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January 13, 2013

Takeaways: Washington 65 - Stanford 60

On a day when the 2013 Rose Bowl champion Stanford football was honored at halftime, the Stanford men's basketball team put forth a spirited effort but was ultimately unable to achieve the same outcome that football has so many times over the past seasons.

The Card was outscored 7-2 in the final 3:38 and lost 65-50 to visiting Washington before 4,451 fans at Maples Pavilion. The loss drops Stanford to 1-3 in conference play. Here's our takeaways from the disappointing defeat.

An opportunity wasted: With Stanford training by two and 39 seconds remaining, Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins called timeout to set up an offensive play. Though it showed promise, the play didn't conclude the way Dawkins and Stanford had hoped. Dwight Powell drove deep into the lane and missed on a tough look, with Washington post Aziz N'Diaye looming nearby.

"I liked Dwight's move at the end," Dawkins said. "I thought he had an opportunity to spin back and get a little better layup in the lane, and unfortunately you're not in those positions that often so you're learning to do those things and I think having him watch the tape and re-watch the tape he'll figure out I could have countered with something else. I thought we put the ball in our best player's hand at the time, and at that point you want him to make a play for you."

Dawkins said that the play included multiple options, which could have resulted in opportunities for Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright, but that he had no problem with Powell's choice to drive to the basket.

"He had a matchup he could go with," Dawkins said. "And he did. It's just that (Washington center Aziz) N'Diaye stayed at the basket and he got so close. The close you get to the basket the closer you get to N'Diaye, I think he made him alter the shot a little."

Three-point woes: Stanford has had some success shooting the ball from three-point range in recent weeks, but the Card struggled mightily from beyond the arc tonight. Stanford was only 3-17 from deep (compared to 4-10 for Washington), a 17.6 percent clip.

"I thought our looks were good to be quite frank," Dawkins said. "I envisioned several that our looks that we got, guys were pretty much wide open. Unfortunately they didn't go down tonight. We've been shooting the three pretty well the last three or four games in a row and tonight just wasn't one of those nights for our guys, but I though the looks we got were good. I thought the first half execution was really good, ball movement, we did that really well. The second half I didn't think we moved the ball as well, I didn't think our spacing was as good. But we still got pretty good looks from the three."

Stanford guard Chasson Randle, who didn't start the game because he was late to shootaround but still finished with 16 points, said that Washington was closing out on perimeter shots, but that the Huskies weren't really doing anything too out of the ordinary.

"I don't really think so," Randle said. "They were closing out a little bit hard but that just opened up other things that we could have done that we didn't do like attacking the basket."

Falling behind the Pac: Regardless of the way the game transpired, the biggest takeaway from the loss is that for all of the veteran talent on this Stanford roster, the Card is 1-3, and the schedule isn't about to get any easier. Stanford hosts Cal next weekend, then travels to Utah and Colorado for a challenging road trip.

"It's very disappointing obviously," Powell said. "We have high hopes and high expectations for ourselves, but we're going to bounce back . We're not going to let it get us down. We have another game coming up this week, so we'll try to take the lessons that we have from this game and move forward."

Dawkins didn't identify anything specific that the team would work on this week before facing the Bears, instead saying that the Card would continue to try to improve their confidence and self-belief moving forward.

"I need to work on our kids understanding that they're a good team and understanding that we've been very competitive in every game we've played," Dawkins said. "Ours is a matter of getting over the hump. And getting over that hump is something that you have to learn how to do with any team, especially for a team that hasn't had guys in that position that often. And so that's where we are and we have to continue them understanding where their psyche is. We're a good team. And we have to continue to go out and work like one. We have to get better this week. And look to show those improvements next week when we play again."

Football Festivities A small but enthusiastic crowd greeted the 2013 Rose Bowl champion Stanford football team at halftime. After a brief video montage of Rose Bowl game highlights was shown, David Shaw, Stepfan Taylor and Sam Schwartzstein briefly addressed the fans, mostly expressing thanks for their support and reminding the audience that a lot of talent will return to The Farm next season.

The ceremony was punctuated by, of all things, a halfcourt shooting contest of sorts. Mike Sanford, Alex Carter, Anthony Wilkerson and Pep Hamilton heaved shots from midcourt. Sanford and Carter airballed their attempts, Wilkerson hit the top of the backboard before Hamilton, the last shooter of the ceremony, drained his attempt. The Stanford team and coaches proceeded to mob Hamilton at halfcourt, a fitting conclusion.


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