Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball takes down WSU 86-84; Davis’ free throws break tie with 10 seconds remaining

Photo credit: @StanfordMBB

By Alexandra Evans

PALO ALTO–The Stanford Cardinal Men’s Basketball team (15-13) received a visit from the Washington State Cougars (11-16) at Maples Pavilion on Saturday, which was also Senior Day for the Cardinal.

Cougars’ Drick Bernstine made the first basket of the game, the start of the team’s lead over the Cardinal. It was not until the 7:35 mark that the Cardinal caught the lead.

Unlike Thursday’s match against the Washington Huskies, however, the Cardinal’s lead never made it to the double digits. The highest score by which they exceeded the Cougars was seven, as they kept managing to inch their way close to a tie, until the end of the period when Michael Humphrey, one of the seniors who was honored before the match (along with Dorian Pickens), made a buzzer-beating three-pointer for the Cardinal. The score was 49-40 at halftime

Freshman KZ Okpala, who made the first basket for his team, had the most points for the Cardinal after the opening period with 11. Bernstine exceeded the Cougars with 12 points.

When the second period began, Malachi Flynn made a three-pointer for the Cougars, followed by a layup from Kwinton Hinson. Shortly after, Hinson was fouled and Okpala made both free throws, making the score 51-45. Humphrey then got a layup directly after, and then made a dunk (assisted by Daejon Davis) to give the Cardinal their first double digit lead of the game less than four minutes in. Reid Travis brought the Cardinal’s lead to 12 with a layup at the five-minute mark.

The Cardinal managed to keep their lead in the double digits after Travis blocked a shot from Milan Acquaah, and again Oscar da Silva made a three-pointer at the eight-minute mark. Dorian Pickens then made two free throws to give the Cardinal a 14-point lead.

The Cougars cut their trail to single digits after Robert Franks got a three-pointer. The Cardinal’s lead remained in the single digits (even dropping to a two-point difference with a minute remaining), and then the score was tied 84-84 after Franks got on a breakaway and dunked for the Cougars with 30 seconds left in the game.

Two free throws from Davis put the Cardinal ahead by two points with 10 seconds on the clock, and they took home an 86-84 win.

Okpala and Travis finished the game with 20 points to lead the Cardinal. Franks led the Cougars with 19 points.

The Stanford Cardinal will head to the desert on Thursday, March 1 to take on the Arizona Wildcats.

Stanford Cardinal defeats Washington Huskies 94-78 for the ​second time this season; That’s two straight wins in a row for Stanford

photo by gostanford.com: Stanford Cardinal Travis Reid (22) led Stanford in offense on Thursday night at Maples Pavilion with 33 points

By Alexandra Evans

PALO ALTO—After defeating their archrivals, the California Golden Bears, in Berkeley on Sunday, the Stanford Cardinal Men’s Basketball team (15-13 overall, 9-6 in the Pac-12) returned to Maples Pavillion on Thursday night to face the Washington Huskies (18-10 overall, 8-7 in the Pac-12), whom they beat 73-64 in mid-January on the road. Both teams were 8-6 in the Pac-12 conference going into the match.

Humphrey made the first basket for the Cardinal and Noah Dickerson for the Huskies. The Cardinal kept a lead over the Huskies for the entire first half, which gradually increased as the period progressed. The Huskies started trailing the Cardinal by the double digits 5:29 in after forward Dorian Pickens made a three-pointer.

Huskies’ Dominic Green cut Stanford’s lead back into the single digits at 10:28, but only for 19 seconds, when Stanford’s Reid Travis made a jumper. The lead remained in the double digits from there on out. At the end of the period, the Cardinal exceeded the Huskies by 22 points.

Travis ended the period with 23 points, the highest on the team, and Pickens, Travis’ runner-up, finished the opening stanza with 12 points. Dickerson led the Huskies with 10 points, followed by Jaylen Nowell who had seven.

The second period began with a jumper from Pickens to make the score 50-26. The Huskies began inching their way toward cutting the Cardinal’s lead below 20 (and they came close at the four-minute mark when David Crisp got a layup to make the score 56-36), but the Cardinal held on as Oscar da Silva made a three-pointer at the five minute mark, keeping them ahead of the Huskies by more than 20 points.

Da Silva made one of three free throws just after the seven-minute mark to bring the score to 62-42. Daejon Davis (who was originally committed to the University of Washington) then stepped in for da Silva.

