STANFORD -- Stanford avoided a third straight loss to begin Pac-12 Conference play by rallying to beat Washington State 78-67 on Wednesday.
The Cardinal trailed by five with less than seven minutes to play, but charged ahead with a 14-0 run to win the conference opener in front of 4,476 fans at Maples Pavilion.
"When we got down, everyone dug a little deeper, found something in themselves and came out and made big plays," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "It's a great way to win."
The rally prevented the Cardinal (10-6, 1-2 Pac-12) from a crippling start to conference play after it opened with losses at USC and UCLA. Stanford knew it couldn't afford another defeat.
"I was thinking, if we lose, practice is going to be awful," said Aaron Bright, who led the Cardinal with 21 points.
Washington State (9-6, 0-2) had trailed since midway through the first half when it grabbed a 42-41 lead on a 3-pointer by Brock Motum with 10:05 to play.
Motum, who scored a game-high 29, delivered a conventional three-point play with 7:10 left that gave the Cougars a 53-48 advantage.
Josh Huestis and Andy Brown both hit 3-pointers for Stanford to keep it close, as Washington State answered those buckets with interior scoring.
Chasson Randle put the Cardinal ahead when he made two free throws and then drove for a bucket with 5:08 remaining.
Dwight Powell delivered a put-back dunk and those plays served as the opening to the game-changing 14-0 run.
"The only way you can get on a run like that is to defend well," Dawkins said. "We were finally able to get some stops."
Stanford switched into a zone defense that allowed them to slow down Washington State. The Cardinal began controlling the glass and out-rebounded the Cougars 10-1 in the final seven minutes.
"We were just playing off each other's energy," said Powell, who had a solid all-around game with 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. "We were trying to get as many stops as we could in a row."
Stanford shot 52.3 percent for the game and was 14 of 24 in the second half. The Cardinal was even better from three-point range, shooting 8 of 12 for the night.
"They made shots and we didn't," Washington State coach Ken Bone said. "Along with that, I thought our energy was a little bit deflated. When they did start making some shots, all of sudden they were up by 8, 10, 12 and I thought that hurt us emotionally."
Bright scored 18 of his season-high 21 points in the second half for Stanford. He and Powell both went 8 of 8 from the free-throw line. The Cardinal made its first 24 free throws before Brown missed a pair.
Stanford's other key was being able to slow down Motum in the first half, when the Cougars leading scorer had just eight points. He exploded for 21 in the second half and took the game over at times, but the Cardinal eventually corralled him during its run.
Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.