Sports

Cardinal men move on in the Pac-12 Conference tournament

 

Dwight Powell scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, Chasson Randle added 22 points and Stanford beat Washington State, 74-63, Wednesday in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

The sixth-seeded Cardinal (20-11) meets third-seeded Arizona State at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in a quarterfinal match.

Anthony Brown scored 12 points and led the team with seven rebounds. Josh Huestis added 12 points and a pair of blocked shots.

Stephen Nastic added 10 points as Stanford won its second straight after losing its previous three.

Stanford likely put itself in a good position to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008.

The Cardinal entered the tournament ranked 43rd in the NCAA's RPI and with a solid strength of schedule. With wins over Connecticut, Oregon, UCLA and Arizona State this year, Stanford can pad its resume for the NCAA selection committee.

"What's nice is we still have a chance to accomplish one of our goals and that's to win a Pac-12 championship," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Right now we're 1-0 and we want to keep building on that."

The Cardinal split its season series with the Sun Devils, each winning at home. Arizona State knocked off Stanford, in overtime, in the first round of last year's tournament.

"They're great team," Powell said. "They have a lot of weapons. We have to come with defensive mindset and try to upset what they are try to do."

The Cougars, who upset UCLA in their final regular-season game, took over to start the second half, building a 50-47 advantage with 9:26 remaining to play in the contest.

"We had to be aggressive," Powell said. "We had to attack on all cylinders, offensively and defensively."

Powell sparked a Stanford rally, hitting a 3-pointer to tie it. Huestis blocked a shot on the next possession, leading to Brown's layup that put the Cardinal ahead to play.

"We've been battled tested and have played in a lot of close games," Dawkins said. "Dwight stepped up and hit that 3-pointer to tie it and I was proud of the guys for keeping their composure."

Stanford eventually built a 68-59 edge heading into the final timeout.

"I haven't been to the tournament personally and it's always been a dream of mine," Powell said.

Randle led Stanford in the first half, scoring 14 of his points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Cardinal up, 35-28, at the intermission.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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