Northwestern's men's basketball team wasn’t able to avenge last year’s emotional home loss to Stanford, falling 71-58 to the Cardinal late Thursday night in Palo Alto, Calif. This was head coach Chris Collins' first loss at Northwestern.
Stanford (2-1), coming off a 112-103 loss to BYU, was able to convert on two Northwestern (1-1) turnovers in the first five minutes to gain an early 10-5 lead over the ‘Cats. Senior Drew Crawford then stopped a Cardinal fast break with a monster block and drained a three at the other end to lead the way for a 10-2 NU run.
Crawford, a fifth-year senior who leads the Wildcats in points and rebounds per game, finished with 15 points, including two powerful put-back jams that earned the "#SCtop10" hashtag from the ESPNU announcers.
With 7:40 left in the first half, the game turned into a smorgasbord of missed offensive opportunities, where Stanford and Northwestern combined for 11 points, 6 turnovers and a 20 percent drop in overall shooting. The Wildcats held the ball for the last 31.5 seconds, but went into the locker room down 29-27 after Crawford failed to convert on a final second reverse layup.
The start of the second half was highlighted by a wild 70-second NU possession where the Wildcats had four consecutive offensive rebounds and four consecutive missed shot attempts, finished off when redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin threw the ball into the stands on an errant pass. After NU shot 2-for-14, including 0-for-6 from Crawford, in the first eight minutes of the half, Stanford was able to jump to a 41-32 lead.
Junior JerShon Cobb answered by scoring 8 straight NU points, including a three at 9:22 that ended a 17-3 Stanford run, to bring the Wildcat deficit under ten points. The 6-foot-5 guard had 19 points, three rebounds and two assists for this game.
But it was Stanford’s Josh Huestis that took control of the second half, scoring 13 of his 18 points after the intermission and leading the Cardinal along with Anthony Brown to a 16-point lead over the ‘Cats with only 3:45 left to play. Even with sophomore Tre Demps scoring eight points in the final two minutes, NU wasn’t able to stage a comeback.
Northwestern, now 1-1, finished the night shooting 38.9 percent and turning the ball over 16 times. The Wildcats take on Illinois State on Sunday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.