Sunday, March 14, 2004

Pac-10: Cardinal avenge their lone defeat

Victory probably sews up No.1 NCAA seed

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Stanford got its momentum back against the team that took it away.

Matt Lottich had 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, and second-ranked Stanford defeated Washington 77-66 Saturday to win its first Pac-10 tournament title and a berth to the NCAA tournament for the 10th consecutive season.

"You got to love Matt Lottich," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "He's got so much pride in himself and so much competitiveness. He made some huge shots, as always."

The Cardinal (29-1) are virtually assured of a top seed when the pairings are announced today, along with a trip to Seattle for their first game.

"You take a great deal of pride if we should happen to go into the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed," Montgomery said. "It also means zippo starting next week."

They donned white caps proclaiming them champions while fans chanted "six more wins" - the number Stanford needs to win the national championship.

"We wanted to win it to prove we're the best team in the Pac-10," Lottich said.

A week ago, Washington spoiled Stanford's bid for a perfect season with a 75-62 victory in Seattle. The loss knocked the Cardinal from the No. 1 ranking, which they're likely to regain after previously unbeaten Saint Joseph's lost to Xavier by 20 points in the Atlantic-10 quarterfinals.

"We wanted to avenge our only loss of the season," said Josh Childress, the Pac-10 player of the year and tourney MVP. "I was fired up. I'm definitely glad we got to play them again."

The second-seeded Huskies (19-11) desperately wanted to win their first-ever conference tourney title to get into the NCAA Tournament without contention. Now, their fate lies in the selection committee's hands. But their chances appear good since they've won 14 of their last 17 games.

"I'm confident we're going to be in," Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. "We've done everything to impress the committee, to show that we're worthy. Will we get in? We'll be sitting in front of that television waiting."

Washington outscored Stanford 9-6 to start the second half and get within three points after trailing by six at the break.

Then Stanford ran off eight straight points for a 59-48 lead.

WASHINGTON (19-11)-Jones 4-6 3-4 11, Jensen 5-10 0-0 11, Na.Robinson 7-15 2-4 16, Roy 2-10 2-4 6, Conroy 3-9 4-5 10, Simmons 3-10 0-0 7, Rollins 0-3 2-4 2, Allen 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 25-65 13-21 66.

STANFORD (29-1)-Childress 6-11 2-3 14, Davis 6-10 1-2 13, Little 0-3 0-0 0, Hernandez 1-6 2-2 5, Lottich 8-17 0-0 20, Kirchofer 5-7 1-3 11, Ni.Robinson 2-3 2-2 6, Haas 2-2 0-0 4, Haryasz 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 32-61 8-12 77.

Halftime score-Stanford 45, Washington 39. 3-Point Goals-Washington 3-17 (Allen 1-2, Jensen 1-3, Simmons 1-3, Conroy 0-3, Na.Robinson 0-3, Roy 0-3), Stanford 5-18 (Lottich 4-10, Hernandez 1-4, Childress 0-4). Fouled out-Jones. Rebounds-Washington 33 (Conroy, Na.Robinson 5), Stanford 42 (Childress 9). Assists-Washington 11 (Na.Robinson 5), Stanford 16 (Lottich 5). Total fouls-Washington 17, Stanford 17. A-16,413.

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