Cardinal sin; WSU men blown out by Stanford

The WSU men’s basketball team opened up its road trip to the Bay Area by playing the Stanford Cardinal Wednesday night.

The Cougars (8-9, 1-4) could not get their second straight Pac-12 win as they fell to the Cardinal (11-5, 2-2) by a score of 48-80.

“I think Stanford has a really good team,” WSU men’s basketball Head Coach Ken Bone said. “I think they’re one of the better teams in the conference, and I think at the end of the season they’ll be able to show that with their record. Right now they’re just 2-2 (in conference play) but they’re an outstanding ball club with a lot of talent, but yet we still should’ve performed better.”

It was the play of WSU redshirt freshman guard Que Johnson and redshirt junior guard Royce Woolridge that helped the Cougars get off to a strong start in the first half. Woolridge and Johnson helped the Cougars to a 24-20 lead in the first half with less than ten minutes to play. The two players combined scored the team’s first 24 points of the game.

“I thought they (Johnson and Woolridge) played real well early, and I thought we played decent, pretty good defense and pretty good offense,” Bone said.

However, the Cougars’ lead would soon diminish after key players got in foul trouble.

WSU was forced to sit three players on the bench with less than four minutes left in the first half. Johnson, redshirt junior guard Jordan Railey, and sophomore forward Junior Longrus each sat on the bench with two fouls. At that point Johnson had 15 points for the Cougars.

 “I wish I would’ve kept playing him (Johnson) because Que was a key part of our offense and he was doing a great job, but when he went out, we didn’t have other guys that stepped up,” Bone said.

With Johnson, Railey and Longrus on the bench and no DaVonte Lacy, the Cougars only managed to score two points in the last four minutes of the first half.

“Dexter (Kernich-Drew) struggled, D.J. (Shelton) did not hit a field goal, just really struggled to score baskets,” Bone said.

Stanford took advantage of the Cougars’ foul trouble by hitting multiple 3-pointers. Cardinal senior guard Robbie Lemons came off the bench and hit two 3-pointers to put the Cardinal up 38-29 with less than a minute left in the first half. Stanford junior guard Chasson Randle hit a running lay up to end the half and gave Stanford an 11 point lead at the half-way mark.

In the second half, the Cardinal did not let up and continued to extend their lead. While having a quiet first half, the Stanford big men came alive in the second half. Stanford senior forward Josh Huestis started off the second half for the Cardinal by nailing a 3-pointer and improved the lead to 16 with 17:55 left in the second half.

Stanford continued to give the ball to their big men, which WSU could not contain.

While only scoring four points in the first half, Huestis scored 11 points after the break, and Stanford senior forward Dwight Powell scored six points in the second half.

Johnson led WSU in scoring with 21 points and shot 8-of-15 from the field.

Woolridge was the second on the team in scoring with 13 points. Johnson and Woolridge were the only players who scored in double figures.

“I don’t know why we didn’t play with the same amount of effort intensity and energy, you know, we have to compete harder than that and we did not do it tonight,” Bone said. “Hopefully we can bounce back against Cal.”

Coming into last night’s game, the home team has won seven of the last nine meetings between Stanford and Washington State. For the first time since the expansion to a 12-team conference, the Cougars will face Stanford two times in one season. The next meeting between the teams is scheduled for Feb. 15 in Beasley Coliseum.

The Cougars will look for redemption Saturday at 1 p.m. against the California Golden Bears.