The Stanford men’s basketball team outlasted the No. 21 Washington Huskies in a 68-60 overtime thriller at Maples Pavilion on Sunday night.
It’s become somewhat of a strange routine for Stanford (10-3, 2-0 Pac-12): Fall into a sizeable early deficit, come back with aggressive play from someone new every night and win the game with clutch shooting and great defense in the final minutes.
Another familiar sight was Stanford’s leading scorer, Chasson Randle, with 24 points and 5 assists. However, Randle’s biggest contributions to the game were ones not shown in the box score: two crucial offensive plays in the game’s final minutes.
The first came with two minutes left in regulation, with Washington (11-3, 0-2 Pac-12) up by five. Randle converted a 3-point play that brought Stanford within a possession. Later, on the final possession in regulation, Randle drove to the hoop for a basket that tied the game at 56 and forced an overtime in which Stanford pulled away.
“It’s the attacking mindset,” Randle said of his performance. “You don’t back down from anybody. Whether they’re bigger than you, wider than you, stronger than you, you just play basketball.”
With the win, Stanford moves to 2-1 on the year against ranked opponents. Both wins (at Texas and vs. Washington) have come against very physical teams with a lot of size. It seems that the Cardinal seem to kick into another gear in these types of physical matchups.
One of the most impressive statistics for Stanford was its team rebounding. The Cardinal outrebounded Washington 38-37 despite playing without one of their leading rebounders, injured forward Reid Travis.
As impressive as the Cardinal were down the stretch, yet another slow start appeared to be almost too much to overcome at first. Washington started the game on a 14-4 run, with Stanford playing catch-up for the entire half. However, the Cardinal stayed aggressive throughout the half, ultimately pulling to a 28-28 halftime tie on a Rosco Allen 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining.
“Just really proud of them for staying with it,” said head coach Johnny Dawkins. “Whether they’re down, whether it’s tied or whether they’re up, they find a way to give us a chance to win at the end, and they did it again tonight.”
Another area of concern for Stanford was an abysmal night from the foul line, something that is rather out of character for this team. The Cardinal shot 18-of-30 from the line, although they did hit some crucial free throws at the end of the game when they needed to. Perhaps the off night is solely an early-season issue, but it is something that will certainly hurt Stanford against tough teams later on in the year if it doesn’t improve.
Washington certainly challenged Stanford all night. Stanford’s early offensive woes came from the overwhelming defense from forwards Shawn Kemp, Jr. and Robert Upshaw. Upshaw, one of the best shot blockers in the country, recorded four blocks. Kemp led Washington with 19 points, with guard Andrew Andrews adding another 13.
However, despite their early run, the Huskies cooled considerably as the game went on. In fact, both teams shot under 40 percent from the field, highlighting the physicality that both defenses brought all night long.
Another interesting storyline was an electric home crowd keeping Maples Pavilion loud as the game progressed. As a result of students coming back to campus this weekend for winter classes, the Cardinal got rewarded with a filled student section that even Dawkins greatly appreciated.
“I thought our student section was amazing,” Dawkins said. “Just the energy they gave us, looking over there and seeing how much noise they were making — without them, I don’t think we win the game.”
Regardless of what truly was the difference in the game, Stanford came out with a win and couldn’t be happier with their start in conference play. The Cardinal are showing night after night that there are many reasons to be excited about this team.
Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’ stanford.edu.