Poor defensive effort hampers men’s basketball against Washington

Jan. 12, 2023, 11:07 p.m.

The Stanford men’s basketball team (5-11, 0-6 Pac-12) remains winless in conference play after losing 86-69 to the Washington Huskies (10-8, 2-5 Pac-12) on the road Thursday night. The Huskies’ win broke their five-game losing streak while Stanford still holds sole possession of last place in the Pac-12.

The Cardinal began the game with a 7-0 run, in part to their efforts on the offensive glass in the opening minutes, edging the Huskies’ 6-1 in that regard within the first ten minutes. Quickly, Washington was able to close the lead to one to two possessions. But despite obtaining open shots against Washington’s zone, the Cardinal were unable to convert at a high rate, shooting just 33.3% in the first half. The poor shooting performance would come back to bite Stanford, as the Huskies were able to piece together a 15-2 run to gain a nine-point lead at the seven minute mark. Washington’s run was spurred by transition play and turnovers, which allowed the Huskies to get easy baskets before Stanford’s half-court defense became set. 

Later, Washington was able to see a few 3-point attempts go down while continuing to jump the passing lanes on defense. At the end of the first half, the Huskies held a comfortable 47-29 lead. Center Braxton Meah led Washington in scoring, accumulating 11 points in the first half, mostly through lob passes. Star forward Keion Brooks Jr. followed on Meah’s heels with 10 points of his own. Meanwhile for Stanford, junior forward Max Murrell led the way with seven points and sophomore forward Harrison Ingram tallied six points. 

At the beginning of the second half, both teams were prolific on offense. Stanford made their first three 3-point attempts of the half, while Washington converted their first five field goals. Thanks to the length of Meah and Brooks on the interior, the Cardinal continued to miss open shots near the rim, and were unable to keep up with Washington’s scorching hot offense. Husky guard Cole Bajema hit three 3-point shots to help pace the team in the second half. Additionally, Meah and Brooks continued to assert themselves on the offensive end, totaling 19 points between the both of them in the second half. 

In the end, the Huskies’ offense was too much for the Cardinal to overcome, as Stanford dropped the game by a score of 86-69. The team has now suffered back-to-back blowouts to begin their three-game road stretch. Meah led all scorers with 21 points, while Brooks Jr. trailed with 19 points. For the Cardinal, senior forward Spencer Jones led with 12 points, albeit on an inefficient 25% from the field. Murrell and freshman forward Ryan Agarwal followed with 10 points each. 

Up next, the Cardinal will finish their road trip with a pit stop in Pullman, Wash. to take on the Washington State Cougars (8-10, 3-4 Pac-12). 

The game will tip-off at 5 p.m. PT on Saturday.

Kaushik Sampath is the sports managing editor. He is a junior from Fayetteville, Arkansas and a history major. You can catch him watching and ranting about his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks or hanging out with friends on campus. Contact him at sports 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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