Widgets Magazine

Humphrey leads men’s basketball over Washington State

After earning an explosive upset over No. 11 Oregon last Saturday, Stanford men’s basketball (13-11, 6-7 Pac-12) managed to get its offense rolling again as the team put away Washington State (9-17, 1-13) by a 72-56 margin.

(MIKE RASAY/isiphotos.com)

Setting a career-high 26 points, sophomore Michael Humphrey (center) helped lead Stanford to a dominant win over Washington State after he had played at limited capacity over the past few games with a contusion. (MIKE RASAY/isiphotos.com)

Driven by a double-double performance from sophomore Michael Humphrey, the Cardinal led almost from start to finish against a hapless Cougars side that hasn’t managed a win in its last twelve games. Stanford shot above 45 percent and enjoyed sizable advantages in virtually every statistical category to give the team a second straight victory for the first time since the start of conference play.

Humphrey finished with a career-high 26 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and 4 steals in an impressive all-around performance for the forward. The sophomore had played at limited capacity after picking up a contusion against Utah on Jan. 30, and his big return came at exactly the right time for a Stanford team looking to gather as many late wins as possible to improve its postseason resume.

“He played like the old Mike,” said head coach Johnny Dawkins. “He rebounded well. He moved well.”

Senior Rosco Allen narrowly missed out on a double-double of his own with 14 points and 9 rebounds, while sophomore Dorian Pickens added 14 from the bench.

Stanford had a bit of a hard time corralling WSU standout Josh Hawkinson, but otherwise, its 2-3 zone proved extremely effective against the offensively-challenged Cougars. Washington State had just two players in double figures and just three over the 5-point mark as the Cougars struggled to respond to Stanford’s energy.

“I thought we had a great game plan offensively and defensively,” Humphrey said. “Everyone was in the right spots.”

The Cardinal started fast, building up a sizable lead that grew to 11 by halftime. A charge out of the break for the Cougars briefly brought the game within two, but Stanford quickly recovered and maintained a fairly comfortable margin as the clock began to wind down.

With its second conference road victory secured, Stanford will continue its trip through the Evergreen State this Saturday with a visit to the Washington Huskies (15-11, 7-7).

Despite losing points and assists leader Nigel Williams-Goss to a transfer during the offseason, Washington surprised almost everyone earlier this season with a near-perfect start to its conference schedule. Led by Pac-12 scoring leader Andrew Andrews, the team set the pace in the conference standings after beating four of their first five opponents by a combined 13 points.

The Huskies have fallen to earth a little since then, having dropped their last four games and six of their last eight, but are still capable of turning in elite performances. Washington leads the Pac-12 with 84 points per game thanks in large part to the efforts of Andrews, freshman Dejounte Murray and freshman Marquese Chriss, and Stanford will have to hope that its recent offensive momentum continues so that it can keep pace with this fast-moving squad.

Stanford will tip off against the Huskies at 5 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.

 

Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Andrew Mather

Andrew Mather served as a sports editor and as the Chief Operating Officer of The Daily. Growing up a devout Clippers and Iowa Hawkeyes fan in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Mather grew accustomed to watching his favorite programs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He brings this nihilistic pessimism to The Daily, where he occasionally feels a strong sense of déjà vu while covering basketball, football and golf.
  • Candid One

    AM, your use of “contusion” is brilliantly ambiguous, definitely better than “lower-body injury”–which is too much information anyway. 🙂

    This was the Michael Humphrey that was beginning to show last year before he was injured at Arizona State. As he admitted in last night’s interviews, he’s been trying too hard this season and getting too many fouls too early. That was still an issue against Oregon last Saturday, as he tried too hard to help in his return from injury, against a highly ranked opponent who’d beaten Stanford handily in their first meeting. He and Grant Verhoeven have been too foul-prone this year; too often they’ve had to resort to toreador defense to stay in the game. Yet, if Verhoeven hadn’t fouled out a few minutes earlier against the Ducks, maybe Humphrey wouldn’t have been in position to make that crucial game-clinching block against Dillon Brooks. It is what it is, and what it isn’t is part of what it is.

  • Andrew Mather

    Agreed, it’s tough with Humphrey because he’s just the type of player that you want to build around (generally solid rim protector, capable of creating his own shot, etc.) but putting too much responsibility on his shoulders has not been a formula for success. Hopefully Travis can play reliably enough and Sharma can develop enough to help alleviate some of the pressure next season.

    Very well put in your last sentence.