STANFORD, Calif. — Well-traveled, wearing down and staring an historical start in the face, Washington did just enough to be able to rest with smiles.
The Huskies beat Stanford, 65-60, in a sedate, less-than-half filled Maples Pavilion on Saturday night.
For the first time in 101 years, Washington (11-5 overall, 3-0 Pac-12) has won three consecutive road games to start conference play.
Per usual, C.J. Wilcox was the trigger man offensively. He scored a season-high 27 points and added nine rebounds.
Center Aziz N’Diaye continued his powerful Pac-12 play with 14 points, seven rebounds and several bone-rattling screens that often freed Wilcox. N’Diaye, who entered the game as a 44 percent free-throw shooter, was even went 4-for-4 from the line.
The Huskies are one of four unbeaten teams in Pac-12 play, along with UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State. The Ducks and Sun Devils play today in Eugene, Ore.
“I’ve said this several times, I just couldn’t be prouder of our team,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.
But, it wasn’t easy.
In the final minute, Abdul Gaddy drove with the shot clock winding down and missed a layup attempt over Stanford big man Josh Huestis, who had switched to him. Stanford (10-7, 1-3) grabbed the rebound and called timeout down 62-60 with 39.4 seconds to go.
After the timeout, Josh Powell drove at Desmond Simmons and missed a baseline shot over him and N’Diaye. Wilcox grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made one free throw to stretch Washington’s lead to 63-60.
Stanford guard Aaron Bright, a Bellevue High graduate, missed in the lane and Simmons secured the rebound, hit Wilcox with an outlet and his left-handed layup ended the scoring with 6.1 seconds to play. Stanford missed a meaningless layup just before the buzzer.
Wilcox’s pull-up shot with 11:38 to go in the second half gave Washington a 49-43 lead, which prompted timeout by the Huskies.
Romar searched for ways to manage his team through the final game of four consecutive road contests, starting at Connecticut on Dec. 29.
Wilcox and Stanford’s Chasson Randle (16 points) dueled in the first half. Randle didn’t start because he was late for the pregame shootaround, but once he entered the game, he was a headache for the Huskies.
Randle had 13 points at the half, matching his season average, after 6-for-7 shooting from the field.
Then Wilcox slowed him in the second half, at one point shoving a shot back into his face when Randle tried to bump him off a spot.
Wilcox was 5-for-8 shooting and added six rebounds in the first half, exceeding his season average on the boards by the break.
Wilcox moved past Bryant Boston and into 36th on Washington’s all-time scoring list. He has double-figure scoring ins in 15 of Washington’s 16 games this season. He has scored 20 or more points nine times this season and 17 times in his career.
Washington’s improved defense the previous two games didn’t show in the first half. Stanford, which is last in conference field-goal percentage at 40.9 percent coming into the game, shot 51.7 percent from the field.
Then the Huskies locked Stanford up. The Cardinal shot 26.7 percent in the second half.
“I’m ecstatic we were able to do this,” Romar said.
©2013 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.). Visit The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) at www.TheNewsTribune.com. Distributed by MCT Information Services.