After soaring to seven straight victories, Stanford men’s basketball (7-1, 0-0 Pac-12) was unable to come out on top in Tuesday night’s 68-67 battle against Butler (7-0, 0-0 Big East). The Cardinal-Bulldog contest was the championship round of the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Missouri, and the defeat shattered Stanford’s unblemished 7-0 start to the season.
When Butler jumped to an eight-point, 12-4 lead just three-and-a-half minutes into play, it became clear that Cardinal victory would not be earned easily. Though Stanford’s emphasis on defense has repeatedly been stressed by players and coaches alike, the Stanford coverage was hardly a deterrent for Butler, as the Bulldogs found opportunities for 31 shots in the first half. Fortunately for Stanford, only 11 of the shots fell, resulting in a mediocre 35.5% shooting percentage for the opening 20 minutes.
Stanford, on the other hand, scored on 12-of-23 first-half attempts, including four from behind the arc. A deep three at the buzzer from freshman guard Tyrell Terry tied things up at 29 as the first half concluded.
Terry also found himself on the ball at the second-half buzzer, this time with Stanford trailing by one. Though the Bulldogs led by as much as eight with just over four minutes left to play, the winner remained unclear even into the final seconds of the contest. With Butler up 66-65 and 21 seconds on the clock, Stanford’s junior forward Oscar da Silva found a wide-open sophomore guard Bryce Wills sneaking through the paint for an easy dunk.
Butler’s Kamar Baldwin refused to let the lead-changing basket go unanswered, however, and sank an elbow jumper over junior guard Daejon Davis with only eight seconds left to solidify the Bulldogs’ championship victory. On the other end, Terry was unable to put up a final shot.
Terry finished the night with a team-high 21 points — his third consecutive game of 20 or more. The freshman, who has started all eight games, has also scored more than 10 points in each, and averages 16.5 points per game. From the foul line, Terry has gone 22-for-25 on the season after counting the two picked up from the stripe against the Bulldogs. da Silva added 19 of his own and went 8-for-9 from the field, while Bryce Wills tallied 12 more for the Cardinal.
Nonetheless, the trio’s efforts were not enough to compensate for Stanford’s biggest struggles of the night: turnovers and rebounds. Heading into Tuesday night’s game, Stanford averaged nearly 30 defensive rebounds per game, with a season-high 36 coming against Oklahoma just one night earlier. Against the Bulldogs, however, the Cardinal only managed to snag 17 rebounds on the defensive side of the action, which helped Butler reel in 12 on the offensive glass and pick up 12 second-chance points. An additional 17 of the Bulldogs’ points were fueled by 15 Stanford turnovers.
The Cardinal return to the Farm for their next challenge, a Sunday matchup against UNC Wilmington. Cardinal-Seahawks action tips off at 1 p.m. PT at Maples Pavilion.
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.