PULLMAN, Wash. -- Matt Lottich was engulfed by his whooping, joyous teammates, their arms raised and their perfect season still alive.
His desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer, just steps from the jubilant Stanford bench, gave the top-ranked Cardinal a 63-61 victory over Washington State Thursday night, their second startling finish in a month.
"I grabbed someone and gave them a hug and said, `We did it again!' " said reserve Dan Grunfeld, who completed a rare 4-point play, also in the closing seconds.
But not long after all the hugs and shouts, coach Mike Montgomery put some perspective on this euphoric ride. He knew his team had escaped, and said so in the locker room. His players, all business now, packed their gear, leaving the hollering on the court.
"We need to treat this like a loss a little bit," Montgomery said. "We should not walk away feeling like a million bucks. We probably didn't play up to the level you need to win on the road in this league."
Stanford, on a 26-game winning streak, is dancing on the edge after another close call. On Feb. 7, Nick Robinson's running 35-footer as time expired lifted Stanford past Arizona, 80-77.
"It's obvious they have something special going for them," Cougar coach Dick Bennett said.
A victory over Washington today would give Stanford the first 18-0 season in Pacific-10 history. The Cardinal is trying to become the first team to finish undefeated since Indiana in 1976.
But first, Montgomery wants Stanford (26-0, 17-0 Pac-10) to toughen its approach for Washington (16-10, 11-6), which is second in the Pac-10. The Huskies are 1-26 against top-ranked opponents -- the lone win over UCLA in 1979 -- but Montgomery knows that means little.
"It'll be an NCAA-level game," he said. "They need a win to get in the NCAAs, and what better team than us to do it to?"
"We've got a one-game season for a perfect season, a three-game season for a Pac-10 tournament championship, and a six-game season for an NCAA championship," he added. "There are no more do-overs."
Lottich's 3-pointer capped a comeback that began with the Cardinal down by 6 with a minute left. Grunfeld cut it to 1 when he was fouled on a 3-pointer from the corner for his only points of the game. Then came the dramatic winner.