Overcoming a season-high 20 turnovers, Stanford men’s basketball (11-1, 0-0 Pac-12) fought to a narrow 62-59 victory over the University of San Diego (6-8, 0-0 WCC) on Saturday. The win — which continues Stanford’s best start to a season since 2008 — was the first of four games in the inaugural Al Attles Classic at the new Chase Center in San Francisco. It was the first neutral site game in the city since the 1939 NCAA tournament.
Freshman guard Tyrell Terry returned to the hardwood after sitting out during Stanford’s recent clash with USF. Terry topped the team’s offensive stat sheet, tallying 20 points for the Cardinal in addition to seven rebounds in his 36 minutes on the floor. The freshman was apparently uninhibited by the “upper body injury” to which his previous absence absence was attributed; the tussle with the Toreros was Terry’s fifth 20-point game of the season and the 10th in which the guard has posted double-digit scoring numbers.
What was key about Terry’s offensive performance, however, was his dominance from deep in the second half that helped him post 13 points in the final 20 minutes of play alone. Terry sank three buckets from behind the arc after the break to help a determined Cardinal team reverse the effects of a sloppy first half.
Stanford’s shooting in the game’s opening 20 minutes hovered just under 43%, as only 12 of 28 shots resulted in points being added to Stanford’s side of the scoreboard. The Cardinal only made it to the foul line four times before the break, and sank just two, a whopping 19% reduction from the 69% season average. Adding insult to injury, 10 Stanford turnovers in the first half gave the Toreros 10 more scoring opportunities, which were converted into nine points as San Diego climbed its way to a 24-16 lead 13 minutes into play.
Once again, the Stanford defense came to the rescue. Despite committing a season-worst 20 turnovers of its own, the Cardinal also forced 17 off the hands of the Toreros, which were converted into 20 points. That transformation was largely owed to the offensive talents of Terry and junior forward Oscar da Silva. In his second double-double of the season, da Silva totaled 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Cardinal; heading into the contest, da Silva was averaging 17.6 points, nearly double his 9.8 points-per-game average of the 2018-2019 season.
Additionally, Torero shooting success was held to a mere 36.5% from the field by a team that has repeatedly emphasized the focus on defense and developing a defensive identity throughout the season. San Diego was the 12th Cardinal opponent of the season to be allowed no more than 70 points, marking the first time Stanford has achieved such a feat since the 1999-2000 season.
Saturday’s matchup was the first meeting between the teams for any member of the current Cardinal roster. The most recent game prior to this season’s took place in December 2011 and resulted in a 20-point Stanford victory. Before that, the programs had met on the hardwood on three other occasions; The Cardinal prevailed in two of three, for a 4-1 winning record in the series history.
The next item on the agenda for Stanford men’s hoops is an eight-day break before the Cardinal return to the Farm on Dec. 29 and take on No. 1 Kansas (9-2, 0-0 Big 12). Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. PT at Maples Pavilion.
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.