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Men’s basketball face important bout with No. 19 Arizona
Senior forward Reid Travis (right) dominated Arizona in their previous matchup, scoring 14 first-half points.(BOB DREBIN/isiphotos.com)

Men’s basketball face important bout with No. 19 Arizona

16 games. It has been 16 games since Stanford men’s basketball’s (16-13, 10-6 Pac-12) last victory against No. 19 Arizona (22-7, 12-4). It came in the sweet comfort of Maples Pavilion as Landry Fields ‘10 led the team with 19 points in the 76-60 victory on Jan. 4, 2009.

The Cardinal however won’t get another shot at the Wildcats in Maples. They wasted their opportunity earlier in the season when a late lead slipped away as the ball slipped away from senior guard Dorian Pickens to Arizona’s Parker Jackson-Cartwright, and the guard gave the Wildcats the lead for good.

Stanford will have to travel to Tucson for a showdown against the best team in the conference on Thursday.

The Wildcats have been riled in controversy for the past week. Guard Allonzo Trier has been ruled ineligible for testing positive for PEDs. He was the conference’s second-leading scorer (19.6), only behind fellow Wildcat DeAndre Ayton.

Ayton has also been caught up in scandals with his head coach Sean Miller. According to an ESPN report, Miller allegedly was caught on a wiretap with ASM’s (an agency for athletes) Christian Dawkins discussing a $100k payment to Ayton. Arizona decided to sit Miller out last week, but his status for Thursday’s game is unclear.

“[Arizona] is obviously still a great team,” senior forward Reid Travis said on the Wildcats missing player and coach. “Whether they have a player down or the coach isn’t coaching, they still have great players. For us, we are going to go with the same mindset that is still going to be a great challenge. We think they are playing their best basketball.”

Ayton, who many pundits have as No. 1 on their draft board, had one of his worst games of his collegiate career against the Cardinal in Maples. He scored nine points on 4-10 shooting as Travis routinely put the 7-foot-1 forward in foul trouble.

Stanford head coach Jerod Haase stated that may not happen for a second time.

“[Arizona will] make adjustments and we will make adjustments,” Coach Haase said. “But at the end of the day, we are going to play to our strengths, which is get the ball to [Travis].”

Last week, the Washington schools came to the Farm. After dominating the Huskies 94-78 on Thursday, Stanford struggled against the Cougars on Senior Day. Wazzou’s Malachi Flynn had a chance to win at the buzzer but his three-point attempt caught nothing but air.

The game marked seniors guard Dorian Pickens and forward Michael Humphrey’s final home game.

“It was a cool experience watching [Pickens and Humphrey] get honored,” Travis said of his teammates and their final games with Stanford. “I am trying to bypass my future [for now]…and just try to put my energy into those two. I think they deserve.”

Pickens has been incredible from deep. Shooting 49-of-107 (45.8 percent) in conference play, he has been a positive contributor from the moment he returned from injury,

Humphrey has been underrated defensively. He helped hold Ayton to a season-low nine points. He also has been the team’s second best three-point shooter all season. Humphrey is hitting a robust 43.4 percent which is 10 percentage points higher than his second-highest season.

“[Humphrey] played fearless,” Coach Haase said of Humphrey’s performance vs. Ayton. “He was working hard to front the low post and competed on every possession.”

Stanford will attempt to win in Tucson for the first time since 2008 on Thursday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast by FS1.

Tucson has been a deathtrap for the Cardinal. Current Los Angeles Lakers center, Brook Lopez, was a sophomore the last time Stanford defeated Arizona on the road. That was 10 years and two weeks ago.

Better now than never.

 

Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.