First unable to bounce back from 64-56 overtime defeat by Utah on Thursday, men’s basketball next crumbled in Colorado on Saturday. The Cardinal (16-7, 5-5 Pac-12) led by as many as 16 points in the second half, but were unable to handle the Buffaloes (19-5, 8-3 Pac-12) in Maples and fell 81-74.
With sophomore guard Bryce Wills absent from the lineup due to an ankle injury suffered during the meeting with the Utes, Stanford opened the game with a starting five not yet seen this season: guards Daejon Davis and Tyrell Terry and forwards Spencer Jones, Oscar da Silva and Lukas Kisunas. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, the group seemed to face struggles from the get-go, including the shooting challenges that have plagued the team for the majority of Pac-12 play.
Colorado wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, and achieved the feat just 17 seconds into play with a three-pointer from guard Shane Gatling. Stanford, however, needed nearly three minutes to find success at the hoop, finally picking up its first points of the game off a layup from da Silva.
As the Cardinal found their footing throughout the first 20 minutes, it seemed as if Stanford would pick up its second victory over a ranked opponent this season.
However, that was before da Silva went down. The junior’s night ended prematurely when he left the court with an injury three minutes into the second half and did not return. Before his exit, da Silva contributed five points to Stanford’s side of the fight.
Without da Silva, who leads Cardinal scoring with 15.9 points-per-game, Stanford largely relied on a less recognized threat: sophomore forward Jaiden Delaire. With a 53.8% success rate (7–of-13) from the field, Delaire paced the Cardinal with 19 points. On the defensive side, Delaire brought three defensive boards, snagged two steals and delivered two blocks to the Buffaloes.
Behind Delaire’s 19 was 18 more from Terry, 14 from Jones, and 12 from junior guard Isaac White off the bench. The collective effort, however, still fell short. The Buffaloes shot an atrocious 6-for-21 (28.6%) in the first half, but reversed their fate with an impressive 14-for-20 (70%) in the second.
Even more lethal to the Cardinal was Colorado’s dominance from deep in the final 20 minutes of play; all eight second-half attempts from behind the arc fell for the Buffaloes. Meanwhile, Stanford’s shooting hovered around 41% in both periods. Fortunately for the Cardinal, seven of 11 shots from long range found their way to the basket after the half.
Nonetheless, it was free throws that proved critical in the battle against the Buffaloes. Stanford netted an impressive 82.4% of shots from the charity stripe to pick up 14 points on 17 attempts, but it was no match for Colorado’s presence at the line. The home team went 23-for-27 from the foul line in the second half alone, which was added to an additional seven points from 13 attempts in the first half.
After the unsuccessful trip to the mountains, the Cardinal now returns to the Farm to take on the Arizona teams. First up will be Arizona State on Thursday at 8 p.m. PT in Maples Pavilion.
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.