The Washington Huskies rolled into Maples Pavilion on a modest 3 game winning streak to face the Stanford Cardinal in a rematch from January. The Huskies won the first matchup with an 86 to 69 victory in one of the Huskies best offensive performances of the season but the Cardinal had revenge on their mind during Senior Day for Stanford. Stanford flipped the script by shooting a scorching 12-24 from three to give the Cardinal an 81-69 victory.
The Huskies came into the game as the #6 best defensive team in the country in defending the 3-pointer and Stanford came in as the top 3-point shooting team in the conference play at 35%, so something had to give. Stanford would find the early edge by knocking down their first 3 of 4 three-pointers to take an early lead and hit their first 4 of 8 shots from distance to pull out to a 16-6 lead in the first few minutes of the game.
Not surprisingly, the Huskies would start out a little slow offensively by making only 1 of their first 6 shots in the game. Keyon Menifield would finally get the Huskies on the board with a short mid-range shot but the Huskies would struggle to get open looks early on. Fellow Freshman Koren Johnson would bring a spark early on by scoring two quick baskets to pull the Huskies back within 6 at 16-10. Washington would have a few opportunities to cut the lead further but could not capitalize and the Cardinal would make the Huskies pay with a 5-0 run to pull out to a 21-10 lead.
Keion Brooks would help the Huskies stay close early on and would score 4 quick points to bring Washington within 5, however Braxton Meah would quickly pick up his 2nd foul on a bad reach in foul that was 20 feet from the basket. With 6 minutes to go in the half, the Huskies would turn to Langston Wilson to play the 5 spot.
The Huskies would stay close, thanks to a Jamal Bey 3-pointer and Keyon Menifield lob pass to Langston Wilson, which brought the score to 27-24 with 3:11 left. Unfortunately, the Cardinal would attack the middle that would result in 3 layups over Langston Wilson, two of those resulting in and 1 plays for 6 quick points. Wilson would pick up 3 fouls in just 6 minutes.
Stanford would go on a 11-2 run to close the half after Spencer Jones 3rd three-pointer of the half to give him 16 points. The Cardinal would go into halftime with a 38-26 lead, shooting a scorching 7-14 from 3 and 11 assists overall in the 1st half.
The Huskies Cut into the lead but Struggle to Defend in the 2nd Half
The Huskies came out in the 2nd half with a concerted effort to go inside to Braxton Meah. Meah missed his first shot fading away but was able to shake loose for 2 buckets that included a nifty reverse dunk off of an offensive rebound.
The beleaguered Jamal Bey, who has had an inconsistent season thus far, came out strong in the 2nd half. Bey would attack the hoop early in the 2nd half to draw a couple of fouls, including a strong layup for an easy bucket. Bey would respond again with a 3-pointer on a quick trigger to give him 7 early 2nd half points.
Braxton Meah had a quiet first half with 0 points and 0 field goal attempts but woke up in the 2nd half. The Huskies would get him involved early with 8 points on 4 dunks and helped pull the Huskies within 5 points at 44 to 39 with 15 minutes left in 2nd half. Stanford would not hit a three pointer in the first 5 minutes to help Washington get back into the game but that would quickly end as the Cardinal would hit their next three 3-pointers to extend the lead back to 11 again. It would seem to get worse for the Huskies as Braxton Meah and Koren Johnson would both pick up their 3rd foul in a matter of seconds, however both would stay on the floor.
The Cardinal would pull out to their biggest lead of 57 to 41 under 12 minutes to play. Koren Johnson would answer with 3 quick points off a free throw and an acrobatic tap in off of a rebound. Keion Brooks would also hit a pair of free throws to pull back within 11 but Stanford would hit their 11th three pointer of the game to stop the Huskies run.
The Huskies would try to mix things up on defense, going man-to-man and going with a full court press but the Cardinal were able to answer each time. Even the Stanford 7-footer Maxine Reynaud got into the 3-point action with a corner three to give the Cardinal a 70 to 52 lead. It was shooting practice for Stanford and was the polar opposite for the Huskies shooting the ball.
The Huskies would make one last run to get back within 12 after a Jamal Bey steal led to a Keyon Menifield layup. Washington would have an opportunity to get back to 10 or single digits but would lose the ball on a Keion Brooks Turnover. That would be the last gasp for the Huskies as Stanford would run away to finish off Washington by a score of 81 to 69.
Spencer Jones would lead the Cardinal on Senior day with 21 points and Michael O’Connell chipped in 11 assists by constantly finding open three-point shooters all game.
The Huskies were led by Jamal Bey with a season-high 21 points on 6-11 shooting and 3-6 from 3 in a wasted effort. Keion Brooks would add in 17 points and Braxton Meah would score 11 points, all in the 2nd half.
The poor defense, especially defending the 3-point ball was the big story for the Huskies. Stanford would shoot 12-24 (50%) and were shooting over 50% from the field until the walk-ons came on in the last few minutes. Stanford would shoot close to 60% in the 2nd half and collected 25 assists on 29 field goals. Nightmare game for the Huskies as Washington would shoot 4-17 (24%) from 3 and the 3-pointer would turn out to be the big difference of the ball game.
The Huskies move to 16-14 overall and 8-11 in conference with one more game in the regular season left on the schedule. The Huskies host the cross-state rival Washington State Cougars on Thursday for the regular season finale at 8 pm.