Sports

The road turned wicked in Pac-12 hoops for the Cardinal men

 

All this confusion could have been avoided had the Stanford men's basketball team either played like Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde but not both, which has been the case this season.

The Cardinal let another Pac-12 Conference road game slip away Saturday, losing at Washington, 62-53, and now finds itself in an eighth-place tie with Oregon State heading into the final four games of the regular season.


Rosco Allen
Rosco Allen, who scored 20 points in the loss to the Huskies, has been one of the few consistently good players for Stanford (13-12, 6-8 Pac-12) and even he's had one or two off days.

In defense of the Cardinal's roller coaster ride, every team in the conference has seen its bouts with multiple personalities. That's why a pair of teams with four losses are atop the heap and it's why three to five others can still dream of winding up with a share of the title.

Stanford needs to win out just for a chance to tie for the title, and, with its road woes, the odds are stacked against the Cardinal.

Stanford's hopes of finishing at least sixth depends in large part on its own ability to win at home and, maybe, steal one on the road, and the tie-breaking procedures which will determine the final seeding for the conference tournament to be held in Las Vegas beginning March 9.

The Cardinal hosts USC (8-5 in the Pac-12) on Thursday at 8 p.m., in a conference contest that will likely determine if Stanford will have a date for the post-season or not.

The best-case scenario has Utah beating the Trojans on Sunday and then having USC get swept in the Bay Area. The Trojans also have the Oregon schools left on their schedule.

Should Arizona, Oregon, California and Utah end up as the top four seeds, that would benefit the Cardinal, which could hold an edge over USC if it comes to that.

There's still the problem of Colorado and Washington, which hold a combined 3-0 record against Stanford. The Huskies will play at the Oregon schools and The Buffaloes have the Arizona schools and Utah remaining.

Deciphering the possibilities won't mean much if the Cardinal is tripped up at home this weekend. UCLA visits Maples Pavilion at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Bruins are the ones who beat Arizona and then turned around and lost to Washington State.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Stanford and the Huskies were tied at halftime and the Cardinal clamped down on Andrew Andrews, the Pac-12's leading scorer who was held without a field goal.

Something went amiss in the second half.

"Second half we weren't as poised as we needed to be," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "They are long, active, very athletic and I don't think we showed the poise you need to have against a team like that."

Michael Humphrey, who had a game-high 10 rebounds, was not a factor offensively, two days after scoring a career-high 26 points in a win over Washington State. He was 10-of-14 in Pullman but 1-of-14 in Seattle.

Stanford also committed 20 turnovers, which resulted in a 23-12 edge for the Huskies.

"Twenty turnovers, I think maybe that's the most we've had all year, or right up there," Dawkins said. "We're typically a team that won't turn the ball over very much, so that was disappointing. We didn't handle the ball as well as we usually do."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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