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Men’s basketball heads to Santa Clara for road opener

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Stanford (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) will travel to Santa Clara (1-0, 0-0 WCC) on Friday night for a showdown with the Broncos. Both teams are coming off a win in their respective season openers, with Stanford defeating the Tarleton State Texans 62-50 and Santa Clara beating the California State Fullerton (CSUF) Titans 84-77. Santa Clara finished sixth in the preseason poll for the West Coast Conference (WCC), while Stanford came in at ninth in the Pac-12. Although Santa Clara has not made the tournament since 1996, the Broncos pose a serious threat to the Cardinal in this Bay Area matchup.

Stanford’s victory over Tarleton State was led by five-star recruit Harrison Ingram and senior forward Jaiden Delaire, who both received votes for the preseason all Pac-12 team. 

Ingram led Stanford with 16 points on an efficient 7-of-11 from the field. He also led the Cardinal with seven rebounds. Delaire, the reigning Pac-12 Most Improved Player, played 29 minutes off the bench and recorded 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal in the win. 

The scoring of Ingram and Delaire will be vital in filling the void left by Ziaire Williams and Oscar da Silva, two of the team’s three leading scorers from last year, who took their talents to the professional level. 

The Stanford starting lineup was rounded out by sophomore forward Max Murrell, sophomore guard Michael O’Connell, junior forward Spencer Jones and senior forward Lukas Kisunas. Delaire could certainly work his way back into the starting five for Friday’s game. 

Stanford fans can expect freshman guard Isa Silva, freshman forward Maxime Raynaud and sophomore forward Brandon Angel to provide important minutes for the second rotation against the Broncos. After trailing to Tarleton at halftime, Silva provided a spark off the bench, making a layup that gave the Cardinal its first lead of the second half. Silva also highlighted an 11-0 run, assisting a Jones three pointer and making one of his own to give Stanford a double-digit lead. 

Stanford’s second rotation could be bolstered by the season debuts of sophomore guard Noah Taitz and freshman guard Jarvis Moss. Taitz missed Tuesday’s game due to injury but could be available for Friday night, while Moss did not play due to a coach’s decision. 

Santa Clara will be led by fifth-year forward Josip Vrankic and junior guard Jalen Williams, who were both named to the preseason all-WCC team. Vrankic led the Broncos in scoring the last time the two teams faced off and also had a game-high 29 points in Santa Clara’s victory over CSUF. Vrankic’s eight rebounds, five assists and five steals were also team highs. Williams added 16 points and five assists of his own in the Broncos’ season opener.

Santa Clara’s starting lineup also features two transfers in fifth-year guard PJ Pipes and junior forward Parker Braun. Coming from University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, Pipes averaged 14.5 points per game last season. Braun, whose older brother Christian starts for No. 3 Kansas, arrives from Missouri. 

Santa Clara should be a tougher matchup than Tarleton State for Stanford on Friday night. Double-digit scoring from the Broncos starters and a balanced attack led by Vrankic could put Stanford at a disadvantage; however, if Delaire and Ingram produce big games, this game could very well be decided in the last few possessions.

Fans can tune in to CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. PT to watch the game.

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Drew Silva is a writer for the sports section. He is a sophomore from Pawtucket, Rhode Island studying computer science and symbolic systems. His favorite teams include the New England Patriots and Boston Celtics. You can find him watching NFL Redzone on Sundays.