Potential sleeping giants
Coming off a close loss against cross-town rival Cal, Stanford responded by dispatching Arizona State on the road in Tempe. Arizona State led by four at the half, but Maxime Reynaud and Brandon Angel both posted double-doubles and Stanford ended the game on a 17-2 run to secure the 71-62 victory.
Stanford, like the previous matchup in Palo Alto, was firing on all cylinders from beyond the arc in the first half, draining nine 3-pointers in the first half. However, being down Kanaan Carlyle started to show when the wheels fell off in the second half and the Cardinal lost its shooting touch. A 25-7 run by Arizona to start the second half turned the tide and Stanford couldn't recover, sealing the 82-71 loss.
Next week: Stanford will be playing host when UCLA comes to Palo Alto on Wednesday and USC does the same on Saturday.
I didn't want to cave and move UCLA up too far after last week. However, the Bruins have won five of their last six, with the only loss coming at the hands of an electrified Arizona team in McKale Center. I'm making up for my transgressions by giving them the biggest single-week boost of the season so far.
UCLA saw two players — Adem Bona and Dylan Andrew — post 18 points apiece at home against Oregon State. The 71-63 win moved UCLA to 5-5 in conference play and secured the regular season sweep over the Beavers, having also won in Corvallis on Dec. 28, 2023.
The real statement was the Bruins capitalizing on an Oregon squad that has stumbled a few times. The late start time seemed to do UCLA some favors. Andrews led the way for UCLA again with 21-points, and he nailed a key 3-pointer to put UCLA up by six points with 2:36 remaining. The Bruins held on and knocked off the not-so-mighty Ducks 71-63.
Next week: UCLA will look to prove itself in the Bay Area against Stanford on Wednesday and Cal on Saturday.
Washington played valiantly when hosting Washington State in its sole matchup of the week. Keion Brooks Jr. was a force to be reckoned with, posting a career-high 35 points. The final shot of the game — which came from Brooks Jr. — didn't ring true and Washington lost this one 93-90 in overtime, but Brooks can't be expected to make every single shot he takes. It's a forgivable loss, and rivalry week always brings out the best in teams.
Next week: Washington is taking to the road to play Oregon in Eugene on Thursday and Oregon State in Corvallis on Saturday.
I'm showing mercy by not relegating them to the basement, but one more weekend like that and I won't be able to show any mercy. This team looks to be cratering: they have lost four straight and six of its last seven. The Sun Devils had a chance to prove themselves, and they fell flat.
Stanford came to town first and even though Arizona State held a lead going into halftime, it disappeared quickly. Jose Perez, the team's leading scorer, didn't even reach 15 points and Arizona State couldn't get closer than 5 points in the final two minutes. Arizona State dropped the game 71-62 and started to show cracks.
Things got much worse when Cal rolled into and beat Arizona State by 15 points. Once again, not a single Sun Devils player reached 15 points in the game. Arizona State fell into a hole early in the first half, and simply couldn't recover. This was an all-around bad week for Arizona State that was capped off with the 81-66 loss.
Next week: Arizona State will be heading into the Rocky Mountains to face Colorado on Thursday and Utah on Saturday.