The Washington State Cougars fell to the Stanford Cardinal, 78-67, at Maple Pavilion on Wednesday night. The game was much closer than the final score indicates, as WSU held the lead late in the second half.
The first half started as expected. Both teams struggled to score. The Cougs couldn't buy a bucket, while Stanford couldn't hold onto the ball. The Cardinal did just enough to grab a 27-23 halftime lead. Mike Ladd kept WSU in the game early, hitting jumpers and scoring inside on his way to nine first-half points.
The second period is where both offenses really got going. WSU looked to be falling behind at one point, down six points and holding the ball. Then its big men got hot from beyond the arc. D.J. Shelton hit a ridiculous step-back three up against the shot clock, then hit another to tie the game. Brock Motum followed up with two threes of his own to finally get WSU the lead.
WSU built its lead to as much as five, but Stanford would battle back with hot three-point shooting of its own. The Cardinal seemed to answer every Cougar run with a deep three.
The Cougs held a 57-54 lead at one point, but it would be a long time before they would score again. Stanford would go on a 14-0 run after switching to a zone and befuddling the WSU offense. That run all but sealed the game for the Cardinal.
Motum started slow, but was huge in the second half, pouring in 21 points. He finished with 29 total on 11-24 shooting. This was despite Ernie Kent telling us that Stanford is some sort of Motum-stopper because he has scored just 6.4 points per game against them in his career. Kent and the Pac-12 Network are going to continue making themselves look like fools if they trot out stats like that (they did the same against UW, and created the same exact narrative). He was a role player for two seasons, you freaking morons. Death to tempo-dependent stats and the worthless "analysis" they beget.
Ladd finished with 15 points and Royce Woolridge had 10. Kent also told us repeatedly that having three players in double-figures makes a good team. Why didn't WSU win, Ernie? I'm so confused.
Aaron Bright was huge for Stanford. He scored a season-high 17 points and came through with big shots over and over again when the Cougs looked poised to make a big run. He was a key part of the Cardinal's insane shooting performance from the outside. A team that has hit on 29 percent coming in knocked down eight of 12 from downtown. Three-point shooting is generally random from game to game, so whatever.
The Cougs fly back to Pullman tonight, because they don't play again until Saturday against Cal.