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Washington returns to winning ways

Huskies use their defensive intensity

Huskies guard Isaiah Thomas drives to the basket against Jack Trotter of Stanford in the first half.  (Associated Press)
Huskies guard Isaiah Thomas drives to the basket against Jack Trotter of Stanford in the first half. (Associated Press)
Percy Allen Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The play of the game, and perhaps the turning point of the season, came with a minute left in Washington’s 94-61 basketball victory against Stanford on Thursday.

The Cardinal lost the ball beneath the rim and immediately five Huskies dove to the floor, scrambling and fighting for the loose ball as if their season was at stake.

Perhaps it was.

All week they said they weren’t playing Huskies basketball during a three-game losing streak that threatened to ruin postseason aspirations.

When asked to define Huskies basketball, senior captain Quincy Pondexter said: “Defending, rebounding, sharing the ball and competing.”

Against Stanford, the Huskies rediscovered the winning formula that made them one of the preseason favorites to repeat as Pac-10 champion.

They tormented the Cardinal, limiting Stanford to .413 shooting and forcing 20 turnovers.

The solid defensive work created several easy scoring opportunities, including Matthew Bryan-Amaning’s breakaway dunk on Cardinal reserve guard Drew Shiller and a pair of alley-oop slams from Pondexter early in the second half.

Pondexter finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs. Isaiah Thomas added 15 points and seven assists. Scott Suggs chipped in 12 points and Abdul Gaddy had 10.

Their last time at Edmundson Pavilion, the Huskies watched a 17-game home winning streak end to Oregon, starting a streak of three consecutive losses by double digits.

This time, the 9,720 in attendance were treated to plenty of crowd-pleasing plays in Washington’s best game since it dismantled Portland 89-54 in December. It was also UW’s most lopsided win against Stanford (8-8, 2-2).

Coach Lorenzo Romar rolled out his sixth different starting lineup this season for the Huskies (11-5, 2-3). He replaced sophomore forward Darnell Gant with junior forward Justin Holiday, who made his first collegiate start.

Holiday made an immediate impact. In the opening minute, he drew an offensive foul on Stanford leading scorer Landry Fields, grabbed an offensive rebound and threw an assist on UW’s first score.

It was Washington’s first lead since the first half of its loss to Oregon on Jan. 2.

After grabbing the lead, the Huskies never looked back and never trailed. Washington held Stanford scoreless for nearly 8 minutes during a 15-0 run to go up 22-8.

Fields, who entered the game second in the Pac-10 in scoring at 22.1, finished with 17 points and forward Jack Trotter added 12.

At one point, Stanford had more turnovers (11) than field-goal attempts (10).

Washington 94, Stanford 61

 Stanford (8-8, 2-2)—Zimmermann 0-1 0-0 0, Trotter 3-7 6-10 12, Fields 5-12 7-8 17, Mann 1-2 6-10 8, Green 3-10 1-2 7, Ebersole 0-0 0-0 0, Shiller 2-4 0-0 5, Daian 2-3 1-4 5, Abraham 0-0 0-0 0, Harris 2-4 1-2 5, Dildy 1-3 0-1 2, Bullock 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-46 22-37 61.

Washington (11-5, 2-3)—Holiday 3-8 0-0 6, Breshers 0-2 1-2 1, Thomas 4-12 7-9 15, Gaddy 5-6 0-0 10, Pondexter 12-16 1-1 27, Overton 4-7 0-1 9, Bryan-Amaning 3-5 0-1 6, Trent 0-2 2-3 2, Suggs 4-7 1-2 12, Turner 1-9 0-0 2, Sherrer 0-0 0-0 0, Gant 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 37-76 14-21 94.

Halftime—Washington 41-22. 3-Point Goals—Stanford 1-7 (Shiller 1-3, Fields 0-1, Green 0-3), Washington 6-19 (Suggs 3-6, Pondexter 2-3, Overton 1-3, Holiday 0-1, Gaddy 0-1, Turner 0-2, Thomas 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Stanford 33 (Fields, Trotter 5), Washington 42 (Pondexter 10). Assists—Stanford 10 (Zimmermann 3), Washington 19 (Overton 8). Total Fouls—Stanford 21, Washington 28. A—9,720.

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