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WSU Basketball: Cougars fall to Stanford, 80-48

WSU was tied with Stanford after 16 minutes, but the Cardinal used some hot perimeter shooting to take the lead near the end of the first half and never looked back.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

WSU hung tough early on the road against Stanford thanks to some hot shooting from Que Johnson, but once the Cardinal caught fire for some hot 3-point shooting of their own, it was game over for the Cougars, who would go on to lose 80-48.

Johnson would finish with a game-high 21 points.

The majority of the first half was a nip-and-tuck affair, with the Cougs actually holding a one-point lead at 25-24 with about 5:30 remaining and tied at 27 with just over four minutes to go. Que Johnson paced the offense, hitting 6-of-7 shots including all three 3-pointers. Up until that point, the WSU defense had been stout, forcing Stanford into a slow-paced halfcourt game that caused them difficulties with scoring in the paint.

But then Johnson picked up his second foul, and as he went to the bench, the offense went with him. And even worse: Stanford got hot from distance.

The Cardinal finished the first half on a 13-2 run, fueled by a pair of threes from Robbie Lemons, a 2-of-17 shooter from 3 before the game. (He'd add another one to more than double his season total in this one game.) Stanford then opened the second half on an 18-4 run over the first six minutes, and what was a competitive game had turned into a laugher in just 10 minutes of game time.

It's tough to get too upset about the result, given how well the team played for almost the entire first half. While the final margin stinks, this is the sort of thing that can sometimes happen on the road when a superior opponent gets on a bit of a roll. Although the loss of composure is disappointing -- especially the way the defense fell apart, fundamentally -- this still is a relatively inexperienced team, especially at the guard position with DaVonte Lacy still on the sideline.

That said, 30-point losses -- no matter if they come after a strong start -- aren't a real good look for a coach who is coaching for his job.

D.J. Shelton continued his aggressiveness around the rim, but he's having some serious finishing -- he was 0-for-6 on his twos and his body language suggests he's expecting a bad result when he puts up a shot.

Stanford purposed to take away Dexter Kernich-Drew, who doesn't possess a dynamic enough game to squeeze off shots when confronted with added attention; he was just 2-of-5 for five quiet points.

The Cougars now head to Berkeley for a 1 p.m. tip against California on Saturday.