Dominic Green made a jumper for the Huskies to bring the Cardinal’s lead down to 18 points. Additionally, after Josh Sharma was fouled, Nahziah Carter made both free throws to cut the lead to 16 points. Then, Green made a three-pointer with 11 minutes remaining on the clock, and the Huskies trailed only by 13 (62-49), the closest they’d get to a single digit lead since early in the first half.

After much back and forth in the three minutes that followed, a dunk from Humphrey, a three-pointer from Pickens, a layup from da Silva, two free throws from Pickens, and a three-pointer from da Silva, the Cardinal inched their way back up to a 19-point lead, then 21 after da Silva made a dunk. Crisp made a three-pointer for the Huskies, followed by a layup from Humphrey for the Cardinals, and then another three-pointer from Matisse Thybulle brought the score to 78-62.

Carter chimed in on the three-pointer action and shot one for the Huskies with just over 6 minutes remaining in the match, and the score was 80-65. Nowell got a layup with 5:19 remaining and the lead was once again cut to 13 points, and then increased to 14 after Pickens made one of two free throws for the Cardinal.

Travis stepped on the line for a bonus one-and-one, making both shots to bring the score to 83-67. Carter then made a free throw (83-68) for the Huskies.

Carter was fouled with just over four and a half minutes remaining, giving Travis two free throw opportunities, both of which he made. Carter made a three-pointer for the Huskies before his teammate Hameir Wright was fouled, giving Davis two free throws; he made one to make the score 87-71.

A three-pointer from Thybulle cut the Cardinal’s lead to 12, then KZ Okpala made one of two free throws from Stanford to make it 13 once again. Carter missed a three-pointer which would have brought the lead down to 10 points.

The Cardinal closed out their win with one free throw from Travis and another from Okpala.

Travis earned a career high in points and led the Cardinal with 33, and Pickens finished second with 20 points. Nowell led the Huskies with 18 points, followed by Carter with 17.

Stanford will face the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, February 24, which is also Senior Day. Pickens and Humphrey will be honored for their contribution to Cardinal Basketball.

Stanford falls to #14 Arizona by just two points in close 73-71 loss

Photo: @StanfordMBB

By Alexandra Evans

PALO ALTO — After beating #16 Arizona State on Wednesday, the Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball team took on the #14 Arizona Wildcats, to whom they fell ,73-71, in front of a packed Maples Pavilion Saturday afternoon. With the loss, Stanford’s five-game winning streak was snapped by Arizona.

In a back-and-forth game among two Pac-12 leaders, Stanford failed to exceed Arizona. The Cardinal trailed by a maximum of 10 points at one time in the first period.

The Cardinal stepped up in the second period and even managed to exceed the Wildcats by more than 10 points. This was first facilitated by a jumper from Reid Travis four minutes in, and then the Cardinal were ahead 11 points after Dorian Pickens got a 3-pointer just over 10 minutes in. However, the latter team managed to take the lead again with 38 seconds left in the game, only exceeding them by one point.

It came down to the final shot (Rawle Alkins’ go-ahead layup with 38 seconds left in regulation), but the Cardinal came up just two points short in a 73-71 loss to the Wildcats.

“It was a battle and outside the first six, eight, ten minutes of the game we joined the battle and competed at a high level,” said Stanford head coach Jerod Haase. “There were a lot of positives that we’ll take away. Obviously there a lot of things we can learn from as well but at the end of the day I think we competed at a high level.”

Travis led the Cardinal in points with 20, and Allonzo Trier exceeded the Wildcats with 21 points.

“Winning on the road is hard, and I give Stanford a lot of credit,” said Arizona head coach Sean Miller. “Stanford’s resiliency was impressive. They scored 42 points on us (in the second half), and they had their starting point guard the entire second half.”

“Stanford’s game plan was good,” Miller added. “They have some big bodies, Humphrey’s a senior, a very good player; Reid Travis is not only one of the better players in our conference, but in college basketball.”

Next: Stanford will take on the USC Trojans in Los Angeles on Wednesday, January 24 at 6:00 pm PT.

Stanford Cardinal faces ASU Sun Devils, outshine them 86-77

Photo: @StanfordMBB

By Alexandra Evans

PALO ALTO—The Stanford Cardinal Men’s Basketball team (11-8 overall, 5-1 in the Pac-12) returned home from a road trip across the state of Washington with two straight wins (their first road sweep since 2010) under their belt. On Wednesday evening, they faced the Arizona State Sun Devils (14-4 overall, 2-4 in the Pac-12) at Maples Pavilion.

