From this point in the season, the Stanford men's basketball team can't afford to lose another game if it has any hopes of reaching the postseason.
The Cardinal took that to heart on Thursday night as Josh Huestis scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Stanford pulled away down the stretch to beat Oregon State, 82-72, in Corvallis, Ore.
"It's always nice to win, said Huestis. "It will help guys get their spirits up. But we are far from done here, we have another game coming up, so we have to get ready for that one. We can celebrate tonight but tomorrow we have to start getting ready for Oregon."
Dwight Powell added 14 points and 11 rebounds in just 25 minutes of floor time. His driving dunk with 1:09 to go gave the Cardinal (16-11, 7-7 Pac-12) a 78-69 lead.
"This was a good road win," said Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins. "Oregon State is always a tough team and a good team. I'm just really proud of our guys' efforts. I thought we did a really good job executing the offense in the second half.
"Defensively, we were able to string together a few stops. They (Oregon State) are a tough offensive team. If you don't string together stops, they can score in bunches. I feel like our guys did a really good job of stringing together a few stops, which allowed us to extend the lead by a few possessions."
Huestis had just four points and one rebound in the first half, after which Oregon State led 35-34. Chasson Randle scored 12 of his 13 points in the first half to keep Stanford in it. The Cardinal led nearly the entire second half.
"Coach Dawkins always preaches the next play mentality," Huestis said. "I started slow, shots weren't falling for me and I was forcing some stuff. But it was just on to the next play for me and I knew if I kept trying to play through the offense and take my open shots that eventually they would fall and they did.
"Coach told us were down by 12 rebounds at the halftime and we pride ourselves on being a hard-working rebounding team. Dwight and I really took that to heart and we knew that in order for us to win this game we would have to hit the boards harder than we did the first half. We definitely did that in the second half."
"Josh is having a terrific season," said Dawkins. "Every night I keep raising the expectations for him higher and higher and he keeps meeting them or exceeding them. He just comes out to play every night. He competes and makes the plays that are available."
Andy Brown also scored 13 for Stanford, and Aaron Bright celebrated his birthday with 12 points and six assists. The last time Stanford placed five players in double figures was Jan. 7, 2012, during the Cardinal's 103-101 quadruple-overtime victory at Oregon State.
Roberto Nelson had 28 points to lead the Beavers (13-14, 3-11), who remain in a tie for 10th with Utah.
"It looked like it meant more to them (Stanford) than it did to us and that's the danger you run in, playing the way that we have this season," said OSU coach Craig Robinson. "There is no need to yell and scream, these guys have a game plan, they follow the game plan and we win. They don't follow the game plan and sometimes you still win, but not this season. We don't have enough horses to not do what we need to do and not execute and still win games.
"It's just at the key times, when you had to get stops and get the defensive rebound we didn't do that. So in those instances, those guys (Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell) overpowered us and we are just not used to seeing it. It is quite frustrating but we still have games to play so I have to keep these guys motivated to not let this happen again."
Stanford next visits No. 23 Oregon on Saturday at 5 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks).