By Sally Egan
The men’s basketball team (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) takes on Santa Clara (3-0, 0-0 WCC) in a battle of two undefeated programs at Maples on Saturday. If the Cardinal win this one, it will mark their best start since 2016, boding well for a season that started with low expectations. This is the fourth of six home games for the Cardinal in 16 days.
In Stanford’s latest victory, freshman guard Tyrell Terry and sophomore forward Jaiden Delaire led the offensive charge with 14 points each. Defensively, sophomore guard Bryce Wills posted a block and two steals, with Terry and junior forward Oscar da Silva also recording two steals apiece. Defense has been a strength of the Cardinal this season, as they’ve forced 17.3 turnovers per game and only 58.0 points per game.
On the Santa Clara side, watch out for sophomore forward Guglielmo Caruso, the team’s leader in points. Overall, with three junior starters and two sophomores, Santa Clara is more experienced than Stanford, which boasts only da Silva and junior guard Daejon Davis as returning starters, although Wills also started and played in many of the Cardinal’s games last year.
Stanford hasn’t played Santa Clara since 2008, when the Cardinal won handily 77-69. In this matchup, Stanford will rely heavily on the experience of da Silva, the team leader in points per game (15.7), rebounds per game (4.7) and fouls drawn. Terry is currently leading the team in minutes, as he continues to prove he is a key player for the team to build around.
So far, Santa Clara has arguably played a harder schedule, taking on fellow Pac-12 member Washington State, and coming out with a victory, in addition to demolishing UC Santa Cruz and Cal Poly. Meanwhile, Stanford has played Montana, Cal State Fullerton, and Long Beach State, none of which could be considered a powerhouse team.
The game should be tight, exciting, and a good indicator of how good the Cardinal will actually be this season. With a win, Stanford would show that they have fully moved on from the departure of three starters and several other key 2018 team members. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at Maples Pavilion on Saturday.
Contact Sally Egan at egansj18 ‘at’ stanford.edu.