Despite a rainy day and drab scenery on the Farm on Sunday, Maples Pavilion was filled with excitement as the men’s basketball team played its final home game of the season. With the pre-game festivities of senior day in full swing and family in the stands, senior forward Spencer Jones saved some of his best for last, tallying 21 points in Stanford basketball’s (12-17, 6-12 Pac-12) 81-69 victory over the Washington Huskies (16-14, 8-11 Pac-12).
“I got most of the family out today,” said Jones after the game. “You want to do it for them, you want to do it for all the guys you played with and all the fans that came out today. It’s a great little possible end to a career.”
While the win may seem meaningless to Stanford’s postseason hopes, it could serve as an on-ramp toward the team’s play in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Stanford started fast right out of the gate, piecing together an 8-0 lead within the first two and a half minutes of the game. Thanks to some prolific shooting, including knocking down 5-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc, Stanford opened up a double-digit lead within the first 12 minutes of the game. However, an intermittent period of sloppy play toward the middle and end of the first half allowed the Huskies to crawl back into the game. Washington was able to cut the lead to within 3 points at the 3:11 mark before Stanford regained its offensive footing due to a succession of fastbreak and transition opportunities. At the end of the half, Stanford held a 38-26 lead.
Jones led all scorers with 16 points in the first half, with sophomore forward Harrison Ingram following with 6 points. For Washington, star forward Keion Brooks Jr. accumulated 10 points in the first half, while guard Jamal Bey tallied 7 points.
“I want [Spencer] to have as much initiative as he can possibly have,” said head coach Jerod Haase. “I don’t know in four years if I ever told him that was a bad shot. I want him to have confidence and feel like he has the green light.”
The second half continued with the fast pace that occurred toward the end of the first. The Huskies once again threatened Stanford’s lead, as Bey continued to attack the Cardinal defense in the paint. Stanford’s double-digit lead diminished to just 5 points in under five minutes.
However, a barrage of 3-pointers from various perimeter players gave the Cardinal breathing room and enlarged the lead back up to double digits. Moreover, Stanford began diversifying its shot portfolio, taking and making more shots near the rim as the game went on.
Sophomore center Maxime Raynaud and junior forward Brandon Angel were more involved in the offense, scoring 15 points and 9 points, respectively. Angel had a few acrobatic finishes that got the crowd up on its feet.
The Cardinal pushed their advantage all the way out to 20 points with 5:23 left in the game.
With the game clinched and one minute remaining, senior walk-on guards Roy Yuan and Josue Gil-Silva entered the game to the applause of the student section. While the Huskies were able to get several garbage-time points toward the end, it didn’t matter as the Cardinal came away victorious on senior night.
“There’s never a consistent line, but I feel throughout the year our team has trended north,” Haase said. “We continue to get better, and I thought today was a step forward.”
Up next, Stanford will go on the road to face Oregon State and Oregon this upcoming week. The Cardinal defeated both schools earlier this season at home and will have the opportunity to sweep the season series before heading to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament. Tip-off against Oregon State is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT on Thursday.