Despite an outstanding offensive performance by junior guard Chasson Randle, the Stanford men’s basketball team suffered its most disappointing loss of the season on Thursday night, falling to the Oregon State Beavers 81-72 in Corvallis, Ore. The loss drops Stanford (9-5) to 0-2 in the Pac-12, while the Beavers (9-6) move to 1-2 in the conference.
Stanford was outplayed by Oregon State from start to finish, falling behind early and struggling late in a forgettable performance that could trigger the wheels of change for the program. Despite entering the game last in the conference in rebounding margin and 3-point field goal percentage defense, the Beavers outrebounded the Cardinal 38-33 and held Stanford to a paltry 2-for-8 from behind the arc, proving that the Cardinal was both out-hustled and out-executed by a less talented team.
Junior forward Eric Moreland, playing in just his third game of the season, proved to be Stanford’s foil, registering a monster performance with 17 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and four blocks. He had plenty of support from the Pac-12’s leading scorer, Roberto Nelson, who met his average by pouring in 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and freshman Hallice Cooke, who had a career-high 16 points in his first ever start for the Beavers.
As has sometimes been the case this season, a terrific individual effort by Randle wasn’t enough to save the Cardinal. Stanford’s leading scorer finished the night with 30 points on 10-for-18 shooting and was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Senior forward Dwight Powell added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Stanford, but shot just 4-for-11 from the field and turned the ball over a season-high six times.
OSU outshot Stanford 47.2 percent to 41.4 percent and was a terrific 8-for-15 from 3-point range. The difference in the 3-point shooting alone was enough to make up the final deficit of the game, a surprising result considering the strengths of the two teams entering the game. Stanford had entered the contest second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage, but that advantage hardly showed on this night.
The Cardinal started the game slowly, falling behind quickly 12-6 thanks to three baskets by Nelson, before slowly crawling its way back into the contest. Stanford actually took a 15-14 lead with 10:41 remaining in the half on a jumper by Randle but the Beavers quickly regained control of the game with a 13-3 run to give themselves a 27-18 lead with 7:03 left in the half. Stanford was eventually able to whittle the lead to five by halftime, 37-32, after Randle scored once more with two seconds remaining.
Much of the second half proved to be a back-and-forth affair until Stanford went on a 12-6 run to cut the Oregon State lead to two with 10:55 left to play. Oregon State answered immediately, and a 3-pointer by Cooke and a layup by Moreland reestablished the Beavers’ lead at seven.
Senior Anthony Brown’s 3-pointer with 4:27 to play once again reduced OSU’s lead to two and a 3-point play by Randle with 2:59 left restored that same deficit, but a killer sequence that saw OSU outscore Stanford 5-0 over a one-minute stretch essentially put the Cardinal to bed.
It was Stanford’s first defeat to Oregon State in its last five contests, ending a streak that spanned the past two seasons.
Moving forward, the Cardinal must turn its attention to the No. 17 Oregon Ducks, a tough task to handle following a disappointing defeat such as the one endured on Thursday night. If it’s any consolation for the Cardinal, the Ducks (13-2, 1-2) are playing their worst basketball of the season at the moment, having dropped their second consecutive home game on Thursday night to Cal. Stanford will hope to exploit whatever is ailing Oregon and defeat the Ducks to turn around what has been yet another disappointing start to a season.
Contact Daniel E. Lupin at delupin ‘at’ stanford.edu.