Dorian Pickens made the first basket for the Cardinal and, within minutes, the first three-pointer of the match, both of which helped Stanford hit the ground running. The Cardinal managed to keep a lead over the Sun Devils for the whole the opening period, even within just one or two points.

An aggressive block from Stanford’s Josh Sharma kept ASU from tying the score with just over two minutes left in the first half, though he was later fouled, allowing ASU’s Romello White to score two free throws and tie the game 32-32. Reid Travis put up a three-pointer for Stanford, then Remy Martin for ASU, tying the score again. With 39 seconds left, Daejon Davis made a jumper to give the Cardinal a two-point lead (37-35) at halftime.

At the end of the first half, Pickens led the Cardinal with 10 points, and Travis had nine points and five rebounds. Oscar da Silva had six points, comprised of two three-pointers. White put up 10 points for the Sun Devils, leading the team after 20 minutes, and Martin added nine.

The Sun Devils caught up within two minutes, trailing only by two points (40-38), before Travis brought the Cardinal up to a seven-point lead with a three-pointer and a layup. Pickens chimed in and added a three-pointer, and Sharma dunked twice, and then the Cardinal exceeded the Sun Devils by the double digits (56-43). Sharma also dunked one of Pickens’ missed jumpers, eliciting an explosively enthusiastic reaction from both the bench and the stands.

ASU began trailing Stanford by single digits once again with 6:21 left in the match, when Mickey Mitchell got a layup. They trailed only by two points with four minutes remaining, courtesy of the Sun Devils’ leader in points, Tra Holder, who put up a three for his team.

After a nerve-wracking final four minutes, Stanford regained their multi-point lead and upset the #16-ranked ASU by nine points (86-77).

Pickens led the Cardinal in points with 19, and Travis in rebounds with 10. White put up 19 points to lead the Sun Devils, and Mitchell made the most rebounds with seven.

The Stanford Cardinal are back at Maples Pavilion on Saturday to face the Arizona Wildcats at 1:00 p.m.

Stanford Cardinal Podcast with Matt Harrington: Taking a look at how Reid Travis is faring during current Cardinal win streak

Photo credit: GoStanford.com

On the Stanford Cardinal Podcast with Matt Harrington:

With the Stanford Cardinal (10-8), who won their fourth straight game over Washington (13-5) 73-64 in Alaskan Airlines Arena tonight, the Cardinal’s leading scorer Reid Travis 16 points on Saturday night has held up even in the some of Stanford’s tougher moments earlier this season. Regardless of the circumstances that faced the Cardinal earlier this season Travis has come in prepared to throw down or throw up his game as he leads with 30.1 points per game.

Travis is one of two players who started all 27 games in his junior year in the Pac-12 that finished in the top six in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage. Travis has led Stanford in nine separate categories (470, 17.4 ppg), rebounding (239, 8.9), offensive rebounding (93, 3.4 orpg, defensive rebounding (146, 5.4 drgp), field goals made (176), field goal attempted (304), field goal percentage (.579), free throws made (118), free throws attempted (181).

Matt Harrington does the Stanford Cardinal podcasts each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Stanford defeats Pac-12’s #1 UCLA 107-99 in double OT

Photo: @StanfordMBB

By Alexandra Evans

The Stanford Cardinal Men’s Basketball team (now 7-8) kicked off 2018 with a match against the visiting UCLA Bruins, who went into the match 11-3 (first place in the Pac-12 Conference).

After UCLA took the lead for the first part of the game, Dorian Pickens tied the score 22-22 (with a three-pointer) with six minutes left in the first half, as the shot clock reached zero. Travis then got a layup and a free throw to give the Cardinal the lead once again (25-24), and Dorian Pickens got another three-pointer just after the Bruins’ Jaylen Hands got a jumper, and the Cardinal trailed by only one point.

For the remaining minutes of the match, the Bruins managed to re-tie the score each time the Cardinal took a lead. After Hands’ basket, Michael Humphrey shot for Stanford, then 30 seconds later, UCLA’s Gyorgy Goloman made a three-pointer and tied the score 30-30. Oscar da Silva got a layup, but Aaron Holiday (who leads UCLA in points per game) made both free throws and gave the Bruins a 34-32 lead.

