By Quinn Barry
A 20-3 run in the first eight minutes led Stanford (12-11, 6-4 Pac 12) over Oregon State (11-10, 3-6 Pac 12) in a wire-to-wire 80-71 victory at Maples.
Senior Reid Travis (24 points, 9 rebounds) was nothing short of dominant. The Beavers had no answer for the Cardinal captain, who paced both teams in scoring. He opened the game with four of Stanford’s first five buckets, helping the Cardinal jump out to a 12-0 lead they would never relinquish. Countless times during the game, Travis used his superior strength to fight for position down low, then drop an easy layup in the hole for a score. He continued refining his outside stroke as well, knocking down both of his attempted threes.
Freshman Daejon Davis has been an offensive force for the Cardinal all year, but he had a defensive breakout game against Oregon State. On one sequence, he forced Beaver guard Stephen Thompson to the sideline, reached in and stripped the ball, then dove in the center of the floor to secure it. Instead of calling a timeout, Davis realized the Cardinal had numbers and shoveled the rock to Travis. The Senior quickly returned the ball to Davis, who finished a tough layup in traffic. It’s safe to say the ankle injury he suffered against Arizona State is long in the rear view mirror.
Just as importantly, the Washington native maintained his focus late in the game, forcing three more steals. The rookie finished with 12 points, 7 assists, and four steals and rebounds.
Coach Haase remarked on the defensive performance of the freshmen tonight. “With [Davis] and [Okpala], they really embrace the idea of one-on-one match-ups. [They] relish the idea of saying.
“I’m going one-on-one and I’m going to stop my man. They love the challenge of going against big time players and tonight, that’s about as big time as it gets going against Thompson and Tinkle both.”
Though Stanford owned a remarkable 27-7 advantage and forced nine Oregon State turnovers with eleven minutes to play in the first half, Oregon State was able to whittle the Cardinal lead to 12 in the next four minutes. A combination of three point scoring, lazy fouling by Stanford and paint offense spearheaded the Beaver comeback.
The surprisingly pass-savvy play of Isaac White, who notched eight points and three assists on the night, helped the Cardinal close the period strong up 43-28.
With the rest of Oregon State’s offensive ineffective, Tres Tinkle came alive in the second half, scoring 10 of his 18 points, including a beautiful up and under left-hand lay-up to bring Stanford’s lead back to 12. Drew Eubanks, silent in the first, poured in 14 of his 19 point total in the second period as the Cardinal failed to keep Oregon State out of the paint.
Stanford then went to a press defense to stop the bleeding. But that could not stop the Beaver’s brother connection. Ethan Thompson’s perfect pass out of a double team to his older brother Stephen, who drained a three from 26 feet out, cut the lead to seven.
The Cardinal responded with strong free throw shooting and by leveraging their size and athleticism to find easy opportunities in the paint, a consistent theme of the night. Stanford’s final 18 points were from the paint or the free throw line. The team shot 12-16 from the line in the final seven minutes, drawing contact as senior Dorian Pickens and freshmen Okpala and Davis forced their way inside.
Though Stanford let up their defensive effort late in the second half, it is promising to see the Cardinal beat a team they should have beaten in convincing fashion. Moreover, the Cardinal continued their strong three point marksmanship, converting over 40% of their shots from downtown, and their trademark unselfishness with 25 team assists. Stanford’s grueling four game stretch again Arizona State, Arizona, USC, and UCLA, arguably the top teams in the Pac-12, forced them to step up their game. It showed early in this contest when the Cardinal trounced the Beavers to an early 20-3 lead.
Stanford has an opportunity to improve on their 10-4 home record this Saturday at 2:00 PM against the Oregon Ducks. The game will be broadcast on Fox.
Contact Quinn Barry at qmbarry ‘at’ stanford.edu.