Sports

Huestis helps Cardinal men trim the Cougars in Pac-12 play

 

Josh Huestis found himself with a bad case of senioritis. That's when you start thinking about the future and allow yourself to lose focus on the present.

Huestis knew he had to do something and quickly. Trimming off his Afro look seemed to be the perfect tonic.

Whatever ailed Huestis in a fruitless game against Oregon on turned into a horn of plenty against Washington State on Wednesday night.

Huestis and Anthony Brown, who looked like twins, each scored 15 points and the Cardinal pounded the Cougars, 80-48, its largest margin of victory in a conference game in 12 years.

Huestis, who has been growing out his hair since his sophomore season, missed all seven of his shot attempts in Stanford's victory over the Ducks in Eugene on Sunday.

He showed up to play against the Cougars, sporting a new hairstyle and hitting 7 of 10 shots overall.

"It was a decision I had to make," Huestis said. "I've been struggling and decided this could be a new beginning. Cutting my hair was a signal to the team that I had a new mindset."

Huestis had been talking with his coaches and family about his recent struggles and realized thinking about the future added unnecessary pressure on himself.

"As a senior I started thinking about where I might be after the season," Huestis said. "I let that control me a little bit too much. My coaches and family made me understand that I have to take care of things game by game and where I end up will take care of itself."

He surprised his teammates, his coaches and his parents when he showed up at Tuesday's practice without his signature full head of hair.

"I was in the back of the room at our meeting when we started to go over Washington State," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "I was starting to get a little angry thinking he wasn't there until I finally noticed he had his hair cut. I love it, especially if he plays like that."

Several people mistook Huestis for Brown, who has kept his hair short since arriving at Stanford. Huestis' mother gasped in surprise when she first saw it.

"I gave no hint that I was going to do it," Huestis said. "I didn't even tell my parents. My mom was surprised because of all the times I refused to get it cut."

Dwight Powell added 10 points for the Cardinal (11-5, 2-2 in the Pac-12), which won its second straight and six of eight overall. Marcus Allen added 11 points.

"It was a game full of emotion," Dawkins said. "We were coming off that win over Oregon and coming here to play at home. The first 16 minutes was nip and tuck and you never know if it will continue that way. I thought our guys did a good job the last four minutes of the first half and beyond."

Stanford led by as many as 32 points in the second half.

Robbie Lemons hit consecutive 3-pointers for the Cardinal as part of a 13-2 run over the final 4:14 of the first half that snapped a 27-all tie.

Chasson Randle hit a jumper at the buzzer to give Stanford a 41-29 halftime advantage.

Huestis, who averages 10.5 points a game, reached double figures for the first time in conference play.

Brown was 1 of 10 against Oregon State and is 15 of 19 in two games since.

"I use Anthony as inspiration," Huestis said. "He was struggling and then he came out and showed what he could do. I think we both learned how to bounce back."

Washington State shot over 44 percent from the field in the first half but was held to less than 30 percent in the second half, in which the Cougars scored 19 points.

Stanford received a season-high 28 points from its bench.

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