Then, it was Stanford who had to catch up. Kris Wilkes got a layup for UCLA to give them a 36-32 lead. It took two layups from Okpala to tie the score again (36-36). The Bruins clearly weren’t having it, determined to keep their lead. Prince Ali (not to be mistaken with the Disney character Aladdin’s alter ego) got a three-pointer and a layup within 30 seconds of one another. The Bruins led the Cardinal 41-36 at halftime.

The Cardinal, moved to make a comeback against the conference’s first-place team, inch their way up on the scoreboard each time the Bruins took a lead, which the latter team managed to keep. Shots alternated between both teams, beginning with Travis, then UCLA’s Thomas Welsh, a three-pointer from Stanford’s Daejon Davis, two free throws from Holiday, another three-pointer by Pickens, then one from Holiday, a layup from Okpala, and two completed free throws from Holiday which put the Bruins four points ahead at 50-46.

After a time-out just before the five-minute mark, Pickens got his fourth three-pointer of the night, bringing the Cardinal down by only one point. Despite a consistent number of baskets  for the Cardinal at the 30-minute mark of the match (10 minutes into the second period), they remained inferior to the Bruins, who were up by 10 at that point (71-61).

UCLA increased their double-digit lead as soon as Goloman got a three-pointer, and they stayed ahead even after Okpala made two free throws (the Cardinal trailed 74-63). Davis cut Stanford’s trail to single digits (after making a layup and a free throw, and after a dunk from Travis right after Holiday’s layup. Though Ali made a three-pointer and gave the Bruins a 12-point lead, Humphrey got a three pointer followed by a dunk, and the Cardial only trailed by seven, then only by five when Pickens got a layup with four minutes left in the game.

After a free throw from UCLA’s Alex Olesinski and two from Davis, Stanford trailed only by four. Wilkes was fouled for the Bruins, giving Davis two free throw opportunities. He made only one, after which the Cardinal were only a three-pointer away from tying the Bruins.

Da Silva got a layup assisted by Pickens with 46 seconds left in the game, and then the Cardinal were only a basket away from exceeding the Bruins. However, a layup from Holiday allowed the Bruins to keep their lead. Humphrey was fouled with 18 seconds left, but Ali missed both free throws for UCLA. Miraculously, Pickens got another three-pointer, his fifth of the night, with six seconds left to tie the score 85-85.

In overtime, Humphrey made two free throws to give the Cardinal their first lead since the opening minutes of the first half, but the Bruins quickly came back when Thomas Welsh made a layup and a free throw. Davis got a layup and gave Stanford a one-point lead (89-88), but after Goloman made a free throw, the score was tied again, and then the Bruins regained their lead after a jumper from Holiday (91-89).

Okpala tied the score with two and a half minutes left (91-91), and then it was up to the Cardinal’s defense to ensure the Bruins would not surpass them yet again, which they managed to do. And then, with only half a minute left, da Silva dunked and gave the Cardinal the lead. After a successful free throw from Okpala, they were ahead 94-91 until Holiday made a buzzer-beating three-pointer. The score was tied once again (94-94), sending the match into a second overtime period.

It was all defense for the Cardinal as the Bruins had possession of the ball when the second OT period began. Okpala was fouled, and then Ali made two free throws to give the Bruins a two point lead. Josh Sharma got a layup for the Cardinal and tied the score 96-96, but then he was fouled. Ali made one free throw and the Bruins were only one point ahead. There was hope for the Cardinal, until Sharma was fouled again, giving Ali two more free throw opportunities. He made both, and the Bruins led the Cardinal 99-96.

Pickens made two free throws after Holiday was fouled, cutting the Bruins’ lead to only one point. Sharma was fouled again for Stanford, after which Hands failed to make both free throw opportunities. Goloman was fouled for UCLA, giving Isaac white two free throw opportunities, which he missed. Pickens made his sixth free throw of the evening, and the Cardinal were in the lead again (101-99).

Davis saved the day (or, rather, the evening) when he got a layup with half a minute remaining to give the Cardinal a four point lead (103-99). White again received two free throw opportunities when Hands was fouled, both of which he made. Pickens also made two free throws, and the Cardinal took home a 107-99 victory.

Pickens and Davis led the team in points with 26 and 22 points, respectively, and Travis (who had 18 points) led the team in rebounds with 11.

Next, Stanford will face the USC Trojans (10-5) on Sunday, January 7 at home.

