Saturday's 65-60 loss to Washington was Stanford's ninth game that ended with a single-digit margin. The Cardinal has lost seven of them
The only close games Stanford has won this season were a 70-68 game against Northwestern that the Cardinal won despite failing to score a single point in the final 1:30, and a 65-59 home victory over Lafayette, a team that should never have been that close because Stanford had far more talent than the Leopards.
In the January 3 loss to USC, Stanford held a four-point lead with 4:18 to go. But the Cardinal scored just four points the rest of the way, and Dwight Powell missed a dunk on a follow shot at the buzzer that would have tied it. Instead, the Cardinal came away with a 70-68 loss.
On Saturday at home against Washington, Stanford trailed by two when it took a timeout with 39 seconds left. But Powell missed an open 17-foot jumper with 25 seconds left, and, after the Huskies' C.J. Wilson made just one of two free throws with 20 seconds left, Stanford's Aaron Bright missed a jumper with 13 seconds remaining.
Stanford does fine when it overwhelms the opponent, as it did in Wednesday's game against Washington State, when the Cardinal led by 11 with two minutes left and by 14 with 55 seconds to go. But it has not figured out a way to get the big buckets in tight games, and because so many conference games will come down to the final few possessions, that does not bode well for the Cardinal's chances of landing an NCAA Tournament berth.
Stanford, which has lost three of its last four games, dropped to 10-7 overall and 1-3 in the conference, while Washington (11-5, 3-0 in the conference) is looking like the surprise team of the Pac-12.
Stanford's Chasson Randle provided some encouraging play. He was left out of the starting lineup for the first time this season on Saturday because he was late for a morning shoot-around. But he hit 7 of 11 shots and scored 16 points in his 28 minutes of action, and it was the second straight game in which he hit more than half his shots after being in a season-long shooting slump.
Powell added 19 points for the Cardinal, but besides Powell and Randle, the Cardinal made just 9 of 34 shots. The Cardinal was just 3-for-17 from three-point range, as its long-range shooting continues be a problem.
Stanford junior Aaron Bright made his fifth start of the season but went 0-for-5 from the field and went scoreless for the first time this season. He also had no assists, and when your starting point guard gets no points and no assists, the odds of winning go down dramatically.
Stanford also could not stop Wilcox, who finished with 27 points. But none of that would have mattered if Stanford could have come up with the critical baskets at crunch time. After Randle made a jumper with 3:38 left to tie the game 58-58, the Cardinal scored just two points the rest of the game, going 1-for-6 down the stretch.