There would be no magic at Maples Pavilion for Stanford men’s basketball (13-8, 6-5 Pac-12) Thursday night, as its comeback bid against Washington State (13-7, 6-3 Pac-12) fell short. The Cardinal trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half, ultimately losing 66-60.
The Cougars jumped out to an 8-2 lead three and a half minutes into the game, forcing Stanford head coach Jerod Haase to call a timeout. Even after Haase addressed the team’s defensive miscommunication during the break, his defense gave up a 3-pointer from Washington State forward DJ Rodman to extend the Cougar lead to 11-2.
Following a triple from junior forward Spencer Jones later in the period, the Cardinal brought the game within arm’s reach, tightening the score to 18-13. However, Washington State went on a final first half run and widened its advantage to 33-21 at halftime.
“Whether it’s record, NET ranking, the whole bit — they’re very talented. They’re very deep,” Haase said of Washington State. “They have a good plan. They’re athletic. They’re good on both sides of the ball.”
Indeed, the Cougars’ depth at the guard position proved to be the difference-maker, with 22 of their 33 first-half points coming from guards Tyrell Roberts and Michael Flowers. While Roberts and Flowers caused trouble for Stanford in the first half, the Cardinal’s play on the other end of the court was responsible for their deficit as well.
Stanford scored just 21 points in the first half, with the team’s two leading scorers for the season — freshman forward Harrison Ingram and senior forward Jaiden Delaire — combining for only two points. As a team, the Cardinal shot 28.6% from the field and 18.8% from behind the arc.
Things did not look much more promising for the Cardinal, as freshman forward Harrison Ingram fouled Flowers on a 3-point attempt to open the second half. Flowers knocked down all three shots from the charity stripe, and Washington State followed up with three straight dunks from 6-foot-11 forward Mouhamed Gueye to expand its lead.
But the Cardinal would not go down without a fight. In front of a raucous Maples Pavilion crowd, a thunderous alley-oop to Jaiden Delaire put fans on their feet. The play sparked a 12-2 Cardinal run that cut the Cougars’ lead to 42-38.
Eight of the 12 points during the run came from Jones, whose sharpshooting provided the team with comeback hopes.
In less than four minutes of game time, however, Washington State pieced together a run of its own. After a 12-1 stretch, Stanford was forced to call another timeout. Minutes later, a 3-pointer from Flowers gave the Cougars a 16-point lead — their largest of the game.
Despite this, the Cardinal put on a display of grit and toughness. Their inspired play reignited the energy in the crowd and enabled the team to put together another run.
The stretch was capped off by a dunk from junior forward James Keefe that cut the Cougars’ lead to 63-60. With a defensive stop, Stanford earned an opportunity to tie the game with 30 seconds left.
“We wanted to get a clean look,” Haase said. “Against the zone it [was] a little bit hard to dictate what position, what guy on the floor, that kind of thing.”
Freshman guard Isa Silva, a 54% shooter from deep who made a three earlier in the game, got an open look from the corner but was unable to connect. Following free throws from Washington State, the game ended 66-60.
Jones paced the Cardinal with 24 points, recording four threes on the day. Following tonight’s game, he now sits at 13th on Stanford’s all-time 3-pointers list, ahead of Terry Taylor ’89. Delaire and Keefe rounded out Stanford’s top three scorers, recording eight and six points, respectively.
Up next, Stanford will play its third game of a four-game homestand, welcoming Washington (12-8, 7-3 Pac-12) to the Farm. Stanford fell to Washington earlier in the year, 67-64, in a similar fashion when its second half comeback efforts fell short. Tip-off against the Huskies is scheduled for 1 p.m. PT Saturday.