Men’s basketball falls to the Ducks in first game of 2021

Jan. 3, 2021, 10:30 a.m.

In their first Pac-12 matchup of the new year, Stanford men’s basketball (5-3, 1-1 Pac-12) had its four-game winning streak snapped by No. 21 Oregon (8-1, 3-0 Pac-12). Although four of Stanford’s players finished in double digits, the Cardinal was unable to maintain scoreboard pressure in the second half as it ended on a 2:36 scoring drought and made only one field goal in its last nine attempts en route to a 73-56 loss in Eugene.

The Cardinal suffered without senior guard Daejon Davis — who averages just under 14 points and four assists per game — for a second straight game after an injury he sustained in the team’s win against Arizona.

Sophomore forward Spencer Jones contributed a season-high 12 points to match junior guard Bryce Wills to lead the Cardinal in Davis’ absence. Wills also recorded a career-best six assists, though the Ducks outdid the Cardinal 15-10 in this department.

“We tried to flow into our offense quickly and then make good, clean decisions” said head coach Jerod Haase of the team’s gameplan against Oregon. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and without crisp passing, without working hard offensively and without being in the triple threat and making those plays, it is not going to be good enough against [the Ducks].”

The Cardinal held a 46-45 lead at the 9:45 mark in the second half before the Ducks went on a 28-10 run to close the game.

“We lost a little bit of our edge defensively, and we were unable to get many clean looks on the offensive end, which was disappointing,” Haase said of the change in momentum.

In the end, the Cardinal’s offensive struggles loomed large as the team recorded about one turnover per field goal made and went 3-for-18 from beyond the arc. 

“We wanted to play inside-out and give Oscar [da Silva] the ball down in the paint,” Wills said regarding the team’s offensive struggles and 19 turnovers.

“They were speeding us up,  and that was not allowing us to get into our offense at our pace,” he added.

Senior forward Oscar da Silva, who came into the game averaging 16.7 points per game, finished with 11 and battled foul trouble throughout the contest.

Oregon’s offense started slow but clicked into high gear in the second half, where the Ducks shot 10-for-19 from behind the three-point line. Senior forward Eugene Omoruyi, Oregon’s highest scorer, and senior guard Chris Duarte combined for 38 points on 14-for-28 shooting, with Duarte making the last four field goals for the Ducks.

“Big-time players make big-time plays,” Haase said about the difference between the first and second halves. “At the end of the day, you have to be able to knock the shots in.” 

Despite the struggles in Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday, the Cardinal is turning the page.

“It is a long season and a long Pac-12 grind,” Wills said of this year’s unusual season. “We know that there will be quick turnarounds, especially with COVID-19. ‘Road warriors’ has been a theme of ours, and we are prepared for everything.”

The Cardinal will stay in Oregon and head to Corvallis to take on Oregon State (5-3, 1-1 Pac-12) on Monday. The matchup was originally scheduled for Dec. 31, but testing protocol and related contact tracing within the Beavers’ program forced its postponement. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. PT. 

Contact Jordan John Lee at jjslee22 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Jordan John Lee is a staff writer for the Sports section and occasionally writes for the News section of The Daily. Fresh off graduating with majors in Biology and Classics, he is a second-year master's student in Epidemiology and Clinical Research. From the 626, he has grown up watching his Los Angeles teams, the Dodgers and Lakers. His dream is to watch tennis at all four Grand Slam tournaments. Contact him at jjlee 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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