be prepared to adjust and compete at the highest level.”
Washington State’s rally was long overdue.
After an overtime loss at California earlier this week, a Bay Area split could give Washington State some confidence. The Cougars had also lost conference games at UCLA and USC.
They took control in the second half with energy and effort that Stanford simply couldn’t match.
After Thompson’s free throws put the Cougars in front, DeAngelo Casto converted a 3-point play over Dwight Powell with three minutes left to extend their lead to 57-52.
Stanford had two late attempts to force overtime but couldn’t convert. Owens missed the second of two free throws with 7 seconds remaining, and Green’s desperate 3-point heave at the buzzer rimmed out to give Washington State the victory, even if it wasn’t always pretty.
“I think our zone defense was pretty good during that stretch,” Cougars coach Ken Bone said. “That was probably the biggest difference during that time. And we scored some baskets, too. But we really, really needed to get some stops defensively, and we did.”
For most of the game, the Cougars were out of rhythm again in front of another opposing crowd that cheered their every mistake. They played from behind for most of the game and again had to make a second-half run on the road.
They also won despite point guard Reggie Moore sitting out for disciplinary reasons. Moore received two citations involving marijuana and paraphernalia for an incident that happened last month, and it wasn’t until Stanford that he sat out.
Thompson was swarmed defensively and frustrated into two early fouls that forced him to the bench. Stanford worked Washington State’s zone with ball movement, finding open shooters.
Thompson made a 3-pointer and another jumper during an 8-0 spurt early in the second half by the Cougars to tie the score at 33 a little more than three minutes into the second half. They went ahead 42-41 on Brock Motum’s layup with 10:17 remaining.
Anthony Brown followed with a pair of 3-pointers to put Stanford ahead by five. Then Thompson, a 6-foot-6 junior who entered the game leading the Pac-10 with 23.1 points per outing, rallied Washington State.
“I thought that run in the second half was the key,” said Brown, who had 12 points for the Cardinal. “They hit us in the mouth, and we never were able to respond after that.”