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Stanford Undone

No miracle this time for Cardinal, as Washington ends top-ranked team's perfect season, 75-62.

March 07, 2004|From Associated Press

SEATTLE — 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 to Washington, 75-62, 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 Pacific 10) shot only 39% from the field, five of 24 on three-pointers.

Starters Josh Childress and Matt Lottich were in foul trouble early, and Lottich, who made the winning basket against Washington State, scored only two points on one-of-11 shooting.

"We didn't get great shots," Coach Mike Montgomery said. "Their quickness hurt us.

"We were one game away from something pretty special, and we didn't get it done. It will take a while to get over that."

Little was already looking ahead to the Pac-10 and NCAA tournaments.

"Now we need to go undefeated," he said.

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," Husky 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.

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. No. 2 Saint Joseph's (27-0) will enter the Atlantic 10 tournament with a chance to become the first team to open the NCAA tournament unbeaten since Nevada Las Vegas in 1991.

Nate Robinson and Mike Jensen each added 13 points for the Huskies, and Brandon Roy and Will Conroy had 12 apiece.

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.

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.

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.

Romar also was the coach at Saint Louis when the Billikens defeated 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."

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