Humphrey’s career night carries Stanford past WSU, 72-56
By HOWIE STALWICK
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) – The revival of Michael Humphrey and the Stanford Cardinal appears to be taking place just in time for a strong finish to the Pac-12 season.
Humphrey, who failed to score in two of the previous three games while battling back from a knee injury, poured in a career-high 26 points Thursday night in a 72-56 triumph over Washington State.
Humphrey sank 10 of 15 shots and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds for the Cardinal (13-11, 6-7 Pac-12). The 6-foot-9 sophomore forward buried both his 3-point tries after entering the game with a 4 for 19 career mark from beyond the arc.
“He played like the old Mike,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “He rebounded well. He moved well.”
“I figured something out,” Humphrey said with a smile. “The past few games I got into foul trouble. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself.
“Tonight I felt more relaxed. I thought we had a great game plan offensively and defensively. Everyone was in the right spots.”
The Cardinal had lost four in a row before downing then-No. 11 Oregon 76-72 last Saturday. Stanford came into Thursday’s game ranked last in the conference in scoring and 3-point shooting percentage, but the Cardinal has shot the ball better in general and from beyond the arc the past two games.
“Our offense is starting to click more and more,” Humphrey said. “Guys know when it’s their time to step up and take a shot.
“Everybody on the team is confident. We have some of the best shooters in the country. They’re finding their groove. Hopefully, we’re finding it at the right time and we can keep rolling.”
The Cougars, meanwhile, have lost 12 in row. Josh Hawkinson led WSU (9-17, 1-13) with 17 points and 12 rebounds before 2,711 fans at Beasley Coliseum.
“We bring so much energy in practice and do all the things right,” Hawkinson said. “We’re making reads, hitting shots, playing good defense.
“But when it comes to the game, we seem one step behind. Like, everyone else in the Pac-12 is just one step ahead of us. I can’t really pinpoint why that’s happening.”
The Cougars shot 61.9 percent from the field in the second half after hitting just 29.2 percent in the first half. Stanford led 35-24 at intermission, saw WSU pull within two after an 11-2 spurt to open the second half, then quickly regained control of the game.
“Give them (the Cougars) credit,” Dawkins said. “They were competing and they were making good basketball plays.
“I was really proud of our team. We settled down when they cut it to two. We executed and we were able to create separation again. That shows signs of a team that is maturing.”
Stanford’s Rosco Allen and Dorian Pickens and WSU’s Que Johnson scored 14 points apiece. Allen also had nine rebounds.
Stanford: ESPN ranks the Cardinal’s schedule the second-toughest in the nation. Oregon’s schedule is ranked No. 1. Stanford defeated the Ducks last Saturday, 76-72.
Washington State: The 12-game losing streak is tied for fifth longest in school history. The school record is 18, set in 1989-90. WSU has four conference games left, followed by at least one game at the Pac-12 tournament. The Cougars need one more league win to avoid tying the second-worst conference record in school history (1-17 three times). WSU finished 0-10 in the original Northwest Conference in 1910-11.
KENT VISITS AILING MOTHER
Washington State coach Ernie Kent spent part of the week with his mother, who suffered a stroke in Illinois.
Stanford visits Washington on Saturday.
Washington State hosts California on Sunday.
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