By Quinn Barry
The Stanford Cardinal (6-6) defeated the University of San Francisco Dons (6-4) on Sunday for their second straight win. The 71-59 home victory moves the team back to the .500 mark for the first time in nearly a month.
The win comes at a critical juncture in the Cardinal’s season. A date in Palo Alto against No. 13 Kansas looms on Thursday and the onset of conference play follows right after.
Forward Reid Travis was the story in tonight’s victory, as the Dons simply had no answer for the senior. Possession after possession, Cardinal guards fed the 6-foot-8, 245-pound forward in the paint, who then proceeded to bully the USF big men for 18 first half points. He also stretched the floor in a way he had yet to do this season, draining two three-point field goals in the first half to help give the Cardinal a 38-21 advantage at the break.
Stanford kept its foot on the gas by opening the second period on an 11-3 run. USF did not go away, however. The Dons scored eleven straight points to cut the lead to 51-40, before another 11-2 run reduced the deficit to just eight with under two minutes to play. Guards Chase Foster and Sonny Boum, both ice cold in the first half, literally drained second half threes left and right, combining for six triples total.
During USF’s comeback scare, Travis exited with an apparent injury. Fears of relinquishing another lead in the second half to an inferior opponent started to swell. But senior Michael Humphrey, who posted nine points and nine boards, and the incredibly poised freshman forward Oscar Da Silva, with seven points and six boards himself, stepped up big time during Travis’s brief absence. When Reid returned, he quickly added a power lay-up. Then, a drive and dish from Robert Cartwright to Da Silva for three sealed it for the Cardinal.
The Cardinal can continue to count on Travis during conference play, who matched a career-high 29 points tonight and also crossed the 1,000 point plateau for his Stanford career. His physicality creates easy buckets and also opens the floor for players like freshman guard Isaac White and Da Silva to make outside shots.
Stanford also must continue pressuring their opponents on defense. They allowed USF to make just 27 percent of their shots and outrebounded the Dons 41-27. However, the field goal percentage statistic is somewhat misleading. The Dons missed many wide-open looks from beyond-the-arc. Those shots started falling in the second half, which is what allowed the Dons to outscore the Cardinal 38-33 in that period. Moreover, multiple times in Sunday’s game, Stanford guards (who had a combined twelve turnovers, led by Daejon Davis with eight) carelessly dribbled into double teams and coughed up the ball to USF defenders, who would go on to miss an open three.
Kansas and Pac-12 opponents will not be so generous.
The Cardinal now look ahead to a matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks in Sacramento Thursday. That game will tip-off at 8 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted on ESPN2.
Contact Quinn Barry at qmbrady ‘at’ stanford.edu