Stanford men’s basketball (9-8, 1-4 Pac-12) scored the first basket of the game and never looked back in its 84-54 rout of Washington State (9-7, 1-3 Pac-12) Thursday night at Maples Pavilion. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Cardinal, who had hit a rough patch after starting the year 6-1.
Stanford got off to a hot start, opening the game on a 25-5 run in the first 8:28. The Cardinal would lead by at least 15 the rest of the game and, at some point, by as many as 36. At the half, Stanford held a 48-23 advantage.
The Cardinal’s victory was keyed by strong play in the paint and an impressive all-around performance from junior guard Robert Cartwright. Cartwright went 8-for-12 from the floor (5-for-7 from behind the arc) en route to a career-high 21 points, 18 of which came in the first half. Cartwright added seven assists and four rebounds in his 30 minutes of play.
Head coach Jerod Haase complimented Cartwright’s play as a floor general and said, “His mind right now really is focused on managing the team, and because of that he’s not getting in his own way, he’s shooting the basketball and making plays … and so it is kind of simplifying things.”
Around the rim, Stanford dominated as well, winning the rebound battle 43 to 25 and outscoring Washington State 46-20 in the paint. Those efforts were led by junior forwards Michael Humphrey and Reid Travis. Humphrey collected 10 rebounds and Travis, returning after missing the past two games due to a right shoulder injury, contributed 17 points all around the hoop and six rebounds.
Travis returned from injury sooner than many expected, passing his final medical assessment Thursday morning. He logged a healthy 24 minutes of action and shot 8-of-12 from the field, showing no signs of lingering shoulder pain.
“He’s a rock for us,” Cartwright said. “We need him out there and we’re definitely happy to have him back.”
On the defensive end, the Cardinal played well and limited the Cougars’ opportunities right off the bat. After the game, Cartwright said that the defense was the key to their strong start, adding that they had seven “turkeys,” a defensive stat involving holding the opposing team pointless on three straight possessions.
However, Washington State showed some flashes of firepower behind senior seven-footer Conor Clifford, who showed an impressive touch around the rim and had a team-high 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Fellow senior forward Josh Hawkinson drilled 3-of-4 three-pointers as part of his 14 points and added eight rebounds.
However, all in all, the Cougars were just 18-for-56 (32.1 percent) from the floor and 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) from three-point land, compared to 34-for-62 (54.8 percent) and 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) for the Cardinal, respectively.
While the first win in conference play for the team is encouraging, Haase isn’t dwelling on it for too long.
“[With] the Thursday through Saturday games there’s not a whole lot of time to bask in the glory,” Haase said. “It’s time to get back to work here quickly, but it does feel good.”
Stanford takes on star freshman guard Markelle Fultz and Washington at Maples Pavilion this Saturday at 5 p.m.
Contact Jamie MacFarlane at jamiemac‘at’stanford.edu.