Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate Oscar da Silva scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Stanford Cardinal (14-8, 10-6 Pac-12 ) to a dominating 79-61 win over the Washington Huskies (4-7, 3-13). The Cardinal inside game had its way with the lethargic Husky defenders. Stanford scored 50 of its 79 points in the lower block. The dominant inside game saw Stanford make 31 of 54 field goals for a 57.4 shooting percentage.
EARLY MENTAL BREAKDOWNS
The Huskies’ first-half mental breakdowns were just too costly to overcome a determined Stanford Cardinal team with an NCAA Tournament berth on the line. The Huskies committed an uncharacteristic 12 first-half turnovers and allowed the Cardinal to score 26 of its 32 points inside the paint. The Cardinal finished the first half making 14-29 field goals for 48.3%. The Huskies finished the half making12 of 37 field goals for 32.4 percentage. Leading scorer Erik Stevenson had to be helped into the dressing room after injuring his knee on the last play of the half.
LACK OF ENERGY
With Stevenson on the bench, the Huskies struggled to score. Point guard Quade Green returned after missing Monday’s win at WSU never found his rhythm. Green finished the game with five points and four turnovers. Stevenson returned to the game early in the second half but was ineffective and never scored another point as he finished the game on the bench.
The Huskies tried to stay with the hot shooting Cardinal but could not overcome the ten-point deficit. Stanford’s 8-0 run with 15:16 left in the game put a permanent gulf between the two teams. Stanford increased its lead to 62-36 with 10:27 left in the game and never looked back
The lack of energy by the Husky starters saw head coach Mike Hopkins empty his bench in search of life on the court. The much-needed spark was provided by Cole Bajema who scored 13 points to lead the team in scoring.
BIG TAKE AWAY
Credit the Huskies for not giving up and continuing the fight until the final whistle blew. The cold hard truth is that the Huskies took a step back in their progression. The energy and focus needed to match up against a gritty Stanford were missing. While part of the lack of sharpness can be blamed on the Huskies playing their fourth game in seven days there is no excuse for the rushed shots and selfishness. One perplexing stat is the one free throw the Huskies shot in the game. Hopkins felt his team drove to the line enough times to warrant more than one free throw.