LAS VEGAS (CBS / AP) — Stanford shot its way into the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals, adding another notch to its NCAA tournament resume.
Stanford got off to a fast start and pulled away with a big second-half run, knocking off Washington State 74-63 Wednesday night in the Pac-12 tournament’s first round.
Chasson Randle scored 22 points, Josh Powell added 16 and the sixth-seeded Cardinal shot 58 percent to hold off the pesky Cougars.
“A big win for us,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “Washington State came ready to play, ready to compete and they gave us everything. I’m really proud of our guys for stepping up.”
The Cardinal needed to step up with what was on the line.
On the NCAA tournament bubble, Stanford (20-11) couldn’t afford a loss to the 11th-seeded Cougars and made sure it didn’t happen, using a 16-4 run in the second half to take control of what had been a tight game.
Anthony Brown and Josh Huestis scored 12 points each for the Cardinal, who face third-seeded Arizona State (21-10) in Thursday’s quarterfinals with a chance to enhance their NCAA credentials.
“I haven’t really thought about that (NCAA bid),” Randle said. “As a team, we’re just focused on each day and playing Arizona State tomorrow night.”
Washington State (10-21) shot well to start both halves, but couldn’t sustain it to end a difficult season with another loss.
DaVonte’ Lacy scored 25 points and D.J. Shelton had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Cougars, who went 5-for-18 from 3-point range and had no answer when Stanford went on its run.
“Their bigs are really quick and that really hurt us,” Washington State coach Ken Bone said.
Stanford, like several teams in the conference, was looking for a good run in the Pac-12 tournament to catch the attention of the NCAA tournament selection committee.
The Cardinal didn’t help their cause at the end of the regular season by losing three of their final four games, so playing well in Sin City was a must.
They certainly couldn’t afford a loss to Washington State.
The Cougars struggled through their conference schedule, losing both games to Stanford while winning just three. Washington State did pull off an upset in its regular-season finale, though, routing UCLA 73-55 to avoid last place in the Pac-12.
The third meeting between Washington State and Stanford was filled with offense in the early going.
The Cougars hit their first five shots and the Cardinal were right there with them, knocking down 6 of 10.
Stanford kept it up, hitting 11 of 20 in the first half.
Washington State slowed its shooting pace — 9 of 23 — and trailed 35-28 after Randle hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer for the Cardinal.
“If we hit more outside shots, we’d have had a better chance,” Shelton said.
The Cougars started the second half just the way they did the first.
Lacy scored eight quick points in the first half and was feeling it again early in the second, scoring seven points in the opening four minutes.
Washington State hit five of seven shots to close the gap and the teams traded baskets, neither able to gain much of an advantage Stanford started to stretch the lead with about 8 minutes left.
Brown, who scored a career-high 30 points in the last meeting against Washington State, keyed the run, scoring in transition and hitting a 3-pointer to push the Cardinal’s lead to 57-50.
Stanford held the Cougars off after that, giving them a chance to pad the NCAA resume even more.
“The way they (WSU) came out of halftime and rallied, played inspired and took the lead,” Dawkins said. “I thought our guys from that moment on were really focused and made the plays necessary.”
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