This game felt eerily similar to the conference opener for Stanford; they controlled the whole game, building a double digit lead, before allowing an offensive onslaught. But on Senior Night, Michael Humphrey, Dorian Pickens, and company were not about to let this one slip away.
The Stanford offense came out clicking on all cylinders, scoring 49 points in the first half and taking a 9 point lead into the break. They were getting all the looks they could ask for, and were hungrily cleaning up the leftovers. However, Washington State was converting an eye-popping 57 percent of their looks from the field.
As the game went on, Stanford was unable to quite put the game out of reach, keeping the lead around 10 to 12. They continued to score their fair share of buckets, but were unable to slow the well-spaced offense of Washington State.
The game came to a head when WSU converted a Humphrey miscue into a game tying layup, leaving just 36 seconds on the clock. Daejon Davis took the ball strong to the bucket, drew a foul, and made a pair of clutch free throws. With 10 seconds left, Malachi Flynn brought the ball up the court, isolated with Kezie Okpala’s long arms all over him. He took a difficult step back three, airballing it and allowing Stanford to escape with the victory.
Free throw shooting has plagued the Cardinal for much of the year, but Reid Travis, Kezie Okpala, and Daejon Davis combined to make their final eight free throws and hold off Washington State, 86-84; the conference’s second worst foul shooting team stepped up when it counted.
Stanford was led by the 20 of Okpala, who neared his career high set earlier this year in Pullman. Reid Travis had his normal 20 and 11, including 6 big offensive boards. Humphrey and Pickens had 16 and 14, respectively, as they ended their Maples careers with a big victory.
The Cougars came into the game sixth in Division I in three point makes per game. They were right at their average tonight with 11 makes on 23 attempts, catching fire down the stretch. Robert Franks scored 19 to lead the way, while Flynn and Drick Bernstine scored 16 apiece.
With the win and recent losses by Utah, Washington, and UCLA, Stanford currently finds itself in a tie for third in the conference. They will finish the season on the road against the Arizona schools. Arizona guard Allonzo Trier is currently ineligible with PED issues, while Arizona coach Sean Miller is suspended indefinitely with FBI evidence mounting that he was involved in the paying of DeAndre Ayton and perhaps other players.
Mike Montgomery and much of the 1998 Final Four team were in the house. The 20th anniversary of their memorable run was honored at halftime.