Once again, the Huskies made all the “wow” plays.
They had Nahziah Carter soaring to the rim for a crowd-pleasing fast-break dunk at the end of the first half. They had Carter tossing an alley-oop pass from near mid-court to Isaiah Stewart who flushed on Stanford’s Tyrell Terry.
They had Carter flying around defensively and swatting shots into the seats and they had RaeQuan Battle draining a three-pointer despite being fouled for a rare four-point play.
But like so many games during its five-week skid, Washington’s offense went cold at the worst possible moment and its second-half drought ultimately proved to be the difference in a 72-64 defeat at Alaska Airlines Arena.
On Thursday night, the Huskies went without a field goal for more than 8 1/2 minutes while losing control of the game and failing to keep pace with the Cardinal at the end.
“They did a really good denying the wings and taking us out of rhythm,” coach Mike Hopkins said. “We were slow in our pace and standing around. It allows teams like that to get up and overplay.
“It forces us into a lot of where we couldn’t run our offense. We had late shot-clock (shots) or you get a contested bad shot and you’re just not going to win like that. Just can’t do it. That was the biggest difference in the second half.”
Washington (12-15, 2-12 Pac-12) dropped its ninth straight game, which is tied for the second longest losing streak in school history.
Since starting 10-2, the Huskies are 2-13 and just 1-11 without point guard Quade Green, who is academically ineligible.
For the third straight game, Washington was undone by a prolonged inability to score after building a second-half lead.
“We can win any game we play,” Hopkins said. “What I told them tonight, we’re not going to win any games shooting 26 percent in the second half and 20 percent from the three-point line.
“We’re just not. How do you solve that? … Some of these teams just completely take you out of what you want to do and you got to go and make a play. And we weren’t able to make plays.”
Neither team led by more than four points in a closely contested first half that had 12 lead changes and nine ties.
It was an expected slow start between two of the best defensive teams in the Pac-12. The Cardinal entered the game first in the conference in points allowed (61.7) while the Huskies were tops in opponent’s field-goal percentage (37.8).
With Washington trailing 17-14, freshman forward Jaden McDaniels collected his third foul with 11:04 remaining before halftime and sat out the rest of the first half.
The Huskies were already short-handed in the front court without Hameir Wright (illness) and Nate Roberts (head injury) who did not play.
Sam Timmins received his first start of the season in place of Wright and provided an immediate lift. The senior forward, who flushed a two-handed jam in traffic, made a nifty behind-the-back pass to Jamal Bey for a layup and found Battle for a layup.
Washington led 37-35 at halftime and went up 47-43 after Battle’s four-play at the 16:03 mark.
However, the Huskies didn’t score another field goal until Timmins’ dunk with 7:33 remaining.
During the 8:30-minute drought between baskets, McDaniels picked up his fourth foul with 14:09 left and went to the bench for nine minutes.
“When we played UCLA earlier in the year and he got that foul and got that fourth I decided to play him because I wanted him to be in the rhythm of the game and can you play without fouling and having that biting us at the end,” Hopkins said. “So I waited. … If we could kind of keep the separation to 2, 4, 6 points or two possessions.”
Nothing worked offensively for the Huskies.
Stewart, who had a team-high 14 points, was smothered by double teams and harassed into five turnovers.
Marcus Tsohonis had 11 points while Carter and Battle finished with 10 apiece for Washington, which converted just 4 of 24 three-pointers.
Following Battle’s three-pointer and free throw, Stanford went on a 20-5 run while Washington went 1 for 17 on field goals. The spurt ended with Oscar da Silva’s layup that gave the Cardinal a 64-52 lead with 2:46 left.
Washington never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Stanford (17-9, 6-7) received a game-high 16 points from da Silva, Tyrell Terry scored 14, Spencer Jones 12 and former Garfield High star Daejon Davis added nine points.
The Huskies were outscored 37-27 in the second half.
“We tried to adapt,” Hopkins said talking about the makeshift lineups with Timmins and backup center Bryan Penn-Johnson. “We just got a lot of empty possessions where it was a throw up rather than them being able to get a good shot with execution, speed and precision.”
— Stewart had four blocks Thursday to set the UW freshman record with 60 and break a tie with former record-holder Marquese Chriss.