Stanford men’s basketball (15-12, 8-9 Pac-12) fell to Colorado (18-9, 10-7 Pac-12) on senior night by a score of 70-53. The Saturday night game was the last home game of the 2021-22 season for the Cardinal.
Head coach Jerod Haase implemented a senior-filled starting lineup featuring senior forward Lukas Kisunas, fifth-year guard Daniel Begovich, redshirt junior guard Sam Beskind, senior forward Jaiden Delaire and junior forward Spencer Jones.
“In some different ways, they have been extremely important to this program,” said Haase. “I have been very fortunate to have had the chance to coach them.”
With the crowd roaring like pre-pandemic games, the senior-studded lineup shone brightly in the opening minutes, playing hard on both sides of the ball. The Cardinal started the game on a 6-0 run.
“It was exciting to watch them for the first four minutes,” Haase said. “They were really effective in sharing the basketball and trying to do the things we do.”
After the seniors came out, Colorado proceeded to go on a scoring run of their own to take a narrow lead. Following the Buffaloes’ run, the two teams exchanged baskets until just before the end of the half.
At about the two-minute mark, sophomore forward Max Murrell had a massive block, sending shockwaves of cheers throughout Maples Pavilion. Then, with 12 seconds left, Delaire hit a three to give the Cardinal the lead. After a defensive stop by Beskind and freshman forward Harrison Ingram, the half ended with the Cardinal on top 31-29.
During the half, a video on the jumbotron showed highlights of the seniors on the team. The starting lineup and redshirt junior Keenan Fitzmorris were all asked about their favorite moments on the Stanford team.
Begovich talked about his special connection to his brother and teammate, redshirt sophomore forward Neal Begovich and his ascent from student manager to player. Beskind mentioned his trip to the Bahamas in 2018 and receiving his scholarship in a viral video. Kisunas reflected on the UCLA game last year and the buzzer-beater from forward Oscar da Silva ‘21. Delaire looked back on this year’s nail-biter against Oregon, where he made the game-winning shot.
Unlike the first half, the second half was highlighted by inconsistent play on both sides of the ball for the Cardinal. While Stanford kept it even for the first eight minutes, the Buffaloes eventually went on a 10-1 run, cementing their lead for the game. In the final 10 minutes, Stanford could only muster seven total points to Colorado’s 21. After garbage time free throws by Colorado, the game ended 70-53.
Colorado’s shooting simply outpaced Stanford’s in the second half. The Buffaloes shot 14-of-24 from the field and 5-of-8 from behind the arc in the half, compared to Stanford’s 9-of-28 and 2-of-11 from three. With its strong shooting performance coupled with Stanford’s 15 second-half turnovers, Colorado overpowered the Cardinal.
“The game as a whole certainly disappointed in the outcome,” Haase said. “I don’t question our guys’ desire or work. It’s just a combination of things — running out of gas a little bit, some injuries that are nagging and inability to execute.”
In his final home game as a senior, Delaire scored a team-high 12 points. When he got his fifth and final foul, Maples Pavilion cheered for his career at Stanford. Following Delaire, Jones and freshman forward Maxime Raynaud had eight points each. Junior forward James Keefe led the team with nine rebounds.
The Cardinal will have nearly a week off to practice before they are back in action against Bay Area rival Cal (11-17, 4-13 Pac-12) on Saturday, Feb. 26. The Cardinal will look to sweep the season series then. Tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. PT.