By Jack Seaton
The Stanford men’s basketball team struggled somewhat in its first game back in Maples Pavilion, eventually outlasting Division II opponent Cal Poly Pomona in its season-opening exhibition 79-76.
The Cardinal built a comfortable lead in the first half, which saw them head into the locker room with a 10-point gap over Cal Poly Pomona. The beginning of the second half saw similar success for the home team, which built the lead to 14 points with over 15 minutes remaining in the game. However, it did not prove to be a comfortable night as Cal Poly Pomona made a strong push back. In fact, eight minutes after Stanford had increased the gap to 14 points, Pomona hit a 3-pointer to take a 64-61 lead with 7:11 remaining in the game.
The Cardinal men stayed resilient and managed to score 14 of the game’s last 22 points to close the win out. Cal Poly Pomona had their chances at the end of the game, missing two 3-pointers in the dying seconds before freshman forward Michael Humphrey collected the ball and held on until the buzzer sounded.
Stanford relied on high-scoring games from senior Chasson Randle and fifth-year senior Anthony Brown to maintain its advantage. Brown supplied 22 points, shooting 8-for-13 from the field, while Randle topped the tables by scoring 26. Cal Poly Pomona was unable to stay out of foul trouble, allowing Stanford 43 free throw attempts, of which they scored 31. Randle ultimately scored 16 of his 26 points from the foul line.
There was a strong impact from the big men for Stanford. Freshman forward Reid Travis led the team in rebounding, grabbing 11, including 4 offensive rebounds. Fifth-year senior Stefan Nastic added 15 points to the total, hitting all of his free throws but one.
Stanford’s first exhibition game offered solid playing time to several of the Cardinal’s freshmen. Travis, Robert Cartwright and Michael Humphrey all enjoyed game time throughout, potentially foreshadowing the important role the freshman could play this year.
With good offensive output, defense could be the missing link to a successful season.
“We’ve been focusing on defense a lot,” Humphrey said regarding the build-up to the start of the season. “All of our rotations and our man and zone.”
Stanford will be looking to solidify its defense further before next Friday’s home opener against Wofford in the Coaches vs. Cancer classic. After last season’s NCAA tournament run, the Cardinal will aim for a strong season even after the losses of some key players from last year.
Contact Jack Seaton at jrseaton ‘at’ stanford.edu.