Stanford Cardinal defeated 77-74 by archival Cal Bears in Pac-12 opener

Photo: @StanfordMBB

By Alexandra Evans

PALO ALTO—The Stanford Cardinal Men’s Basketball team faced their first Pac-12 opponent of the season and cross-Bay Area rivals, the California Golden Bears, at Maples Pavillion two days before the new year.

Don Coleman, Marcus Lee, Justice Sueing, Nick Hamilton, and Darius McNeill started for the visiting Golden Bears. Kezie Okpala, Daejon Davis, Reid Travis, Michael Humphrey, and Dorian Pickens (who was out with an injury earlier this season) started for the Cardinal.

Cal’s Marcus Lee made the first basket of the game 17 seconds in, and Stanford’s Michael Humphrey made the second basket 13 seconds later. Cal made another two baskets over the course of 24 seconds and exceeded Stanford by four points at the 1:25 mark, until Reid Travis got a layup 15 seconds later at the 1:40 mark and Dorian Pickens made a three-pointer at 2:16, commencing Stanford’s lead over Cal, which would gradually increase throughout the first half.

Stanford’s Michael Humphrey more than doubled the lead just over 4 minutes in (13-6), and Stanford upped their lead to 10 points at the halfway point of the first 20 minutes. The score more than doubled again at the 12-minute mark (25-12) when Kezie Okpala made a jumper, assisted by Robert Cartwright.

The energy on the court and in the stands amped up significantly in the remaining five minutes of the first half, during which Stanford did not let their lead drop below 11 points. Humphrey made a dunk at 18:06 which put the Cardinal at a 14-point lead over the Bears, followed by a three-pointer from Dorian Pickens, bringing the lead to 17 points and then down to 15 after Cal’s Justice Sueing made two free throws following a foul on Oscar da Silva. Coleman made a three-pointer for the Bears with 30 seconds left in the half, and the Cardinal exceeded the Bears 37-24 at halftime.

Cal would slowly catch up to Stanford throughout the second half, and eventually exceed them. Coleman made the first basket, cutting Stanford’s lead over Cal to 11 points, and then by 10 points at the 3:18 mark when Lee got a jumper. Humphrey scored for Stanford, then Sueing for Cal, and the Cardinal’s lead was once again a point away from the single digits. Every time Stanford’s lead was cut to 10 points, they would score again to keep their lead above it through the first 10 minutes of the second half. Lee dunked for Cal, and less than a minute later, Josh Sharma made a jumper followed by a layup from Travis, giving Stanford a 15-point lead (55-40) at 6:43. The score was 60-45 just after the 10-minute mark, courtesy of Humphrey’s layup. 20 seconds later, McNeill got a 3-pointer for Cal. Stanford attained a 17 point lead after a 3-pointer from Davis with 9:28 remaining in the half.

Stanford’s lead was cut to single-digits when Cal’s Kingsley Okoroh got a layup with 6:12 left; they only led Cal by nine points. Coleman got a layup almost a minute after Okoroh, bringing the score to 66-59. Humphrey dunked for the Cardinal, inching the way back to a double-digit lead. He made a jumper one minute after his dunk and brought Stanford’s lead to 11 points once again. However, McNeill made a three-pointer for Cal directly after, followed by two layups and a free-throw from Sueing; Cal trailed by only three points. Travis quickly retaliated for Stanford with a layup and a free throw, bringing their lead up to six points. With 1:17 left in the game, Grant Anticevich made a three-pointer for Cal, making the score 73-72, giving Cardinal fans a “sudden death” feeling. Sueing got a layup and a free throw, and the Bears led the Cardinal for the first time since the beginning of the match (73-75). Travis was given two free throw opportunities with 20 seconds left in the match, only one of which he made. Davis was then fouled for Stanford, and Coleman, with two free-throw opportunities, made both for Cal with 17 seconds remaining. Travis had a chance at a three-pointer in the final seconds, but could not make it past Cal’s defense.

The Bears took home a 77-74 win.

“You go into every game confident that you’re going to win,” Humphrey said after being asked about the expectations of facing an identically ranked team. “We were all fired up to play [a rivalry game]. We wanted to start off Pac-12 play the right way, but we didn’t do that.”

Stanford struggled to make a majority of their free throws, which could have been the “make or break” of the overall score.

