LAS VEGAS — Washington’s young players had no trouble keeping focused in their first Pac-12 tournament game.
One of the nation’s youngest teams, the Huskies jumped on Stanford early and turned their Pac-12 tournament opener into a 91-68 rout on Wednesday.
Dejounte Murray scored 25 points, Marquese Chriss had 18 and 10 rebounds, and Washington controlled the Cardinal from the opening tip to earn a spot in Thursday’s quarterfinals against top-seeded Oregon.
“Really good to see, with over half our team playing in the tournament for the first time, they looked like they’d been here before,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.
Washington (18-13) entered the Pac-12 tournament hoping boost its slim NCAA Tournament chances. The eighth-seeded Huskies got off to a strong start against Stanford, building a 17-point lead in the game’s first six minutes.
Washington continued to pour it on after that opening burst, shooting 50 percent to close out the rout. Andrew Andrews had 14 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Huskies.
“In terms of lately, I thought we were as dialed in and as efficient as we have been, so I thought it was a very good performance,” Romar said. “I thought today we could have beaten a lot of teams playing that way.”
Stanford (15-15) stumbled through the regular season and fell flat in its lone postseason game, potentially putting coach Johnny Dawkins’ job in jeopardy.
Dorian Pickens had 17 points to lead the Cardinal, who were 3 of 21 (14 percent) from 3-point range.
“Washington came out right from the tip ready to compete and got off to a fast start,” Dawkins said. “I thought we tried to battle. I thought we tried to force some issues and that led us into a worse direction.”
The Huskies won the lone meeting during the regular season 64-53 behind Murray’s 25-point night.
They turned the rematch in a rout quickly, scoring the game’s first 10 points while racing out to a 20-3 lead.
Stanford had three of its first five shots blocked and had five free throws until Michael Humphrey hit a layup for the Cardinal’s first field goal 8:43 into the game.
“We just didn’t get off to a quick start like we should have and we let them dictate to us too much,” Stanford’s Rosco Allen said.
Washington didn’t let up from there.
The Huskies kept hounding the Cardinal into missed shots and even went to a press late in the half with the lead close to 20.
Washington made 18 of 34 shots, including 7 of 13 from 3-point range. Murray had 13 points by halftime, Chriss 12 and the Huskies led 50-22.
The Cardinal went 7 for 24 from the field, missing all six of their 3-point attempts, and had 11 turnovers that led to 15 points for the Huskies.
Stanford started making a few more shots in the second half and the Huskies didn’t have it quite as easy, but the game was too far out of reach to matter.