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February 28, 2013

Takeaways: Colorado 65 - Stanford 63

Stanford's disappointing season continued on Wednesday night, as the Card dropped their penultimate home game of the year, 65-63, to visiting Colorado.

Stanford let a pair of double-digit leads (one early in the first half, one in the second) slip away, and Dwight Powell's dunk at the buzzer, which would have sent the game to overtime, came after time had expired.

The Cardinal actually trailed by five points with 15 seconds left before Andy Brown hit a three-pointer from the left corner with 4.7 seconds left to cut the deficit to 65-63. Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie missed the front end of a one-and-one on the ensuing possession and Dwight Powell grabbed the rebound, giving Stanford a final opportunity.

Powell's outlet pass to Aaron Bright was deflected out of bounds with 2.4 seconds left. After a pair of Colorado timeouts, Stanford inbounded the ball from the sideline on its side of midcourt with a chance to send the game to overtime or to win in regulation. Andy Brown lobbed a pass for a leaping Dwight Powell outside of the three-point line, and after a brief delay, Powell spun right and beat his defender, and saw only open space between him and the hoop.

But instead of pulling up for a jump-shot or a floater, Powell drove all the way to the rim and dunked. He made the shot, but the basket came after the final buzzer sounded.

"We had I think 2.4 left and that was our play, me to throw it into him," said Brown, who scored a team-high 17 points. "We knew we had time. 2.4 is enough seconds to drive and take it to the rack. But he initially got pushed off a little bit too far, probably for about a half second to a second. Once he got that he should have realized he didn't have enough time. It was a good drive, he went strong, but if he would have driven in and maybe thrown up like a floater or something right at the rim, something quick instead of getting all the way and dunking it, that might have been better.

"He may have missed it, it may have still run out of time, you never know."

What Stanford does know, however, is that its third straight home loss wasn't just a result of its final possession. Rather, the Cardinal's inability to distance themselves from the Buffaloes when they had a 10-point lead early in the second half came back to haunt them.

"This one hurts bad," Brown said. "Any time you lose at the buzzer it's never a good thing, but all the plays that happened leading up to that were the cause of it, so we can't look at and say it was the last play's fault, because it's not. We built some good leads on them and our defense just didn't hold up."

Letting leads slip away: Twice, Stanford built up double-digit leads against Colorado, and twice the Buffaloes clawed their way back into the game. Early in the first half, Stanford took a 15-5 lead, only to allow Colorado to go on a 7-0 run to trim the deficit to 15-12.

Early in the second, after Stanford went ahead 43-33, the Buffaloes responded with an 18-2 run to take a six-point lead. Colorado never trailed again.

"When we get leads we have to keep on building on those and we didn't do that tonight," Brown said.

Powell, Huestis struggle: Forwards Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis have far and away been Stanford's two top players for much of the season. But on Wednesday night, the duo combined to shoot only 6-22 from the field (0-3 from beyond the arc), for a combined 16 points. Entering play, Powell and Huestis combined to average over 26 points and shoot better than 47 percent from the field. Not even a season-best scoring output by Andy Brown could overcome the struggles of the usually-dynamic post duo.

Brown ties career-high: Andy Brown tied a career high by scoring 17 points. He also notched eight rebounds in a superb all-around effort.

"I thought Andy was terrific," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "I thought it was one of his best games in a Cardinal uniform. I thought he played great. All game long he made plays, big plays, offensive rebounds, putbacks, big shots for us from the field. He rebounded well. I was really proud of him because he's been struggling a little bit with his legs. For him to come out and play the way he did was very exciting to see."

Senior Day Sunday: Stanford will honor its lone senior, Gabe Harris, on Senior Day against Utah. The Cardinal will strive to improve what the team calls "toughness stats," defined as their free throws attempted and rebounds recorded compared to the opposition.

"Coach always kind of has like toughness stats, things like that," Brown said. "We always look at free throws attempted and rebounds and they beat us in both of those categories, and we can't win when that happens. It's been a reoccurring theme in our losses that we don't shoot more free throws than our opponents and we get outrebounded."


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