Stanford bounces back from BYU shootout, downs Northwestern at home

Nov. 15, 2013, 12:54 a.m.

The Stanford men’s basketball team bounced back from its first defeat of the season with a 71-58 home victory over the Northwestern Wildcats, earning its sixth win in eight meetings against the Big-Ten school.

The Cardinal was boosted by the play of seniors Josh Huestis and Anthony Brown, both of whom were especially effective crashing the glass. Huestis finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Brown added 12 points and eight boards.

Senior center Stefan Nastic
Senior center Stefan Nastic (left) lead his team in scoring in the first half against Northwestern, recording eight points. (BEN SULITEANU/The Stanford Daily)

Despite strong play by guards Drew Crawford and JerShon Cobb, who combined for 34 points, it was clear from the outset that the Wildcats posed very few of the same problems BYU had created for Stanford on Monday night. Sloppy play by the Cardinal was largely the reason the game was close at halftime, as Stanford surrendered eight turnovers and gave up many open looks.

Solid offensive play by Stefan Nastic anchored the Stanford attack in the first half, as the senior center led the Cardinal with eight. Crawford tallied 13 points for Northwestern in the first half.

The second half went more according to plan for Stanford. Northwestern struggled to the tune of 33 percent shooting on 11-of-33 from the floor in the second frame. To give the Cardinal credit, the defensive focus was dramatically better in the second half. Crawford was held to just two points in the second frame.

The game was still tight with 15:07 to play after a layup by Northwestern center Alex Olah put the score at 35-32 Stanford. The Cardinal then embarked on a 13-1 run over a five-minute span to effectively put away the Wildcats. Stanford’s dominance on the glass was crucial during the run. Sophomore center Grant Verhoeven came off the bench to provide a career-high eight rebounds in just 16 minutes of action, as Stanford at one point was able to collect eight consecutive rebounds en route to its 11 second-chance points in the second half. The Wildcats would never again get closer than nine points.

After the 112-point debacle against BYU, it was clear the emphasis on this night for Stanford would be defense, and the Cardinal delivered on that promise.

“We just made it a point to come out and play defense,” said Huestis. “I know all of us were really disappointed in ourselves about how we played defense against BYU. We made it a point to come out here and go back to what we do.”

“[I’m] really, really happy with our guys defensively. I really challenged them the last few days of course, and I really like the way they responded,” said head coach Johnny Dawkins.

Dawkins also added that he was happy to see some shots fall for Huestis, who had struggled with his shooting in the first two games of the season. The senior co-captain finished the evening 8-of-13 from the floor, including his first two 3-pointers of the season.

“That felt good, about time,” said Huestis with a smile.

Along with Huestis and Brown, Nastic and junior guard Chasson Randle were the two other Cardinal players to score in double figures, as Nastic finished with 11 while Randle added 14. It marked the third straight game to open the season that Stanford had four different players score at least 10 points, something that the team failed to do once until Dec. 18 last season.

Stanford will look to carry the good momentum over to the weekend, when it travels to Denver for its first road game of the season.

Contact Daniel Lupin at delupin ‘at’

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