STANFORD, Calif. -- Northwestern coach Chris Collins assumed that if the Wildcats limited the production of Stanford's top two scorers, his team could pull off a road win Thursday.
The Wildcats did their job defensively on the Cardinal's two chief offensive weapons, forward Dwight Powell and guard Chasson Randle, who were limited to a combined 23 points after scoring 61 points three days earlier against BYU.
Forward Josh Huestis made up for it by scoring 13 of his 18 points in the second half to help Stanford beat Northwestern 71-58 at Maples Pavilion.
"If you had told me that we would hold Powell to single digits and Randle to 14 or whatever, I would have been really happy with that," Collins said after suffering his first loss as a head coach. "Huestis was the main guy who made plays for them. He made a couple big 3s, he got a couple huge offensive rebounds."
Powell, whose playing time was limited by foul trouble, had just six points until he hit a meaningless 3-pointer in the final minute to finish with nine. Randle had 14 after scoring 33 against BYU.
As a team, Stanford (2-1) scored 32 fewer points than it did Monday against BYU, but unlike the 112-103 loss to the Cougars, this one resulted in a victory.
"We were embarrassed Monday night, giving up that many points," Huestis said. "We wanted to get back to our roots on defense."
The Wildcats (1-1) made just two of their first 15 field-goal attempts in the second half, and that rough spell allowed the Cardinal to break away.
The primary defensive target for Stanford was Northwestern swingman Drew Crawford, whose quiet second half helped the Cardinal take command.
Crawford, who scored 25 points in Northwestern's opening win over Eastern Illinois, collected 15 points but had a long drought through the middle of the game. He had 13 points with 7:11 left in the first half, but he did not score again until 7:05 remained in the game. He missed eight consecutive field-goal attempts in that span after starting the game 5-for-6.
"At halftime we said, 'Hey, we have to contain him,'" Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "We knew the reputation of Crawford was as a big-time player, a big-time scorer, and we did a good job in the second half."
Collins took part of the blame for not putting Crawford in better position to score in the second half.
"I'd like to get him to the free-throw line more," Collins said. "We shot only 11 free throws, and with the way things are being called this year, we need to be more aggressive. When our shots aren't going in, we need to go to the free-throw line. We need to drive to the basket."
Crawford was just 1-for-2 from the line, and the Wildcats made only six free throws compared with 18 for the Cardinal.
Guard JerShon Cobb led the Wildcats with a game-high 19 points, 14 of which came in the second half. However, he could not prevent Stanford from taking control after intermission, when the Cardinal turned a two-point halftime lead into a 15-point advantage midway through the second half.
The Cardinal scored six straight points early in the second half to increase a three-point lead to nine. Huestis' basket with 12:53 remaining gave Stanford a 41-32 advantage.
After a free throw by Cobb, Stanford scored seven more points in a row to make it a 48-33 game with 9:42 left. The Wildcats never threatened thereafter.
"We struggled coming out in the second half," Crawford said. "We were rushing things a little bit, settling for 3s too much, and they were able to put on a run. That kind of deflated us. Can't let them go on runs like that."
NOTES: Northwestern first-year head coach Chris Collins and sixth-year Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins are both Duke graduates. They were on the Blue Devils' staff together from 2000-08 under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. ... Northwestern began last season with a six-game winning streak but ended it with an eight-game losing streak, leading to the firing of coach Bill Carmody. ... Northwestern junior PG Dave Sobolewski and Stanford junior PG Chasson Randle were AAU teammates for the Illinois Wolves. ... The four high school players Northwestern signed Wednesday -- Vic Law, Gavin Skelly, Bryant McIntosh and Scott Lindsey -- form what is considered the Wildcats' best recruiting class in history.