for this game

Stanford reaches Pac-10 final with another win over Washington St.

Mar 15, 2008 - 8:47 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Stanford probably wishes it could play all its games against Washington State.

Brook Lopez scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead No. 11 Stanford to a 75-68 victory over 21st-ranked Washington State on Friday night in the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament.

Lawrence Hill added 14 points off the bench for the second-seeded Cardinal (26-6), who have now won 24 of the last 27 meetings against the Cougars, including all three games this season.

"Another hard fought game," Stanford coach Trent Johnson said. "I'm just glad we won't have to see Washington State again for the rest of the year.

"I thought we did a very good job of keeping our poise and taking care of the ball at crucial times and also defending."

Despite its second consecutive semifinal appearance, third seed Washington State (24-8) failed to counter Lopez's presence in the paint, falling short of its first trip to the Pac-10 tournament final.

Kyle Weaver scored a career-high 25 points and added 12 rebounds while Derrick Low poured in 11 of his 15 points in the second half for the Cougars, who will be making a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament after putting together their second straight 20-win season for the first time in 66 years.

"The main thing is knowing how tough it is playing a good experienced team like that, just knowing how ready we have to be," Weaver said. "I think one thing we have to learn from this game and pick up is that, you know we've got to give it 110 percent, you know, every night."

After trailing early, Stanford rallied behind Lopez's 11 first-half points to forge a 34-30 lead at halftime despite some hot shooting by Washington State, which made 6-of-8 3-pointers.

Weaver drove the lane and made a layup to pull the Cougars within two points just over a minute into the second half before Lopez scored five straight points to give the Cardinal a 39-32 lead with 16:44 remaining, forcing Washington State to call timeout.

Low hit a trio of 3-pointers following the timeout but Washington State couldn't contain Lopez, who countered the flurry with a pair of dunks sandwiched around a jumper by Mitch Johnson as the Cardinal maintained a four-point lead.

Stanford pushed its lead to 55-48 with 9:18 left to play on the strength of six points from Lopez over the previous 3 1/2 minutes.

After Washington State narrowed the deficit to 57-54 on a free throw by Weaver with 6:30 left to play, Stanford scored 12 of its final 20 points from the free line as the Cougars failed to get any closer and trailed by as many as 13 in the closing minutes.

Stanford will face No. 2 UCLA in the Saturday's final and will be seeking revenge after suffering a controversial 77-67 overtime loss on March 6.

Lopez, who was the first player to score 30 points against Washington State this season, is anxious for yet another matchup with UCLA's sensational freshman Kevin Love but is making no comparisons to their last battle.

"I'm always excited to play a great post player," Lopez told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He's real physical and seals off real well. ... It's a completely different game at a different site."

Hill, who was whistled for a questionable foul on a block by the Bruins' Darren Collison at the end of regulation, understands how difficult Saturday's contest will be.

"It's going to be one of the hardest games of the year," he told the Chronicle.