George Washington, trailing Stanford by only 34-28 at halftime, was unable to cope with the Cardinal's halfcourt zone and fullcourt press and dropped an 87-72 decision tonight before 5,225 at Maples Pavilion.

George Washington, which returns home to play Bowie State Saturday night at Smith Center, is 1-1. Stanford is 1-0.

The Colonials, who have no starter taller than 6 feet 6, used defense to create offense in the first half tonight. They confused and harried Stanford with a succession of switches from zone defense to man-to-man and got numerous easy transition baskets as the result of steals and quick outlet passes.

But George Washington could not break up Stanford's zone or remain composed against the Cardinal's backcourt pressure. The Colonials shot only 14 for 37 (38 percent) in the first half and 42.3 percent for the game. Their shot selection and patience deteriorated in the second half.

George Washington did not reach the foul line until 8:40 remained in the game, largely because of its inability to penetrate.

Stanford, with 6-11 Greg Butler and 6-8 Eric Reveno dominating the middle, went on a 23-4 run beginning five minutes into the second half. The Colonials contributed four time violations to their own demise as Stanford transformed a 38-36 advantage into a 61-40 lead with 9:05 remaining.

George Washington also appeared worn down by Stanford's superior depth. Cardinal Coach Tom Davis substituted on virtually every dead ball, thus forcing the pace to a level that seemed to affect the depth-shy Colonials.

George Washington was led by forward Steve Frick, who scored 17 points and had seven rebounds, both highs for his team. Guard Troy Webster had 15 points.

Freshman guard Todd Lichti led Stanford with 15 points.