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Huskies Dominated Inside in 79-61 Loss to Stanford

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Washington had no answer for Stanford’s length and constant drives to the hoop

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford had the clear size advantage in this matchup and asserted their will down low all night as the Cardinal bludgeoned the Huskies in a 79-61 romp that wasn’t as close as the final score. Washington’s offense never got going while Stanford created an endless layup line on the way to 50 points in the paint behind their star Oscar Da Silva’s 18 points. The loss drops the Huskies to 4-17 (3-13) on the season.

For anyone that hoped that Washington limiting themselves to just 6 turnovers on Monday against Washington State was the start of better ball security...no. Nate Roberts, for some reason handling the ball on the perimeter, threw away the ball on UW’s first possession in a sign of things to come. The Huskies had 4 turnovers in the first 5 minutes but Erik Stevenson had a trio of 3-pointers to keep things close as Stanford had a 13-11 lead with 13:00 remaining.

That’s when UW went into one of their patented offensive funks. It took nearly 6 minutes for the Dawgs to score again when Stanford got called for goaltending on a Jamal Bey drive. Somehow Washington got just enough stops to make it only an 8-0 Stanford run during those 6 minutes.

Still though the Husky defense didn’t put up much of a fight. With UW playing more a man/matchup zone hybrid the Stanford offense took advantage by placing all 5 players around the perimeter and taking turns cutting to the basket. It either resulted in an easy Stanford dunk/layup or at least put the Cardinal in proper post-up position with their 6’6+ wings against Washington’s 6’0-6’3 guards. Spencer Jones’ 3-pointer with 6 minutes left in the half was Stanford’s first made jump shot and extended the lead to double digits for the first time at 24-13.

The Cardinal continued to live in the paint and only the combination of Erik Stevenson and Jamal Bey kept things remotely close. Bey hit a corner 3-pointer with a minute left in the half which brought things down to 10 points after UW was doubled up at one point at 30-15.

After Marcus Tsohonis’ isolation drive resulted in an airball and a shot clock violation, a truly bizarre sequence played out over the final 7 seconds of the half. Washington put on a double team and managed to get the steal with 3.5 seconds left just past half court. Erik Stevenson sprinted all alone towards the rim and appeared to have just enough time to be able to get off a finger roll to beat the buzzer. Instead though he somehow hurt himself as he leapt off one foot and the shot rimmed out while Stevenson collapsed and ultimately had to be helped off the floor. He still went to halftime with a game-high 11 points despite the miss while Bey had 9 meaning the 2 combined for all but 2 of Washington’s points. UW remarkably held a 17-13 rebounding edge but that was more than compounded by the 0 free throw attempts, a 12-6 turnover deficit, and 26-8 points in the paint bludgeoning.

Marcus Tsohonis started the half in Stevenson’s place after the injury but it didn’t do anything to improve Washington’s offense. The Huskies got a couple of buckets as Quade Green drove for an and-1 layup and Hameir Wright hit an improbably step back contested 3-pointer. But Stanford continued to repeatedly get open looks at the cup and a Jaden DeLaire layup off a nifty give and go to make it 46-30 Stanford prompted a Mike Hopkins timeout.

The defensive woes continued as Stanford had at least one player leak out on every Husky shot attempt and the inevitable miss resulted in a long outlet pass for an easy layup. That sequence happened 3 times over a 2-minute period as Stanford was shooting a ridiculous 86% from the field halfway through the 2nd half. Stanford hit a 3 which extended the lead to 62-36 and officially ended any hope of a comeback. Other lowlights included Riley Sorn getting his entire hand on the ball on a block attempt of an ambitious Bryce Wills dunk but the ball still went through the hoop as Sorn ended up absolutely posterized.

Washington used the blowout to get some playing time for some guys that haven’t been major (or at all) parts of the rotation lately as RaeQuan Battle and J’Raan Brooks both got some extended run. Stevenson did make his return but ultimately sat the final 8 minutes of the half after receiving a flop warning on what appeared to be a clear charge against Stanford (in the moment it looked like he had fouled out on the play and both Stevenson and Hop were livid).

The backups managed to make a solid run to make the margin appear a little more respectable. Washington went on a 15-3 run with Stanford’s starters still mostly on the floor sparked by Cole Bajema who hit a pair of 3’s and played some nice defense to get it back down to 14 points at 65-51. Stanford just kept attacking the rim on every play though and Washington didn’t offer much resistance as the lead ballooned back out to 20 points again shortly. Cole Bajema managed a pick 6 steal for a dunk to score the Huskies’ last points.

Washington is never going to be competitive in a game in which Marcus Tsohonis and Quade Green are complete non-factors like they were tonight. The guard duo combined to shoot just 4/20 from the floor with 4 assists against 7 turnovers. Even if the Huskies had scored more frequently it would’ve been difficult to stay competitive given the porous defense. Stanford ended up scoring 50 points in the paint shooting 67% on their 2-point attempts and holding a 20-1 (!!!) free throw attempt advantage.

Cole Bajema ended up leading the Huskies in scoring with 13 points, all in the 2nd half plus chipped in with 2 steals and 2 blocks. You can tell over the last few weeks his confidence has been building and he’s looking like someone that could take a leap next year. J’Raan Brooks also came off the bench late with 6 quick points during the closing run.

The Huskies return to the court on Saturday when they get to host Cal (who lost by 31 tonight at Wazzu) in what is by far their best remaining chance at another win this season.