Two games this week means one chance for Stanford men’s basketball (18-9, 7-7 Pac-12) to stretch its win streak to four for the first time since opening conference play 4-0. Utah (15-12, 6-9 Pac-12) and Colorado (21-7, 10-5 Pac-12) visit the Farm on Wednesday and Sunday, respectively, for Stanford’s final home games of the 2019-20 regular season.
A win over UCLA on Jan. 15 made Stanford the last Pac-12 team undefeated in conference play, but a second-half collapse against USC three days later sent the Cardinal on a downward spiral. Save for a home thriller against then-No.11 Oregon on Feb. 1, the Cardinal dropped seven out of eight games, including a two-point decision to Bay Area rival Cal on Jan. 30.
Defeats by the Utes and the Buffaloes accounted for two of Stanford’s losses during the slump, which was recently halted by two road wins against the Washington teams last week. A combined 36 points from junior forward Oscar da Silva and junior guard Daejon Davis, alongside a 55.8% field goal percentage as a team, were crucial elements in Stanford’s 18-point rout of Washington State that capitalized on its first back-to-back wins since January.
However, the same respectable shooting that solidified Stanford’s second straight win in the Evergreen State was nowhere to be found when the Cardinal traveled to Salt Lake City to face the Utes at the beginning of this month. Of 65 attempts, the Cardinal found success on just 23 throughout regulation and overtime to record a season-low 35.4% mark from the field.
Only two Cardinal players — Davis and freshman guard Tyrell Terry — managed to break into the realm of double digits, but their 14- and 12-point efforts, respectively, were hardly enough to counter 15-point performances by Utah’s sophomore forward Timmy Allen and freshman center Branden Carlson, in addition to 11 more from sophomore forward Riley Battin. Allen paces the Utes in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 17.4 and 7.3 per game, respectively; both marks top those of da Silva, whose 16.0 points per game and 6.5 rebounds lead Stanford.
Fortunately for Stanford, this week’s games with the Utes and the Buffaloes are anticipated to feature a full Cardinal roster, unlike the meetings between the teams earlier this season. With over 12 minutes left to play in Salt Lake City on Feb. 6, sophomore guard Bryce Wills went down with an ankle injury and did not return to the game. Wills was absent from the lineup two days later. When Stanford faced Colorado, the team lost da Silva to an undisclosed injury before halftime. Like Wills, da Silva remained sidelined for one game following the incident before returning to the court for Stanford’s 60-69 loss to Arizona on Feb. 15.
Tip-off for Cardinal versus Utes action — and the season’s final week of men’s hoops in Maples Pavilion — is set for 7 p.m. PT on Wednesday.
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.