STANFORD, Calif. — Predictably, Washington was out of sync offensively in the first of many games without point guard Quade Green, who has been ruled academically ineligible by the school and will miss the remainder of the regular season and Pac-12 Tournament.
Whether or not Green rejoins UW in the NCAA tournament (if they are chosen) is a question for another day.
For the foreseeable future, the Huskies must adapt without their floor general and if Thursday’s 61-55 defeat at Stanford is any indication, then it’s going to be a tall task.
“It’s a little bit different,” coach Mike Hopkins said. “It’s got to be by committee. For the most part defense travels and you’ve got to make sure you have that.
“For the most part, the defense was great and I don’t know what happened (offensively). The air went out of the balloon.”
Washington squandered a 12-point lead in the second half and was outscored 26-8 in the final nine minutes of its Pac-12 road opener.
“I felt like this game and in a couple of others, we had control and lost it,” Hopkins said. “It looked like we got rattled a little bit.
“We’ve got to keep working on foul shots, got to work on not throwing the ball away and taking away the three. It’s a really easy formula for us.”
The equation gets increasingly complicated on a night when the Huskies finished with more turnovers (21) than field goals (20).
Washington also had a season-low five assists.
Jaden McDaniels (18 points and 15 rebounds) and Nahziah Carter (16 points) carried the Huskies offensively, but they were severely short-handed.
Already missing Green, their fourth-leading scorer who averages 11.6 points per game, Washington’s offense stalled when Stanford sent waves of double teams to negate freshman star forward Isaiah Stewart.
“That was a key that they weren’t able to get buckets inside too often,” Cardinal coach Jerod Haase said. “The guys swarmed around and executed the game plan.”
Stewart finished with a career-low four points, which was 15 fewer than his season average, and converted just 2 of 8 shots.
Even still, Washington controlled the game for 30 minutes thanks in part to a 46-32 rebounding advantage.
Ahead 47-35 with 11:55 left, the Huskies needed a closer who was capable of making clutch shots in the final minutes.
After Stanford used a 7-0 run to cut UW’s lead to 47-42, McDaniels and Carter combined for five points to push Washington ahead 54-47 with 4:28 left.
However, the Huskies (11-5, 1-2 Pac-12) scored just one point the rest of the way.
Stanford junior guard Daejon Davis, the former Garfield High standout and UW signee, sank an off-balance three-pointer as the shot clock expired to tie the score at 55-55 with 2:41 remaining.
Soon after, freshman guard Tyrell Terry put the Cardinal up for good with another three-pointer that gave Stanford a 58-55 lead and sent the crowd of 5,328 at Maples Pavilion into a frenzy.
Spencer Jones finished with a team-high 14 points, Davis had 12 and Oscar da Silva chipped in 11 for the Cardinal (13-2, 2-0), which closed with a 9-0 run.
At the other end, Washington wilted offensively while converting just 1 of its final 7 field goals.
“We were just rushing,” McDaniels said. “In the first half we were getting open shots and we went away from that.”
Internally, the Huskies have been dealing with Green’s looming academic troubles for weeks, but Thursday’s announcement potentially jeopardizes Washington’s postseason aspirations.
Sophomore point guard Elijah Hardy made his first career start while filling in for Green and finished with two points on 1-for-7 shooting, three assists and three turnovers in a career-high 31 minutes.
“It’s a very difficult situation for him,” Hopkins said. “I thought for the most part he was good. He’s just got to find guys and control the offense at the end.
“We had so many different lineups in there it looked like scrambled eggs for a little bit. That’s what happens when you lose a guy like Quade.”