Men’s basketball batters Rams in defense-centered win

Nov. 22, 2016, 2:07 p.m.

Junior forward Dorian Pickens’ 17 points led Stanford men’s basketball (4-0) en route to a 56-49 victory over Colorado State (2-1) on Sunday night at Maples Pavilion.

Defense was the mantra of the match as both teams limited each other to season-low scoring outputs.

The Cardinal and the Rams shot 35.8 percent and 29.8 percent, respectively.

The first half was all Pickens. After 10 minutes of back-and-forth play, Pickens erupted with three three-pointers that spurred a 12-2 run, which put Stanford up by 13 with four minutes remaining. He finished off 4-of-6 from three-point land to go along with six rebounds.

Stanford used a pestering defense to force 11 Rams turnovers and allowed only seven made field goals.

The Cardinal led going into the halftime 35-23.

Coming out of the break, the Rams made defensive adjustments, which slowed down the motion offense of the Cardinal.

These adjustments along with poor shooting by the Stanford players fueled a second-half Colorado State rally. The Cardinal went through a stretch of eight minutes where junior guard Robert Cartwright had the only points with a three-point shot.

The cold spell helped the Rams diminish the Cardinal’s lead to six with three minutes remaining.

The lead would still be too much to overcome for the Rams as senior guard Christian Sanders scored four points in the final two minutes to ice the game for the Cardinal.

Coming into the matchup, the Cardinal offense averaged 81.0 points per game and 17 assists per game. The Rams’ physical defense limited them to 56 points and only 13 assists.

The Rams did a wonderful job on Stanford’s leading scorer Reid Travis. He managed just 11 points and five rebounds, which are below his season averages of 21.7 and 12.3, respectively.

Stanford remains unbeaten under new head coach Jerod Haase with a perfect 4-0 record to begin Haase’s campaign with the Cardinal.

Haase has preached ball movement on offense, which has reflected in the Cardinal scoring outputs, but the Rams were able to prevent the Cardinal well by forcing bad shots and 18 Cardinal turnovers.

“[Colorado State] certainly did a great job playing a very compact defense, but we also made some mistakes,” Haase said. “We didn’t capitalize on certain things. We need to make a few more open shots. The biggest thing is we need to get the ball inside.”

Cartwright had a career-high six assists to accompany nine points as he showed an array of nifty passes to the other Stanford players.

He gave credit to the Rams defense pressuring the ball handlers and closing the passing lanes.

“They made it tough for us to get the ball inside,” Cartwright said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to grow. We haven’t really been challenged this way. We have to find ways to win and we did that.”

Stanford is now 8-2 all time versus the Rams and have won the last eight matchups between the two programs.

The Cardinal will travel to Orlando, Florida, in a rematch of the 2015 NIT championship to take on Miami in the Advocare Invitational on Thursday, Nov. 25 at 11:30 a.m.


Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’

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