Randle’s 29 points lead Stanford past Denver

Nov. 17, 2013, 11:42 p.m.

Despite a slow start in hostile territory, the Stanford men’s basketball team pulled out a victory in its first road game of the season on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Denver Pioneers 66-57. Thanks in large part to junior guard Chasson Randle, who finished with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting, the Cardinal was able to keep it close early despite dreadful shooting and then pull away late.

Perhaps it was due to the altitude or the relatively early start time, but the Cardinal (3-1) started painfully slow against a very capable Denver (0-2) team that retained 10 players from last season’s 22-win squad. Were it not for the stellar performance of Randle, who has been nothing short of phenomenal for Stanford in the early part of this season, the Cardinal could have found itself in a big hole early.

Junior guard Chasson Randle (5)
Junior guard Chasson Randle (5) led the Cardinal in scoring for the third time in four games this season, notching 29 against Denver Sunday afternoon. (BEN SULITEANU/The Stanford Daily)

Randle scored 15 of Stanford’s 24 first-half points, including 10 straight over the final 6:09 of the half, to keep the Cardinal within one at the midway point. Stanford shot just 36.4 percent from the field in the first half, its worst shooting percentage in any half so far this season.

The second half proved to be a different story, as senior forward Josh Huestis’ free throws with 13:10 left gave Stanford a lead it would never again relinquish. Randle was fantastic again, scoring his final 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, but the difference this time around was that he finally received some support from his teammates, particularly seniors Anthony Brown and Huestis. Each scored all of his points during the second half, as Brown contributed 12 and Huestis added 9. Brown also had four of his career-high five steals during the second half, which helped the Cardinal pull away via 15 points of off Denver turnovers.

Stanford tallied a season-high nine steals during the game, including three by Randle and one by Huestis, to go with Brown’s career night. The stifling defense helped propel Stanford on a 16-5 run late in the second half to increase its lead to 13 and effectively put the game away.

The victory was an encouraging sign for a team that went just 5-7 on the road a season ago. The Cardinal has shown a lot of toughness so far this season even when things aren’t going its way, and it was no different Sunday. Despite falling into a six-point hole early, Stanford was able to climb its way back in during a true road game and comfortably defeat a team that is widely expected to contend for an NCAA tournament birth this season. More performances like this one will be necessary during the long grind of the season if the team hopes to reach its goals for the season, namely contending in a much-improved Pac-12 and an NCAA tournament appearance.

The Cardinal will play its final game before the Thanksgiving break this Thursday at home against Texas Southern.

Contact Daniel Lupin at delupin ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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