With Stanford men’s basketball (20-9, 9-7 Pac-12) leading Colorado (21-9, 10-7) by just three with over three minutes of play remaining, a victory on Senior Day remained uncertain. A 7-2 run by the home team in the final moments, however, helped Stanford stretch the gap and celebrate the final career home stand of the team’s seniors with a 72-64 win. Senior guard Rodney Herenton, the only senior on the active roster, appeared in both the starting and closing minutes.
The victory comes as Stanford’s fourth consecutive, mirroring the team’s 4-0 start to conference play. In between the two win-streaks, the Cardinal dropped seven of their eight games.
Nineteen points from sophomore guard Bryce Wills drove the Cardinal offense, but Wills was just one of four Stanford players to reach double digits. Guards junior Daejon Davis, freshman Tyrell Terry and Wills, along with forward Oscar da Silva, accounted for a whopping 59 points combined.
Davis and Terry added 12 apiece to Stanford’s overall effort, while da Silva same second to Wills with 16 to his name by the end of the night.
Despite the big numbers from four of its starters, Stanford struggled behind the arc as Colorado’s defense successfully limited scoring from the perimeter. Only three of 14 total attempts from deep fell for the home team, all of which came from different players, to earn the squad its third-worst 3-point percentage (21.4%) of the season.
With opportunities on the outside taken away, the Cardinal worked their magic in the paint, however, where they picked up 56 of its 72 points.
“It is always an emphasis to go inside first,” said head coach Jerod Haase in reference to Stanford’s 3.5 to one inside-to-outside scoring ratio. “Try and attack inside first, try and break down the defense and find guys.”
“Oscar was fantastic [in the paint], Daejon was good going downhill, Bryce was … great around the rim,” he added.
When Stanford had possession of the ball, the team worked tirelessly to fight its way inside the arc, but the challenges it encountered along the way were recorded as 17 turnovers. The Cardinal defense worked to minimize Colorado’s conversions of the errors but was unable to keep the Buffaloes from picking up 16 points.
On both fast breaks and structured possessions, Colorado’s offense challenged a Cardinal defense that had been ranked as high as No. 7 nationally as late as Jan. 15. Seventeen points from Tyler Bey paced the Buffaloes with 14 from D’Shawn Schwartz and 13 from McKinley Wright rounding out the team’s double-digit performers.
Though Bey and McKinley finished a shaky 6-for-14 and 6-for-20 from the field, respectively, they were instrumental in chipping away at a 13-point lead Stanford held with just over eight minutes to play. The duo contributed ten combined points in five minutes, while the Cardinal failed to earn a bucket until a dunk and a jumper from Wills and three free-throws from Terry sent the Cardinal climbing to victory in their final home game of the regular season.
For its final two tests before the conference tournament begins on Mar. 11, Stanford heads north to face Oregon State and No. 14 Oregon. The Beavers are first on the agenda with tip-off set for 6 p.m. PT on Thursday.
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.