In a reversal of roles from its previous game against Oregon, Stanford men’s basketball (13-12, 7-5 Pac-12) were handily defeated 75-60 by Utah (14-9, 6-6) in Salt Lake City on Thursday night.
Against the Ducks, the Cardinal shot 62.5 percent from the field. The percentage was unsustainable, but they suffered a horrendous regression against the Utes with a 35.8 field goal percentage.
It just wasn’t the Cardinal’s night. Maybe it was getting too high after a huge win over Oregon or maybe it was the high altitude, but Stanford couldn’t get anything to go its way.
Stanford made 6-13 from beyond the arc and 16-22 on free throws (both above the season average), but 13-40 on twos led to the Cardinal’s downfall.
The Utes guards had field days against Stanford’s perimeter defense. Utah’s Justin Bibbins and Sedrick Barefield combined for 35 points and eight assists. They did it from the three-point line (5-9 from beyond the arc) and penetrated to get their bigs in great positions to score.
Utah outscored Stanford 36-24 in the paint.
Foul trouble aggrandized the Cardinal’s defensive woes. Freshmen Kezie Okpala and Oscar Da Silva both fouled out in under 17 minutes of action.
Senior forward Reid Travis and freshman guard Daejon Davis were the only Stanford players effective on offense. Travis ended with another double-double (16 points and 10 rebounds) but he had trouble scoring in the paint, finishing 4-of-9 on layups.
Davis had a solid, all-around game. He scored 14 points on 50 percent shooting and 2-3 from three. He added five rebounds, five assists and one steal to his total.
For most of the first half, Stanford and Utah were neck-and-neck with the Utes leading the whole half. However, after senior forward Michael Humphrey made 1-of-2 free throws to close the lead to 20-22, Utah went on a 18-8 run to take a 40-28 lead at the halftime whistle.
The Cardinal were down as much as 14 points as their offensive production sputtered towards the end of the half. Stanford shot 30.8 percent from the field in the first, while allowing the Utes to shoot 55.2 percent and allowing 22 points in the paint.
The Cardinal couldn’t guard the perimeter either as Bibbins and Barefield combined for 19 points and six assists in the half.
The offense started to come for the Cardinal at the start of the second half as Travis made a couple of basketballs on feeds from Davis and Okpala to cut the lead to 10. Stanford cut the lead to nine on a free throw by senior guard Dorian Pickens with 15:01 remaining.
Utah would explode offensively to take a 23-point lead with 9:10 left as the wheels fell off of Stanford.
Putting in the reserves with four minutes left, Stanford head coach Jerod Haase resigned himself to defeat in a frustrating loss for the Cardinal.
Rolling after the Oregon game, the Cardinal had a chance to move up in the Pac-12 standings, in RPI and in KenPom. Now, with a terrible loss to a mediocre team, Stanford’s already low chances of making the NCAA tournament are slipping barring a deep Pac-12 tournament run.
The Cardinal continue their Mountain road trip with a game against Colorado (14-10, 6-6) in Boulder on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.