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.