No. 1 Stanford's Perfect Season Comes To End At Washington
March 6, 2004
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
Associated Press Writer
SEATTLE (AP) - The Stanford Cardinal never got a chance to pull off another last-second victory.
The top-ranked Cardinal lost for the first time this season Saturday, falling 75-62 to Washington two days after rallying to beat Washington State on a buzzer-beater.
'Nobody likes to lose, especially when you have 26 wins straight,' center Rob Little said. 'We can't always have a miraculous comeback.'
Washington's quick and athletic defense forced Stanford into 18 turnovers, and the Cardinal (26-1, 17-1 Pac-10) shot only 39 percent from the field. Starters Josh Childress and Matt Lottich were in foul trouble early, and Lottich scored just two points on 1-of-11 shooting from the field.
'We were one game away from something pretty special, and we didn't get it done,' coach Mike Montgomery said. 'It will take a while to get over that.'
The Cardinal, who also beat Arizona last month on a last-second shot, had a tough trip to the state of Washington. On Thursday night, it took Lottich's desperation 3-pointer to beat eighth-place Washington State 63-61.
'Now we need to go undefeated,' Little said, looking ahead to the conference and NCAA tournaments.
The Cardinal's loss left No. 2 Saint Joseph's (27-0) as the only undefeated team in the country.
Tre Simmons scored 16 points for unranked Washington (17-10, 12-6), enjoying its first winning season since 1999.
'I said repeatedly that one day I saw this coming,' second-year coach Lorenzo Romar said. 'I didn't know it would happen this year.
'I thought it would be great if we could knock off the No. 1 team and get into the tournament. It's awfully exciting to be in this position.'
Stanford was trying to become the first Pac-10 team to finish a perfect conference season. Instead it joined Oregon State and Arizona as the only teams to go 17-1. The 26-game winning streak was the longest in the Pac-10 since Oregon State won 26 straight in 1980-81.
Chris Hernandez led Stanford with 21 points, Childress added 15 points and eight rebounds, and Little had 10 points and eight rebounds.
'It's a good test for us,' Lottich said.
No team has completed an undefeated season since Indiana in 1976. Saint Joseph's will enter the Atlantic 10 tournament with a chance to become the first team to open the NCAA tournament unbeaten since UNLV in 1991.
Nate Robinson and Mike Jensen each added 13 points for the Huskies, and Brandon Roy and Will Conroy had 12 apiece.
Romar was a player for the Huskies the only other time they beat a No. 1 team, UCLA in 1979. They are 2-26 overall against top-ranked teams.
Many in the record crowd of 10,086 at Bank of America Arena stormed the floor after the game.
Washington lost its first five conference games, including an 85-72 setback at Stanford, and was in last place in January. Since then, the Huskies have won 12 of 13 league games to claim second place. They start four sophomores and a junior.
Stanford was 5-of-24 from 3-point range.
'We didn't get great shots,' Montgomery said. 'Their quickness hurt us.'
Trailing by 10 at halftime, Stanford scored the first nine points of the second half to cut it to 35-34, but the Huskies withstood the run and began scoring again.
'We showed that we can stop a run and go back at them,' Jensen said.
Simmons hit three consecutive 3-pointers to give Washington a 48-40 lead with 7:53 left, and Lottich picked up his fourth foul during the shooting spree.
'Simmons' three 3s were huge,' Montgomery said.
Childress' 3-pointer cut Washington's lead to 60-54, but Stanford began to foul, and the Huskies made their shots.
Stanford only went to the free-throw line three times, making them all. Washington made 24 of 30 free throws.
Romar was the coach at Saint Louis when the Billikens beat top-ranked Cincinnati in 2000.
'I thought about that game before this game,' he said. 'People go through their college career and do not get to experience something like this.'