STANFORD, Calif. -- Robert Cartwright enjoys going cold turkey and when it happened seven times in the first half, it makes for an easier game.
For Stanford, going cold turkey means getting three defensive stops in succession and that led to a runaway game.
Cartwright set a career-high for the second straight game, scoring 21 points in Stanford's convincing 84-54 victory over Washington State on Thursday night.
"Our defense held them to very few points early in the game," Cartwright said. "We wanted to protect our home court better than we did last time."
Dorian Pickens added 18 points and Reid Travis, who missed the past two games, had 17 for the Cardinal (9-8, 1-4 Pac-12), who stopped a four-game losing streak.
"I was surprised by the score," Cardinal coach Jerod Haase said. "But I'm not surprised we're making progress. We played well. I'm cautiously optimistic."
Conor Clifford scored 15 points to lead the Cougars (9-7, 2-2), who lost their second straight after a four-game winning streak. Josh Hawkinson added 14 and Ike Iroegbu had 13.
Cartwright, who matched his previous career-high, against UCLA, in the first half, sank a long 3-pointer with 13:53 remaining to play to put the Cardinal ahead 63-33.
The Cougars missed eight consecutive shots during an 11-0 Cardinal run.
Stanford scored 20 of the game's first 23 points and opened a 20-point lead less than 10 minutes into the contest.
"I thought they just physically manhandled us," Cougars coach Ernie Kent said. "Defensively we had no answers, offensively we had no answers. They shot the ball with an enormous amount of confidence and with toughness."
The Cardinal, who never trailed, shot nearly 56 percent from the floor in the first half and limited the Cougars to 28 percent shooting. Stanford also held advantages in points off turnovers, 13-2, and second-chance points, 10-4.
Stanford took a 48-23 edge into halftime.
Washington State: The Cougars were on a four-game winning streak before losing at home to Oregon last Saturday. They're still in good shape, but it's tough going the rest of the way. These are the only games WSU plays against the Bay Area schools. Josh Hawkinson is a nice story. He's 127 rebounds shy of the school record and 138 short of 1,000. He needs four double-doubles to match the school mark.
Stanford: The Cardinal entered conference play with an 8-4 record and then lost their first four Pac-12 games. The victory over the Cougars will likely pick up their spirits heading into Saturday's home game against Washington.
Stanford's top scorer and rebounds leader Reid Travis returned to the lineup after missing the past two games and sparked the Cardinal.
"I practiced yesterday and took part in the shootaround today," Travis said. "I felt great and the doctors gave me the OK. I worked on strengthening this week."
Travis ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 9.7 boards a game and third in scoring at 17.5.
Washington State: Travels to play at California on Saturday.
Stanford: Remains at home to host Washington on Saturday.
Cartwright scores career-high 21 in Stanford victory