UW beats Stanford 78-61, ends 0-7 hex away from home
STANFORD, Calif. — Finally.
After seven attempts, the Huskies broke their road losing streak and beat Stanford 78-61 at Maples Pavilion on Saturday night.
“It’s been a long time coming,” senior Quincy Pondexter said. “That’s all it’s been. We’ve been waiting for this.”
It’s been 357 days since the Huskies walked off an opponent’s home court with a victory. The last time: Feb. 21, 2009, at USC.
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“It feels great to get that off our back,” said Isaiah Thomas, who scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half. “This game we really played unselfish.
“Usually on the road, we keep the ball to one side. We don’t rotate. Little things like that. But this game we reversed the ball. Being unselfish and just trying to win. Doing everything we can to get the win.”
Snapping a seven-game road losing streak and handing Stanford its first defeat at home wasn’t easy for the Huskies. They led by as many as 15 points (42-27) late in the first half, but the Cardinal nearly erased all of Washington’s lead.
Trailing 43-32 at halftime, Stanford outscored UW 16-7 after the break.
Cardinal sophomore guard Jeremy Green intercepted a Thomas pass and outraced the Huskies for a layup, trimming Washington’s advantage to 50-48 with 13:35 left.
Making matters worse for UW, defensive ace Justin Holiday, who was defending the Pac-10 leading scorer Landry Fields, collected his fourth foul and went to the bench with 11:05 remaining.
Momentum wore Cardinal, the 6,932 Stanford fans anticipated another comeback victory — the Cardinal came from 18 down to beat Washington State on Thursday — and the Huskies’ woes loomed in the minds of many UW fans.
“I didn’t think about it (the streak) one time,” Romar said. “I didn’t think uh-oh, the road.”
Without Holiday, Romar turned to Pondexter and during a timeout he said: “You’re a senior. Show us what you got. I know you got it.”
Pondexter explained the conversation this way: “He said this is your senior moment. Show them why you are, who you are. Show them you’re the best player in the country.”
Pondexter and Fields, two of the leading Pac-10 Player of the Year candidates, took center stage in the final 10 minutes.
While they waged a personal battle, Stanford cut the deficit to two points (54-52) again.
That’s when Pondexter took over. He tallied four straight points and six in the final minutes as UW outscored Stanford 24-9 the rest of the game.
Fields, who finished with 17 points, missed two shots and was scoreless during the critical stretch.
“We stayed together as a team,” Pondexter said. “We’ve been through all types of situations this season on the road. We didn’t want that sad feeling in the locker room and on the trip home after this game. We buckled down and cleaned up our mistakes.”
During the decisive spurt, Thomas and Elston Turner connected on consecutive game-turning three-pointers that put UW up 64-55 with 6:27 left.
On Washington’s next possession, reserve forward Darnell Gant tapped in a missed Thomas three-pointer that sucked the life out of the crowd.
Fittingly, it was Pondexter who delivered the knockout blow and provided the play of the game.
Leading by 12 with less than three minutes remaining, he poked the ball away from Fields at the top of the key. Both players dove on the court, scrambling for possession.
Pondexter appeared to slide across the floor with the ball before flipping a pass from his back at midcourt to Gant, who flushed a dunk that sealed the victory and capped three months of frustration.
“We’ve had games where we wished if we had done this different or that different,” Pondexter said. “We’re just figuring it out. I know it’s February, but we’re figuring it out. We’re getting better.”
Junior center Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who replaced redshirt freshman forward Tyreese Breshers and returned to the starting lineup, finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Holiday had 10 points and seven rebounds for Washington (17-8, 7-6 Pac-10).
Green scored 17 points and Jack Trotter had 10 for Stanford (11-14, 5-8).
Pondexter was happy the Huskies won’t have to field any more questions about why they can’t win on the road.
“Thank God,” he said. “But that question is going to be lingering because we haven’t won that many games on the road. We know that.
“We’re going to have to take the next three (road games) one at a time. We’ve got to take what we learned today and take it on the road.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Percentages: FG .419, FT .769. Three-point goals: 6-17, .353 (Thomas 4-10, Turner 2-3, Overton 0-1, Suggs 0-1, Pondexter 0-2). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 1 (Thomas). Turnovers: 5 (Overton 2, Suggs, Thomas, Pondexter). Steals: 5 (Pondexter, Bryan-Amaning, Turner, Thomas, Overton). Technical fouls: Gaddy.
Percentages: FG .418, FT .458. Three-point goals: 4-18, .222 (Fields 1-1, Igbinosa 1-3, Shiller 1-5, Green 1-9). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 2 (Trotter, Mann). Turnovers: 11 (Mann 3, Green 3, Zimmermann 2, Fields, Shiller, Igbinosa). Steals: 2 (Green, Dildy). Technical fouls: Dildy.
Attendance: 6,932. Officials: Randall McCall, Mike Scyphers, Kurt Walker.