Uploaded: Sunday, February 3, 2013, 5:11 PM
Oh my Josh! Stanford men sneak back into race
|==B By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Josh Huestis may fly under the radar for the most part though Stanford men's basketball coach Johnny Dawkins and his teammates understand his value.
Huestis scored 16 points, had 13 rebounds, was 5 of 6 from the foul line and threw in two blocked shots as the Cardinal suddenly found itself within shouting distance of first place in the Pac-12 Conference.
Stanford beat visiting Oregon State, 81-73, Sunday to earn the home sweep of the Oregon schools and advance to within two games of co-leaders Arizona and Oregon.
The Cardinal (5-4, 14-8) travels to Tucson to meet the Wildcats on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. (ESPNews) and then goes to Arizona State for a 4 p.m . contest Saturday (ESPNU).
Stanford is a game behind the Sun Devils and UCLA and is tied with California and Washington in fifth place.
"We have a special opportunity," Stanford guard Chasson Randle said. "Our goal is to win the Pac-12. Early on it may not have felt or looked that way, but guys are stepping up and it's going to be tough. We'll keep fighting it out."
The Cardinal has a lot to do with the tightening race after handing the Ducks their first conference loss on Wednesday. Stanford gets another chance to make things interesting with its games in Arizona.
Huestis has also had an effect on Stanford's title hopes. He recorded his second straight double-double and his fourth of the season. He hit a key jumper in the final minute and followed that with a huge blocked shot of Devon Collier on the other end.
"I'll take the blocks any time," Huestis said. "It helps us defensively by stopping them from scoring and gives us another opportunity to go on offense. Defense is a huge part of our game."
Huestis has been a big part of what Stanford has accomplished.
"I'm just proud of his overall development," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "He works hard and it's showing results. He's been steady, one of our most dependable players all year."
Huestis was also on the receiving end of an eye-popping pass that he turned into a 3-pointer with just over six minutes left to play.
Randle found himself trapped in the far corner along the baseline. He did the only thing he could, throwing a baseball pass along under the basket to Huestis, who was standing in the other corner.
"That was happening while I was trying to call timeout," Dawkins said. "It was close to the basket and I was 'No, No, No . . . Yes!' I'm just glad it didn't hit the basket. We've actually practiced that shot along the baseline. It was a great pass and a great shot."
Randle finished with 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting, including a 4 of 6 effort from long range. The Cardinal was 14 of 25 from beyond the arc, its season best.
Dwight Powell added 14 points and John Gage contributed 12.
The Cardinal turned the ball over four times, all in the first half, and outscored Oregon State, 19-4, in points off turnovers.
"We really took care of the ball," Huestis said. "In a close game like this, it really helps."
Stanford also made its free throws after pulling ahead, connecting on all eight attempts in the final minute.
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