Sports

Wildcats humble Stanford men in Pac-12 basketball action

 

Perhaps competing with the Academy Awards on Sunday night helped the Stanford men's basketball team keep a low profile. The Cardinal's performance in a 79-66 loss to host Arizona would not have even made the nominations.

The Wildcats are the No. 3 team in the nation and Stanford (9-7 Pac-12, 18-10 overall) did turn what might have been a disaster into just another defeat against a good team.

After showing some life in winning five of six before heading to the desert, Stanford has lost two straight and heads into the home stretch needing to win its remaining two games to hold onto its berth in the NCAA tournament.

The week starts Wednesday with a 6 p.m. contest against visiting Colorado, which could use a victory to settle its postseason hopes. Stanford is tied with the Buffaloes and California for fourth place in the Pac-12.

The Cardinal has split its season series with Cal and third-place Arizona State. Stanford and Colorado will be meeting for the only time and the victor will enjoy the tie-breaking come conference tournament time.

The Golden Bears hold the tie-breaker over Stanford because of their win over Arizona. The Cardinal will need help to finish fourth and claim a first-round bye in Las Vegas.

Stanford needs to take care of business at home. Utah, a game behind the fourth-place trio, can still dream of attending the Big Dance too. The Utes come to Stanford on Saturday for an 11:30 a.m. contest.

The Cardinal was outmanned by Arizona, which built a 25-point lead before Stanford trimmed some of the fat off the advantage. The Cardinal looked so good against the Wildcats in January at Maples Pavilion.

Forget the Pac-12 tournament, Stanford's season is on the line this week. Two victories will most certainly mean a spot on somebody's dance card come NCAA tournament time. The Cardinal can start its coming-of-age celebration will two solid efforts at home.

Josh Huestis played like he wanted to show he was capable of playing with the big boys. He scored a game-high 22 points and had 12 rebounds, throwing in a blocked shot for good measure.

Anthony Brown scored 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting, including five points in the final 1:05 of the first half that had to bring hope into halftime despite trailing, 41-28. Before Brown, who led the team with four assists, scored those points, the Wildcats were up by 18.

Dwight Powell added 12 points and eight rebounds.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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