In a fight they were never thought to have a chance in, the Stanford men’s basketball team (4-4) put up a formidable performance against nationally No. 2-ranked Kansas (6-0) but was ultimately defeated in overtime by a final score of 90-84.
The first quarter was a flurry of action down and back on the court. With only 12 minutes played in the first quarter, the score was 17-15, and eight total lead changes had occurred.
Stanford’s capability to score on pace with Kansas was a surprise to the Jayhawks. In a play just five minutes into the first quarter, the ball was driven to the hoop by sophomore forward KZ Okpala, drawing defenders to the hoop, leaving sophomore guard Isaac White open for a corner three. White, receiving a season high in minutes with freshman guard Cormac Ryan in foul trouble, shot 5-7 from three and was the primary reason the Cardinal were in the game. White ended the game with 15 total points.
The first half was also filled with effective strategies of defensive on both sides. The Cardinal kept the game close with a top-ranked opponent full of NBA talent and one-and-done players.
With three minutes left in the half, the Kansas defensive was inactive, leaving senior center Josh Sharma wide open and side shuffling to the hoop. Mid-jump, he received the pass and slammed it into the basket for a powerful alley-oop. The next play Kansas answered with a quick jumper above the free throw line that swished through the net. The half ended with Stanford in the lead, 35-29.
Stanford was able to capitalize on its six-point advantage and continue the lead through almost half of the second half. With only nine minutes left, the Stanford defense started to develop holes.
The Kansas offense had multiple plays where the defense was diverted by the Jayhawks’ Devon Dotson and Lagerald Vick. Vick knocked down three-pointer after three-pointer towards the end of the second half.
It was Vick’s hot hand that proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Cardinal. With plays by the Cardinal and Kansas answering each other shot for shot, Stanford could not extend its lead, and the Jayhawks could not move in front. With less than 20 seconds left, the Cardinal led the game 75-72. But a prayer three from Vick ignited the Kansas field house and left the Cardinal shaking their heads as the game headed to overtime.
Vick scored another three at the start of overtime. The Stanford defense started to unravel, thanks in part to the absence of Sharma, who had fouled out, as the Kansas team obliterated the scoreboard in overtime. Kansas had multiple back to back plays resulting in points. From a three-pointer to a slam dunk to an alley-oop, Kansas was in control of overtime from start to finish. What started as an impressive effort by the Cardinal to nearly upset a top-ranked opponent ended in a Cardinal victory out of reach.
Overall, Stanford’s shooting was much improved this game with a season record of 12 three-pointers.
The whirlwind game’s final score was 90-84, with the Kansas Jayhawks scraping out a win. The next game the Cardinal will play is at home in Maples Pavilion on Dec. 15 against Eastern Washington.
Contact Nandini Naidu at nnaidu ‘at’ stanford.edu.