Sometimes the game of basketball is more simple than we think. Put the ball in the basket, and you win.
And the Stanford Cardinal did just that against WSU, shooting a blistering 54.8% from the field and draining 9 of 13 three-point attempts.
The Cougars' (12-10, 4-6 Pac-10) defense was befuddled by a trio of Cardinal players in double figures. Big man WIll Paul was 5 for 5 (3 for 3 from three) and scored 13 points, matching the total of teammate Anthony Goods. But the real star for Stanford (14-6, 4-6) was Lawrence Hill. The senior forward notched 20 points on 8 of 9 shooting.
Washington State was led by Klay Thompson with 18 points, and Aron Baynes who chipped in 16 and 9 rebounds. But Baynes was rattled by a physical Stanford defense, committing a game-high six turnovers.
After letting WSU jump out to an early eight point lead, Stanford made its next three buckets and never stopped missing. Stanford took a one-point lead into halftime, and pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Cougars by ten after intermission.
The eFG of 65.5% was easily the worst WSU has allowed during the conference season.
Player of the Game: Thopmson. 18 points (7/14, 2/3 3pt), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 0 turnovers.
Play of the Game: Aron Baynes' dunk off an offensive rebound with 17:52 remaining brought the Cougars within two, but it was the closest they would get for the remainder of the game.
It was over when... 91% free-throw shooter Taylor Rochestie missed the front end of a 1 and 1 with 6:38 remaining and the Cougs down nine.
Stat of the night: The 9 of 13 three-pointers made by Stanford. You simply aren't going to beat anyone if you defend the perimeter that poorly.
The Cougars were pretty even with Stanford in three of the four factors (see chart above). It was the shooting that was the difference in the end.