“I’ve probably worked more with free throws and shot more with [Stanford] than any other team I’ve ever had,” said Coach Jerod Haase. “To miss 16 free throws is going to be a problem. Ideally, you don’t get into that situation if the lead [in points] is a little bit bigger.”

Haase continued, “The experience and the cohesion of playing together is still growing, as is the execution of everything we are doing. But at the end of the day, you find ways to get stops at the end of a game… this game is going to sting, it’s going to hurt, but I feel as though we are building a foundation of something special.”

Both Stanford and Cal were 6-7 going into the match; one could argue that the outcome was going to be unpredictable. Stanford’s leader in points, Travis, averages 21.4 points per game (almost double that of his runner-up, Michael Humphrey, who has an average of 11.6 points per game). Cal’s point leader, Coleman, averages 20.5 points per game.

The Stanford Men’s Basketball team will commence the new year with a home match against the UCLA Bruins on January 4, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

Not in Kansas anymore: Stanford looking for answers after lopsided 75-54 loss to Jayhawks

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Kansas’ Svi Mykhailiuk gets to the rim against Stanford in the Jayhawks’ 75-54 victory at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA (Photos courtesy of Jordan Chapin)

By Morris Phillips

SACRAMENTO–Seventeen seconds into Thursday night’s contest, Kansas’ 7’0″ Udoka Azubuike cruised to the rim for an emphatic dunk.  Six minutes later and after a pair of missed shots, Stanford’s leading scorer, Reid Travis responded with a far less attention-grabbing layup.

The timing and impact of the two baskets said it all: Kansas locked in from the start, cruising to a 75-54 victory, while Stanford spent the evening searching for answers to questions that might not find answers until after the Cardinal return home from Sacramento.

In front of a Golden 1 Center crowd that was heavily populated with Kansas supporters and reigning National Player of the Year Frank Mason, now with the Sacramento Kings, the Jayhawks put an end to their issues with Pac-12 schools in one swift act. Normally dominant, Kansas had suffered losses to Arizona State and Washington earlier this month, and a shocking defeat to Oregon in last season’s NCAA Elite Eight at Kansas City. All three losses suggested that the national powerhouse from the Big 12 had slipped.  Dominating Stanford on Thursday said just the opposite.

Simply, said Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham, “We didn’t allow them to play well.”

Graham’s stern pronouncement stemmed from Kansas’ determination to get Stanford’s leading scorer stopped in his tracks. Travis, who scored 29 points last season at Kansas, and equaled that number (his career high) in the Cardinal’s previous game against USF, had a quiet night, scoring just 12 points, well off his 22.5 ppg average.  The Jayhawks rotated a trio of big guards on Travis, all at least two inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than the Stanford star. The quicker Kansas defenders kept Travis from driving. When Travis moved inside, he got attention from everywhere, including the shot blocking Azubuike.

“We did a good job considering how small we were guarding him,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I didn’t think our pressure was very good. We limited his opportunities to get to the glass.”

Most telling was the length of time that it took Travis to get the first of his five baskets. Against USF, Travis scored Stanford’s first eight points of the game. On Thursday, the ball was forced from his hands to his less steady teammates.  And without his usual scoring, Travis struggled at the foul line (1 of 3) and on the glass (4 rebounds).

Meanwhile, Azubuike shot 12 of 15, while leading Kansas’ dunk parade (a Kansas beat writer estimated that the Jayhawks had 13 dunks in the game) and playing off his far more offensively-savvy teammates to perfection. The sophomore from Nigeria whose serious pursuit of a basketball career began in the ninth grade, only slightly improved his shooting percentage from the floor from 77.6 percent to 77.9. Kansas shot 52.5 percent for the game, slight above their average which ranks fourth nationally.  Not surprisingly, Azubuike’s gaudy shooting percentage ranks number one nationally.

“We didn’t have an answer to be able to stop him, but that lies on my shoulders,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said of his team’s plan to limit Azubuike. “It was a conscious decision on our part to try and take away as many three-point shots and neutralize the four perimeter players out there as much as possible. That left Mike (Humphrey) and Josh (Sharma) on an island a little bit.”

Stanford again played without much-needed wing players Dorian Pickens and Marcus Sheffield, who are injured, and their absence showed in their less experienced teammates’ statistics.  The Cardinal’s three freshman, starters Daejon Davis and Oscar Da Silva along with top reserve Isaac White, combined to miss 13 of their 15 shots.  A fourth freshman, Kezie Okpala, made his Stanford debut against Kansas after missing the first 12 games due to academic issues, and gave the Cardinal a shot of energy with his length and defense.  But Okpala’s contribution ended there: he also struggled with his shot, missing six of his eight attempts.

