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December 19, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Morning links: Still streaking, Pac-12 wins 23 straight

Chasson Randle #5 of the Stanford Cardinal grabs a loose ball in front of Ryan Boatright #11 of the Connecticut Huskies in the first half during the game at XL Center on December 18, 2013 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images)

Chasson Randle #5 of the Stanford Cardinal grabs a loose ball in front of Ryan Boatright #11 of the Connecticut Huskies in the first half during the game at XL Center on December 18, 2013 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images)

Stanford’s big 53-51 win over No. 10 Connecticut on Wednesday night somewhat dampened the enthusiasm surrounding Washington’s game against UConn on Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena.

It would have helped UW’s resume if it would have been the first team to hand Connecticut (9-1) its first loss.

But more importantly, Stanford seemingly provided Washington a winning game plan to beat UConn. The Cardinal trailed 38-28 at halftime and 43-30 with 16:48 left before its 2-3 zone defense took over the game. Connecticut made 5 of 31 shots in the second half and was 0 for 12 on three-pointers after the break.

It was the first win for Stanford (8-2) against a Top 25 team away from Palo Alto since the 2008 NCAA tournament. The Cardinal’s previous seven wins this season came over teams that were a combined 32-41.

Stanford’s win helped extend the Pac-12’s 23-game winning streak.

More importantly, the Cardinal’s win improved the Pac-12’s record against ranked teams to 4-5.

“I think it’s an important win for our conference,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins told the Associated Press. “A number of teams have had some real signature wins, and I’m just happy that we were able to have one as¬†well.”

Chasson Randle scored 22 points for Stanford while Josh Huestis (13 points and 10 rebounds) and Dwight Powell (10 and 15) each finished with a double double.

DeAndre Daniels led Connecticut with 15 points and Shabazz Napier had 12.

Considering Stanford’s win, Sunday’s game has a must-win feel for Washington if the Huskies want to salvage a non-conference season that’s produced a lackluster 6-4 record devoid of a victory against a team from a major conference. UW desperately needs a signature win to bolster its 174 RPI ranking.

THURSDAY MORNING LINKS:

UCLA steps on the big stage tonight at Madison Square Garden and the Bruins are intent on proving they belong among the nation’s elites.

— Looks as if UCLA sophomore point guard Kyle Anderson will enter the NBA draft next season.

— Long Beach State, which nearly beat Washington before falling 92-89 in double overtime, is off to a 1-9 start. The 49ers host USC tonight.

— Utah is receiving minutes and production from a trio of centers Renan Lenz, Jeremy Olsen and Dallin Bachynski. However, the best of the bunch just might be Bachnyski who is rebounding after a disappointing season in 2012-13.

— Despite the loss of Roberto Nelson, who was ejected after eight minutes for throwing a punch, Oregon State had more than enough to overpower Towson 76-67 and avenge last year’s defeat. Angus Brandt¬†scored a career-high 27 points and Devon Collier added 13 for the Beavers (6-2).

DaVonte Lacy scored a game-high 22 points to lead Washington State to an 80-50 win over Division II San Francisco State. The Cougars improved to 6-4.

— ESPN’s Eammon Brennan sees tabs Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon as the leading candidate to win the Wooden Award.

— In case you missed it, this photo of Oregon’s 5-8 guard Johnathan Loyd defending UC Irvine’s 7-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye is going viral.

TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:

UCLA (9-1) vs. No. 8 Duke (8-2), 4:30 p.m. …………….. ESPN

Southern (3-7) at No. 1 Arizona (11-0), 6 p.m., ………… Pac-12 Networks

Texas State (3-7) at Utah (9-1), 6 p.m. ………………….. Pac-12 Networks

USC (7-3) at Long Beach State (1-9), 7:30 p.m. ……….. No TV

Picks: UCLA, Arizona, Utah and USC

Season tally: 79-17

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