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Career highs from Oscar da Silva, Spencer Jones propel men’s hoops past UNC Wilmington

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Career highs from junior forward Oscar da Silva and freshman forward Spencer Jones were key in Stanford men’s basketball’s (8-1, 0-0 Pac-12) 72-54 rout of UNC Wilmington (5-5, 0-0 CAA) on Sunday. The home victory follows the team’s first loss of the season — a 68-67 defeat to Butler in the Hall of Fame Classic Championship in Kansas City, Missouri — that snapped a seven-game win streak and the Cardinal’s best start to a season in 11 years.

With 26 and 17 points, respectively, da Silva and Jones accounted for more than half of Stanford’s final score. Though the first three buckets from da Silva came from within the paint, it was not long before the 6’9” forward showcased his range from deep with a bucket from beyond the arc to put Stanford up 12-0 just three and a half minutes into play. 

“It’s just a culmination of all the work [da Silva’s] been putting in in the gym,” Jones said on da Silva’s eighth double-digit performance of the year. “I see him there all the time … [his success] is not surprising.” 

Following da Silva’s three, Stanford’s double-digit scoring run came to a halt as UNCW found its rhythm with an 11-2 run of its own, cutting Stanford’s lead to three. However, the three-point margin was the smallest of the night, due in part to UNCW’s shooting struggles in the first half. The Seahawks were only 8-for-25 from the field and just 3-for-8 from the distance after the first 20 minutes. 

On the Stanford side, Jones contributed four threes before the buzzer sent the teams to the locker room for halftime.  

“I feel like I’m doing well in my role,” Jones said after posting five total three pointers on the night.

Along with his 17 points, Jones recorded seven defensive rebounds — a team high — as the Cardinal snagged 27 total and held UNCW’s offensive boards to a mere seven. In a drastic change from last week’s game against Butler, when the Bulldogs were able to grab 12 offensive rebounds and convert them into 12 second-chance points, the Seahawks only managed to add two to its score off the rebound.

Another crucial change from the tournament matchup in Kansas City was turnovers, according to head coach Jerod Haase. UNCW only managed to convert one of Stanford’s 10 turnovers into points, compared to the 17 points Butler picked up when Stanford handed over the ball 15 times. 

“We talked about trying to keep it under 10 turnovers today,” Haase said. “But if we’re operating around the 10-turnover number, we’re going to be pretty good.” 

With that being said, even more important to Haase was emphasis on the team’s mentality following the loss.

“The biggest thing [to focus on] was our mindset,” said Haase. “Our attitude this entire year, [though] we’re going to have specific things for every game … we’re really going to lock into the mindset that [if] we’re doing what we’re doing, things are going to work out well.” 

The Cardinal have a 13-day break before facing San Jose State on Dec. 14 in Stanford’s first away game outside of the Hall of Fame Classic. Tip off against the Spartans is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT.

Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.