SportsMen's Basketball

Men’s hoops welcome Ducks for penultimate home contest

Feb. 24, 2021, 9:26 p.m.

A triple-overtime upset loss to Washington State on Saturday disrupted any momentum that Stanford men’s basketball (14-9, 10-7 Pac-12) had established from consecutive wins over Utah and Washington. The Cardinal now searches for a much-needed win on Thursday when Oregon (14-5, 9-4 Pac-12) visits the Farm. 

The Cardinal’s loss on Saturday represents two key things: a devastating blow to the team’s hopes for an NCAA tournament bid, and Stanford’s trend of consistent inconsistency. With a roster stacked with standout senior forward Oscar da Silva, highly-touted freshman forward Ziaire Williams, juniors guard Bryce Wills and forward Jaiden Delaire among others, the Cardinal has excessive talent on paper and has demonstrated this on numerous occasions. It also, however, has posted a number of unexpected losses. 

The team opened the season with an 18-point victory over No. 25 Alabama before barely falling to No. 14/16 UNC at the Maui Invitational in early December. Injuries plagued the Cardinal for much of December and January as Wills and senior guard Daejon Davis found themselves sidelined, but 26 points from da Silva and a complementary 19 from Delaire helped Stanford narrowly escape No. 24/20 UCLA in overtime on Jan. 23.

Yet just the week prior, the team tallied its lowest and third-lowest field-goals percentages of the season, capitalizing on just 35.4% and 36.7% of attempts from the field in losses to Utah and Colorado, respectively.  

Stanford has not yet strung together more than three consecutive wins this season, despite returning all but one starter and welcoming the highest-ranked recruiting class in the Pac-12. At the same point last year 𑁋 25 games into play 𑁋 the Cardinal squad had a seven-game win streak and multiple four-win runs decorating its record. 

Oregon, on the other hand, has lost just four games in conference play and five overall, with a 58-72 loss at USC on Feb. 22 being the most recent and snapping the Ducks’ five-game win streak. Stanford has held its opponents to 68.7 points per contest, but Oregon has allowed just 66.5 points on average over 19 games while netting 73.3 per game 𑁋 outdoing the Cardinal’s mark of 71.9. In the Jan. 2 meeting between the teams, Oregon limited Stanford to just 56 points on a 40.4% success rate from the field while netting 73 of their own on a 42.4% clip. 

Lethal for the Cardinal was Oregon’s ability to shut down da Silva, whose 18.8 points per game and .580 field-goal percentage are both second-highest in the conference. Da Silva managed just 11 points in 32 minutes in Eugene, going 4-for-7 from the field and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line en rouge to his third-lowest offensive numbers of the season. 

The Ducks saw 𑁋 and continue to see 𑁋 big performances from senior guard Chris Duarte and redshirt senior forward Eugene Omoruyi, with the duo posting 23 and 15 points against the Cardinal, respectively. Heading into Thursday’s matchup, the experienced pair is averaging 16.8 points per game to go along with 5.3 rebounds for Omoruyi and 4.9 for Duarte. 

Yet a number of changes on Stanford’s side since the teams last met in January could help the Cardinal secure a more favorable outcome against the Ducks on Thursday. For one, Davis has re-entered the team’s active lineup after missing over 10 games due to a knee injury and later failing to meet program standards, about which the program refrained from offering additional information. In 10 games played, the senior has averaged 12.1 points, swiped 12 steals and dished out 34 assists for the Cardinal. 

Secondly, Delaire has established himself as a serious offensive threat in the conference, hovering near the top of Stanford’s offensive stats after flourishing amidst Davis’ and Wills’ absences. Prior to the Cardinal’s Jan. 4 meeting with Oregon State, Delaire recorded just 6.2 points per game. In six of the 10 games that followed, the junior forward posted 19 points or more, including a career-high 22-point performance against USC on Feb. 2. Second only to da Silva, Delaire now averages 12.9 points per competition. 

Tip off is set for 6 p.m. PT at Maples Pavilion on Thursday.

Savanna Stewart is a managing editor in the Sports section. She is a junior from Twin Bridges, Montana studying Political Science and Communication and enjoys running and playing basketball. Contact her at sstewart 'at'

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