The Cardinal shot a chilly 34 percent for the game, which was prominently posted on the gigantic Golden 1 Center video board for all to see.  They shot just 30 percent in the second half, and when they reduced their 20-point halftime deficit to 15 on two occasions, little else positive transpired other than the game’s final horn.

Unless you credit the heavy Kansas contingent, who stole the show during timeouts with their KissCam and DanceCam performances. Mason, who Self said has really impressed the Kings’ coaching staff both on and off the floor, sat courtside and did his bit to fire up the crowd during timeouts, shooting halfcourt shots at halftime, and tossing giveaway t-shirts into the crowd. Travis swore the Kansas presence didn’t affect him or his teammates. Graham, who had 14 points and six assists, felt just the opposite.

“Shout out to Jayhawk nation,” Graham said. “They supported us well. It felt like a home game for us. It was a great atmosphere.”

Michael Humphrey led Stanford with 20 points and seven rebounds.

The Cardinal return from a Christmas break on December 30, when they will host California in the Pac-12 opener.

Stanford Cardinal defeat Denver Pioneers 75-62 at home

Photo: @StanfordMBB

By Alexandra Evans

PALO ALTO–The Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball team returned home from Southern California (after getting defeated by Long Beach State 76-68 on Sunday, December 3) to face, and defeat, the University of Denver Pioneers.

Stanford, who recently endured four consecutive defeats before winning two of the three most recent matches, kept a lead over Denver the entire match, even though the Pioneers trailed close at various moments.

In addition to the Cardinal’s 75-62 win, this match also marked freshman Daejon Davis’ career-peaking game to date as his first college quarter comes to a close. The stars of the game were and Davis and Reid Travis, who each put up 20 points.

”With the long [5 day] stretch off, coach [Haase] really held us accountable on everything,” Davis said. ”The level of focus on the little things helped us.”

Even the Pioneers’ coach, Rodney Billups, had to acknowledge Davis’ acceleration.

“Davis got hot. We didn’t anticipate him making so many shots. If you look at his season stats from behind the arc, we would have bet that he would not make so many tonight. But good players make plays,” Billups said.

Isaac White was the runner-up for Stanford. He put up 17 points and contended that being under .500 is “unacceptable.” Losing teams do not make NCAA tournaments, White explained, clearly wanting to compensate for the Cardinal’s recent streak of losses.

”We got a win. That was the number one thing,” Jerod Haase, Stanford’s coach, said following the match, also noting that the team was much stronger offensively tonight.

The Cardinal will face the University of San Francisco Dons this Sunday, December 17, at 3:00 p.m.

Portland State Defeats Stanford 87-78 in Final Round of PK80

Photo: @StanfordMBB

By Alexandra Evans

PORTLAND, OR—The Stanford Cardinal took on Portland State for the final round of the Phil Knight Invitational on Sunday evening, falling by nine points after having kept a lead over the Vikings the entire first half by as much as 14 points.

Stanford first took the lead 7-4 after freshman Isaac White made a three-pointer from the corner. Robert Cartwright then made a triple of his own to keep the Cardinal ahead 10-8. The lead persisted, courtesy of the point-maker himself, Reid Travis, with contribution from Daejon Davis who made his first career three-pointer. From there, Travis took off like a rocket. Over the course of 8 minutes, he scored 19 points to bring the Cardinal to a 44-35 lead at the half.

When the second 20 minutes commenced, the Vikings caught up to the Cardinal, trailing by only five points (49-44) in the first three minutes. Five minutes later, Portland State’s Jamie Orme tied the score 55-55.

The Vikings first claimed the lead after Michael Mayhew made a three-pointer to make the score 58-57. They then exceeded the Cardinal by six points, then three again, then by 10 (72-62), courtesy of Holland Woods (who gave the Vikings 13 points in the second half).

Portland State, at one point, exceeded Stanford by 17 points, who just barely caught up to  bring their lag to nine points, taking an 87-78 defeat.

On Friday, the second round of PK80, Stanford was defeated by Ohio State 79-71, and by the University of Florida on Thanksgiving Day, to whom they fell 108-87.

The Cardinal will return to the Bay Area to face the Montana Grizzlies on Wednesday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m.