Men’s basketball drops two in trip east

Feb. 17, 2015, 12:59 a.m.

The Stanford men’s basketball team had a disappointing weekend, losing two conference road games that have put them further out of contention for the Pac-12 title and the NCAA tournament.

#5 Chasson Randle
Senior Chasson Randle, the top scorer in the Pac-12 this year, struggled to find his rhythm against staunch defense from Colorado and Utah. (LAUREN DYER/The Stanford Daily)

The tough duo of games began against the No. 11 Utah Utes on Feb. 12. Utah (20-4, 10-2 Pac-12) took down Stanford (16-9, 7-6) by a score of 75-59. Stanford then lost a close 64-58 game to the Colorado Buffaloes (12-12, 5-7) on Sunday. The Cardinal have now lost four of their last five games and continue to struggle to find momentum as the NCAA tournament approaches.

Stanford started the road trip headed to Salt Lake City looking for a major upset that would certainly have shaken up the Pac-12. However, they were clearly outplayed by an elite team in Utah that plays as well at home as anyone in the conference. Star senior guard Delon Wright caused trouble for the Cardinal all night, scoring 15 points and adding 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Dallin Bachynski chipped in 13 points off the bench for the Utes, who as a team shot 49 percent from the field.

As strong as Utah’s offense was, it was clearly the defense that gave Stanford trouble. Delon Wright’s Wooden Award shortlist counterpart, Stanford’s Chasson Randle, was held to 10 points on a 2-of-11 shooting night from the field. Senior Stefan Nastic also struggled, scoring just 7 points before fouling out in the second half.

“They did a good job on Randle,” said Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins after the loss. “They paid a lot of attention to him. Their defense was really sound. It was just one of those games where you give them credit for how they defended and we move on. It was a tough loss. But every loss is tough in conference.”

While the Cardinal weren’t necessarily expected to win on the road against one of the nation’s elite teams, the second of the team’s two losses this weekend was one that many thought they would win. Stanford’s loss against Colorado, one of the Pac-12’s weaker teams, was particularly tough for the team.

Stanford was once again beaten by a talented senior guard, this time in the Buffaloes’ Askia Booker. Booker scored 17 points and was one of 10 Colorado players to put points on the board.

It was quite the opposite for the Cardinal, who didn’t get a single point from their bench. Nastic had a fantastic night with 24 points and 7 rebounds, but he once again struggled with foul trouble, playing the game’s final stretch with four fouls. Senior Anthony Brown added 8 points and 13 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to pull out the win.

“The foul trouble with Nastic definitely hurts us,” Dawkins said. “He’s our anchor in the middle and he boards for us. When he goes out [with foul trouble] that’s definitely a blow for us.”

Stanford spent most of the night playing catch-up, leading the game for only 1 minute and 57 seconds in total. The game marked the fifth straight in which Stanford trailed at the half, as they found themselves in a six-point hole.

The Cardinal did manage to keep the game close, however. Stanford was only down by three after Randle hit a pair of free throws with 21.4 seconds remaining. After forcing a turnover, a tie seemed within reach before an offensive foul call effectively sealed the win for Colorado.

“That was a relief,” said Colorado head coach Tad Boyle. “We needed that win bad… What I liked about it is that I thought it was really a terrific team victory. Our bench played well. We had a lot of guys contribute. It’s nice, when your team’s been struggling, to see them rewarded for their hard work.”

The pair of losses dropped the Cardinal to a tie for fifth in the Pac-12. Stanford now gets a bit of rest before starting its last home stand of the year this weekend with a game against Cal. Although the team is currently in one of its roughest slumps of the year, some strong play in the remainder of the season and the Pac-12 tournament can help the Cardinal salvage their chances of continuing the season into March.

Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’

Sandip Srinivas '18 is the Football Editor, a sports desk editor and a beat writer for men's basketball and football at The Stanford Daily. Sandip is a sophomore from Belmont, California that roots for the San Francisco Giants during even years and roots for Steph Curry year-round. He is majoring in Symbolic Systems and can be contacted via email at sandips 'at'

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