SEATTLE (AP)—Mike Jensen waved his arms, wore a broad grin and gleefully skipped down court. And that was just in the first five minutes.
“He came out like a wild man,” teammate Brandon Roy said.
Jensen made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 18 points, leading No. 17 Washington past Stanford 75-57 on Thursday night to keep its hopes alive for a Pac-10 regular-season title.
The Huskies (21-5, 10-5) remained one game back of California and UCLA and host the Golden Bears in their final home game on Sunday night.
Jensen’s shooting from the outside was a key element missing when the Huskies lost to Stanford on Jan. 29. That day, the Huskies were 2-for-17 on 3-point attempts.
On Thursday, Jensen scored nine of Washington’s first 11 points, all on 3-pointers, and finished 6-for-8 from behind the 3-point line. His shooting forced Stanford to scrap its defensive game plan and opportunities developed for Jensen’s teammates.
“Mike’s the kind of guy that if he makes his first couple, he doesn’t think he’s going to miss—ever—for the rest of his life,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.
Roy was the main beneficiary. The senior continued his outstanding play of late with 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists. The back-to-back conference player of the week scored at least 20 points for the eighth straight game.
Roy was efficient, making 7-of-13 shots and was 8-for-8 on free throws. Jamaal Williams added 10 points off the bench for Washington, which won its fifth straight.
“Mike just stretched the defense out and it created more opportunities for me to drive,” Roy said. “He came out so aggressive.”
The loss dealt a serious blow to Stanford’s hopes of making a 12th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Cardinal (13-11, 9-6) lost for the fourth time in their last five games and have beat just one ranked opponent this season—Washington.
This night hardly resembled the first matchup.
In that meeting, Washington led 63-60 when Huskies’ freshman Justin Dentmon fouled Stanford’s Chris Hernandez on a 3-pointer with .2 seconds left. Hernandez made all three free throws to force overtime and the Cardinal pulled away for a 76-67 win.
“We didn’t play well tonight,” Stanford coach Trent Johnson said. “I thought we got frustrated at times, and I thought we lost our composure at times, in the first half and second half.”
Harassed constantly by Washington’s vocal student section, Hernandez was miserable on Thursday night. He missed his first six shots and finished with nine points on 2-for-13 shooting.
Matt Haryasz and Peter Prowitt led the Cardinal with 10 points each. Stanford shot just 37 percent.
“I didn’t make plays. They did a good job of rotating and doubling and mixing it up and we just didn’t make plays,” Hernandez said. “They shot the ball very well tonight.”
With Stanford starting in a zone defense to slow the Huskies’ inside play, Washington’s complementary players took advantage from the perimeter.
Jensen, who’d made just 13 3-pointers all season, hit his first four attempts and was 5-of-7 from behind the arc in the first half. Joel Smith came off the bench to make both of his 3-pointers and the Huskies were 8-for-11 in the first half and 10-of-18 for the game.
The 3-point barrage forced Stanford from its zone defense and opened up the paint for Roy, who became more aggressive, scoring twice on drives in the lane, while handing out five assists in the first half.
“We were able to shoot our way out of it and force them back into man,” Jensen said. “They were just falling so I kept shooting.”
The Cardinal couldn’t keep up. Stanford scored 20 of its 28 first half points in the paint, but couldn’t overcome 18 turnovers, its third highest total this season.
Stanford shot just 3-of-14 on 3-pointers and didn’t make its first until the 10-minute mark of the second half.
“They came out and whooped up on us,” Haryasz said.