A slow offensive start by Stanford (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12) proved lethal for the Cardinal in a battle against Bay Area foe Cal (9-10, 3-3 Pac-12) on Sunday. Despite leading by as much as 11 in the second half, the visiting Cardinal were unable to secure the victory and fell 52-50 in its second loss in two games.
The effects of Stanford’s eight-day break from competition seemed evident in the opening minutes of the matchup as the Cardinal quickly fell behind 7-0. Stanford remained scoreless until nearly three minutes in, when a trip to the foul line by junior guard Daejon Davis, who sank 2-of-2, put an end to Cal’s scoring run. For the next seven minutes, the Cardinal fought to close the gap before a jumper from junior forward Oscar da Silva with just under ten to go in the first half earned Stanford its first lead of the night.
However, shooting struggles from deep made it difficult for the Cardinal to find the offensive momentum it needed to pull away from Berkeley. Of Stanford’s eight shots from behind the arc in the first half, only one attempt was successful; fortunately for the Cardinal, its challenges were mimicked by Cal’s 16.7% success rate from behind the three-point line. In a similar spirit of bad luck, only seven of Stanford’s 21 other shots from the field found their way to the basket before the buzzer sounded at the half, and the Cardinal headed to the locker room narrowly leading the Golden Bears 23-21.
When sophomore guard Bryce Wills and Davis added two each to Stanford’s score in the opening minute of second-half action, it seemed as if the Cardinal’s first-half would not follow the team into the final 20 minutes. Cal, however, was reluctant to fall too far behind on its home court, and remained within single digits until a 13-2 Stanford scoring run created the largest point spread of the night. Cal immediately began to chip away at the margin with a run of its own, and a triple from Berkeley’s Matt Bradley left the Pac-12 rivals tied at 41 with under eight minutes left to play.
When Bradley missed a three with 51 seconds remaining and the score again tied at 50, a defensive rebound by freshman Tyrell Terry set Stanford up for what could have been game-clinching possession; however, like they had against USC eight days earlier, turnovers became the Cardinal’s worst enemy. Davis committed the crime with just 26 seconds to go, and followed it by sending Cal’s Austin Paris to the charity stripe, where he netted two in a row to put Berkeley up 52-50 with just three seconds on the clock.
An inbound pass to Wills sent the sophomore streaking to the basket as the clock ticked down; Wills sent an easy floater up and in, but it left his hands just moments too late, and the Cardinal fell 52-50.
Despite the slow start and unexpected finish, three of Stanford’s players — da Silva, Davis and Terry — posted ten or more points in the contest. For Terry, his 11-point offensive performance against the Golden Bears was his 17th double-digit game of the season.
After three straight games on the road, the Cardinal returns to the Farm this week to battle Oregon State on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Maples Pavilion. Stanford will then face Oregon on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT.
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.