Only two games remain in the regular season for Stanford men’s basketball (20-9, 9-7 Pac-12), and both matchups will be part of a road trip to Oregon this week. Oregon State will be the first stop on Thursday, with No. 13 Oregon (22-7, 11-5 Pac-12) closing out the trip on Saturday.
The Beavers (15-13, 5-11 Pac-12) have won less than a third of their contests in conference play but have surprised many with underdog victories, including an 18-point defeat of Arizona, a 63-53 rout of its home-state rival and a 68-63 win in Maples over the Cardinal on Jan. 30.
In all three instances, Oregon State’s offense was led by senior guard Tres Tinkle. With averages of 7.1 rebounds and 18 points per game, Tinkle paces the Beavers in both categories and claims the conference’s No. 4 spot in the latter. When Tinkle came to Stanford, the Cardinal defense held the standout to a respectable 15 points on 5-for-13 shooting from the field, but Tinkle still managed to do damage to the Cardinal offense with three steals.
Tinkle was hardly the only Oregon State member to trouble the home team, however. Seven blocks by forward Kylor Kelley shut down much of Stanford’s action within the paint, except for that of junior forward Oscar da Silva, who posted a game-high 22 points on a 10-for-17 effort. Despite da Silva’s impressive numbers, the Cardinal struggled to sink a shot in the first half and was held to just 34.48% success before the break.
A slow start on Thursday is not an option for a Stanford team currently hovering in the middle of Pac-12 rankings. After opening conference play with four straight victories, the Cardinal dropped seven of their next eight games to fall to 5-7 in league play. Four straight wins in the past two weeks have rekindled a spark of hope for a Stanford team that was off to its best start in over a decade, but the week’s matchups are hardly low-stakes for the Cardinal.
Freshman guard Tyrell Terry and da Silva will continue to be looked to for big contributions on offense. The pair tops the Cardinal stats sheet with 15.3 and 16.1 points per game, respectively, while Terry also boasts a team-high 89.9% success rate from the foul line.
That being said, sophomore guard Bryce Wills has recently turned heads with 25- and 19-point performances against Arizona on Feb. 15 and Colorado on March 1. Utilizing the trio’s offensive abilities and relying on consistent Cardinal defense — one which ranked as high as seventh in the nation earlier this season — to minimize Tinkle’s scoring opportunities could spell a fifth straight win for Stanford.
Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. PT on Thursday in Corvallis, Oregon.
Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.