The Stanford men’s basketball team finally found an opponent that was reeling worse than it was and took advantage of the opportunity to score a win over a ranked opponent on the road.
The Cardinal (10-5, 1-2 Pac-12) held on to defeat the No. 17 Oregon Ducks (13-3, 1-3 Pac-12) 82-80 on Sunday, giving Stanford its first Pac-12 win of the season while handing Oregon its third consecutive loss. After starting the year 13-0, the Ducks have now lost to Colorado, California and Stanford in consecutive games.
The game was a fight to the finish as the Cardinal was not able to secure the victory until senior forward Dwight Powell corralled Dominic Artis’ missed layup attempt that rolled off the front of the rim as time expired. Paired with Stanford’s upset win earlier this season at UConn, the victory over the Ducks marks the first time the Cardinal has won multiple road games over ranked teams in the same season since the 2001-02 campaign, and the first time it has defeated two ranked teams home or away since the 2008-09 season.
After struggling through a 1-10 shooting night against Oregon State, senior guard Anthony Brown came out on fire this time around, making his first seven shots en route to a career-high 24 points. He finished 10-of-12 from the floor and added six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
“After going 1-10 against Oregon State on Thursday, I just had to move forward,” Brown said. “I haven’t had a game like that all season. I told the team I felt like I let them down. During this game, I just wanted to make sure my energy level was there.”
“Anthony stepped up,” said junior guard Chasson Randle. “The starters had a talk after the Oregon State game and Anthony stepped up and said, ‘I’ve got you guys. We’re going to do it together but I’m going to step up next game.’”
While Brown led the scoring for Stanford, Randle nearly matched him with 23 points, capping a stellar offensive week for the Cardinal’s leading scorer. After scoring 30 points and shooting over 50 percent from the floor against Oregon State on Thursday, Randle was again efficient, finishing 8-of-14 from the field, including 2-for-4 from the 3-point range.
Stanford’s starting backcourt was stellar on Sunday, and it had to be, because senior frontcourt starters Josh Huestis and Stefan Nastic struggled mightily. Although Powell tallied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds, Huestis finished the game 0-for-7 from the field, and Nastic registered just four points and three rebounds before fouling out after playing only 12 minutes.
As a result, the bench was forced to play more extensive minutes. Depth has been an issue for Stanford all season long, especially given the injuries sustained by Andy Brown, Christian Sanders, Aaron Bright and Rosco Allen. On Sunday, Stanford’s bench was actually something of an asset, as seniors Robbie Lemons and John Gage and freshman Marcus Allen managed to chip in a combined 16 points, five rebounds and two assists. It was a dramatic improvement from the previous two games, when the substitutes only managed to contribute two points total against Cal and Oregon State.
Stanford led Oregon 59-50 after an Anthony Brown jump shot with 13:30 left to play, and then somehow managed to withstand a stretch in which the Ducks scored a 3-pointer on four straight possessions, three of them by senior forward Mike Moser.
The Cardinal was able to counter with a 3 and a pair of 2-point baskets of its own to keep the lead at four, and it would manage to cling to a similarly small lead for the rest of the game. The Ducks failed to capitalize on the five free throws Stanford missed down the stretch, including three in the final 14 seconds of the game.
“We hadn’t won a Pac-12 game, so it’s good to get one under your belt,” said head coach Johnny Dawkins. “The way we did it was really good because I felt the guys had to dig deep and make some plays at the end to secure the lead.”
Dawkins and Stanford will hope that this game can serve as a turning point for the season moving forward. The Cardinal will look to establish some consistently strong play when it hosts Washington State on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
Contact Daniel E. Lupin at delupin ‘at’ stanford.edu.