The Huskies open the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament with a 91-68 victory over the Cardinal. UW (18-13) moves on to the quarterfinals to face top-seeded Oregon on Thursday. Four Huskies scored in double figures including Dejounte Murray, who led all scorers with 25 points.
LAS VEGAS – One hour.
That’s how long Lorenzo Romar gave the Huskies to enjoy perhaps their most dominant performance of the season.
After the eighth-seeded Washington men’s basketball team trounced No. 9 seed Stanford 91-68 in Wednesday’s Pac-12 tournament opener, Romar stood in a tunnel at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and allowed himself a moment of joy.
“You’re hopeful for games like this,” he said. “And when they happen, it feels good. I have zero problems with what we did today.
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“I can’t say we played a perfect game. … But overall, I don’t have any major complaints.”
And how could he?
The Huskies held the Cardinal without a field goal for more than eight minutes at the start while building a 24-5 lead with 11:28 to go in the first half.
Washington (18-13) led 50-22 at halftime and never allowed Stanford to get closer than 20 points in the second half.
Four Huskies scored in double figures, including Dejounte Murray, who led all scorers with 25 points. That matched his tally from his previous meeting with Stanford – a 64-53 UW win three weeks ago.
Marquese Chriss (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Malik Dime (11 and 10) each had double-double outings while Andrew Andrews nearly notched the first triple-double in UW history. He finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
The Huskies took advantage of a short-handed Stanford team that’s without senior point guard Christian Sanders, who has missed the past four games while serving a suspension for violating a team rule.
“When we’re right and playing defense the way we’re supposed to be playing – I don’t think it really matters who brought the ball up,” Andrews said.
Pac-12 men’s tournament
Thursday: UW vs. Oregon, noon; Colorado vs. Arizona, 2:30 p.m.; USC vs. Utah, 6 p.m.; OSU vs. California, 8:30 p.m.
Friday: Semifinals, 6 and 8:30 p.m.
Saturday: Championship game, 7 p.m.
The Huskies zeroed in on shutting down senior forward Rosco Allen and held the first-team All-Pac-12 performer to 12 points on 2-for-11 shooting.
Stanford (15-15), which received 17 points from Dorian Pickens and 13 from Marcus Allen, shot 29.2 percent in the first half.
Washington enjoyed 52.9 percent shooting in the first half and was 50 percent for the game.
“Our guys came out with tremendous focus today, just really dialed in offensively and defensively,” Romar said. “Guys played very unselfish basketball on the offensive and defensive end.
“Today we could have beaten a lot of teams playing that way.”
It was UW’s most lopsided win against a conference opponent this season and the largest margin of victory since nonconference routs in December.
“I don’t know if it was the best, (but we) haven’t played like that in a long time,” Romar said.
It was the type of performance that will tempt hasty Huskies fans to fantasize about cutting down championship nets and refresh their Big Dance dreams.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time for Washington, which needs a strong showing this week in Las Vegas to preserve its NCAA tournament hopes.
Following UW’s first victory in the conference tournament in three years, Romar was more interested in talking about Thursday’s noon quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded Oregon (25-6) than rehashing the past.
“We’re getting ready to meet in an hour as a staff,” he said. “I’ve turned the page. This game is over with. Yeah. That’s it.
“We got to get on it and move on. Oregon beat us the last time. Oregon is a top-10 team in the country. They’re No. 1 in our league. We have a tough challenge for us. We got to focus on them right away.”
• Dime had three blocks, which pushed his total to 85 and ties UW’s single-season record that was set by Robert Upshaw in 19 games last season.
• Washington blocked seven shots, which puts the Huskies at 210 for the season and one shy of the Pac-12 record held by Arizona State.
• Chriss broke the Pac-12 single-season record for most personal fouls as he collected his fourth foul at the 16:55 mark of the second half, giving him 127 for the season.