Freshman guard Chasson Randle had instant-impact potential long before he arrived on the Farm, but his contributions thus far have exceeded any and all expectations.
Randle had 18 points to lead all scorers as the Stanford men’s basketball team took down Pac-12 newcomer Colorado 84-64 on Saturday. The outcome represented the biggest conference win of the season for the Cardinal, which has won five out of its past six games.
“I feel like we executed well,” Randle said. “This was definitely one of our best performances on both ends of the court. For us it’s all about getting better.”
Stanford (15-3, 5-1 Pac-12) had one of its most efficient outings of the year, as the young squad connected on 52 percent of its shots and dished out 16 assists to just 11 turnovers. The reduction of lost possessions was crucial in dominating Colorado (11-6, 3-2 Pac-12) in all facets of the game.
Cardinal head coach Johnny Dawkins was impressed with his team’s offensive effort, particularly with its focus on meaningful passes.
“Our ball movement was as good as it’s been all year,” Dawkins said.
Sophomore guard Aaron Bright and senior forward Josh Owens were efficient from the field, combining for 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting. It was, however, sophomore forward Josh Huestis who impressed once again. The Cardinal’s most productive bench player finished with 13 points, four rebounds and four blocks in just 23 minutes of action, his second consecutive double-digit scoring performance.
Huestis was pleased by Stanford’s all-around effort and saw Saturday’s outpouring as a meaningful sign of things to come.
“We feel like we are a good matchup for anybody,” Huestis said. “We just played harder. Thursday was not a good defensive effort.”
Despite overwhelmingly negative attention for the conference as a whole—a league that is without a team currently ranked in any major poll or in the top 35 in RPI—Stanford is making a legitimate claim to being one of the few potential earners of an NCAA Tournament bid come March. A win over the Buffaloes, who entered this week in sole possession of the Pac-12 lead, is a good way to attract votes moving forward.
Colorado relied heavily on its starters on offense, with the starting five recording 56 of the team’s 64 points. More noticeably, however, was the team’s inability to rebound with the Stanford frontline. The Buffs rank first in the league in defensive boards per game but were outrebounded by Stanford 23-15 on the defensive glass.
“You’ve got to credit Stanford,” said Colorado head coach Tad Boyle. “Stanford played a heck of a game. We knew rebounding was going to be a key, and they beat us on the boards—and pretty handily.”
The Buffaloes were led by sophomore forward Andrew Roberson, who tallied 15 points but managed to pull down just four boards, nearly eight below his season average. Austin Dufault, Carlon Brown and Spencer Dinwiddle joined Roberson in double digits. Colorado made just six of its 17 three-point attempts and finished its Bay road trip without a win.
“What we take from this game is that we just have to do things better—execute better offensively, and we gotta be tougher,” Boyle said. “We have a lot of young guys, and for us it’s something different every night we have to address.”
For Stanford, things are beginning to shape up nicely. The Cardinal is on pace to win 15 of its 18 conference games, but the team must first battle through one of its toughest stretches of the season, a three-game stint on the road that begins with the Washington schools and finishes with a tough matchup against Cal in which the Golden Bears will most likely be favored.
Thursday’s contest against Washington State tips off at 7:05 p.m. in Pullman.