Sports

The Cardinal men need another successful Pac-12 road trip

 

Stanford's recent success on the road has helped earn it a spot in the upper half of the Pac-12 men's basketball race.

The Cardinal (6-4 in the Pac-12, 15-7 overall) would like nothing better than to continue that upward mobility this week, beginning with Wednesday's 6 p.m. game at Washington, to be aired on ESPN2.

Stanford has won three of its last four road games and much of it had to do with mental toughness and the willingness to fight through some adversity.

To beat Washington (5-6, 13-11), the Cardinal will again have to figure out how to win in Seattle. The Huskies are unbeaten at home in conference play and 11-2 there overall.

Washington has won eight of the past 10 meetings, including four straight on its home court.

Stanford enters play in a fifth-place tie with California, a half-game behind co-third-place Arizona State and Colorado and a game behind second-place UCLA. Arizona has a 2 1/2 game lead over the Bruins.

A victory could put the Cardinal smack dab into the middle of things. At the least Stanford would grab a share of third, and possibly second. UCLA hosts the Buffaloes and the Sun Devils host Arizona this week.

Stanford's focus is on the Huskies, whom it defeated at home, 79-67, earlier in the season. Chasson Randle went off for 33 points and both Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis recorded a double-double.

Anthony Brown's defense on Washington's C.J. Wilcox, the Pac-12's second-leading scorer behind Oregon State's Roberto Nelson, was another key to the victory. Wilcox, who has made more 3-point shots (72) than anyone else in the conference, was held to a season-low nine points.

Randle, fourth in the conference in scoring with his 18.8 average, probably won't need to score as many points but Wilcox will have to be kept in check again for the Cardinal to have a shot at sweeping the Huskies for the first time in six years.

Powell has been remarkable all season and he's shown an ability to step up just when Stanford needs him. Despite a 5 of 17 shooting night in last week's 80-69 victory over the Golden Bears, he was not distracted from making an impact on the game with his rebounding, free throw shooting (11 of 14) and play-making (six assists).

"Whether he is on the perimeter or the post, people have to pay so much attention to what he does," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "He makes guys better. He's shown he's one of the best players in this conference."

Powell averages 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and leads the Cardinal with 87 assists and 32 steals.

He's among the top 10 in rebounding and blocked shots in Stanford history. Powell needs 21 boards to match John Revelli (798) for seventh all-time and 11 blocks to move into a sixth-place tie with Howard Wright (121). He's also three steals from taking over the No. 10 spot from Wolfe Perry (112).

Huestis is closing in on Stanford's all-time blocked shots record. He's five shy of matching Tim Young's mark of 167.

The Cardinal, which shot over 54 percent from the field against Washington in its last meeting, will once more have to take advantage of the Huskies, who are last in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense.

Stanford ranks second in the Pac-12 in 3-point field goal percentage, with Brown and John Gage among the individual leaders in that category.

The Cardinal also travels to Pullman this week, taking on Washington State (2-9, 9-14) at 4 p.m., a game to be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

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