PULLMAN - The stats said Stanford can't shoot.
The stats said Washington State plays stiff defense.
The stats lied Thursday evening at Friel Court.
Stanford buried its first seven 3-point shots in the first half and poured in 45 points by halftime, then held off a furious WSU rally to pull out a 75-62 victory.
The Cougars played with little intensity and even less efficiency in the opening 20 minutes. WSU trailed by a season-high 17 points (45-28) at the half.
“We just didn’t come out with the energy we need ... that’s just inexcusable,” junior guard Klay Thompson said.
“We played like there wasn’t a sense of urgency, which is just a shock,” coach Ken Bone said. “We’re trying to get to the NCAA tournament.”
Washington State played with renewed vigor after intermission and temporarily brought the crowd of 6,517 back to life by pulling within one with 81/2 minutes to go. The Cardinal, however, responded with a 9-2 run to lead 65-57 with four minutes left, and WSU never came closer than five the rest of the way.
Bone met with his players for approximately 20 minutes after the game.
“We just talked about what we need to do to get better,” Bone said.
Asked if he has trouble getting a read on his inconsistent team, Bone said, “Yeah. That’d be a good way to say it. They surprise me.”
The Cardinal (13-10, 6-6 Pac-10) entered the game ranked ninth in the conference with dismal marks of 64.6 points per game and 42 percent shooting from the field. WSU (16-8, 6-6) ranked third in scoring defense (64.8) and first in field-goal shooting percentage defense (38.1).
The latter figure ranked among the nation’s best, but Stanford players often shot the ball with no defenders in the same zip code in the opening half. The Cardinal shot 62 percent for the half and 50 percent for the game, including 56 percent on 3-pointers (9-for-16).
“I think we looked past our opponent,” WSU guard Marcus Capers said. “We didn’t expect them to hit their first seven 3s. They didn’t expect to hit their first seven 3s.”
Junior guard Jeremy Green led Stanford with 24 points, 7-for-9 shooting from the field and 5-for-5 shooting on 3-pointers. Dwight Powell added 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds, and Jarrett Mann had seven points and a career-high 11 assists.
DeAngelo Casto, working hard down low, hit 10 of 11 shots and topped WSU with 22 points. Thompson produced 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds. The Cougars shot 48 percent from the field, but just 17 percent (3-for-18) on 3-pointers.
WSU was a woeful 9-for-19 from the free throw line (47 percent).
Green, Stanford’s leading scorer with 15.3 points per game, has sank all five of his 3-point attempts in two consecutive games. He made just 11 of 42 in the previous six games.
Asked if the first half was Stanford’s best this season, Green said, “I think so, because I don’t think anybody missed (a shot).”
California (13-11, 6-6) visits WSU at 3 p.m. Saturday. The game will not be televised.