The Stanford men’s basketball team (2-3, 0-0 Pac-12) dropped their first game in the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando, Fla. falling to the Ole Miss Rebels (5-0, 0-0 SEC) 72-68 after a valiant comeback attempt. The Cardinal have now fallen to 0-3 against Power Five opponents.
Similar to their past two Power Five games, Stanford’s offense was stagnant out of the gate, shooting a pedestrian 32% from the field in the first half. Luckily, Ole Miss wasn’t much better, converting a mere 40% of their shots.
Because of the poor offensive showings, the game remained close early on, as both teams went blow for blow. Ole Miss forward Jaemyn Brakefield scored eight early points, while Stanford sophomore forward Harrison Ingram nearly matched Brakefield with seven points through the nine-minute mark. However, after a 16-16 tie, the Rebels pieced together a 13-6 run to take a comfortable lead into halftime. Guard Amaree Abram was the catalyst for this run, making five field goals during this time period. Abram finished the game with a career-high 26 points. At the end of the half, Ole Miss led Stanford by a score of 29-22.
As the second half commenced, the Cardinal made several attempts to shrink the lead. After scoring just two points in the first half, senior forward Spencer Jones tallied eight early points, including two threes, at the beginning of the second half. However, Abram and forward Jayveous McKinnis helped Ole Miss stave off Stanford’s comeback attempts at the beginning of the second half, combining for 15 points through seven minutes. Through the first ten minutes of the second half, the Rebels were able to maintain a three to four-score cushion.
Later on, Ingram began asserting himself more offensively, using his size and physicality to get to the free throw line while also converting shots from the three point line. Ingram ended the game with a career-high 24 points. But Abram’s consistent play was able to keep Ole Miss firmly in the lead until the three minute mark in the second half, when Ole Miss was up 65-55.
From here, Stanford was able to assemble an 8-0 run, with Ingram scoring six of those points. The Cardinal were in prime striking distance to send the game to overtime or take the lead with just over a minute remaining in the game, down just two points.
However, on the Rebel’s next possession, Abram hit a three over the outstretched arms of senior forward James Keefe to put the Rebels up five, and dashed any hopes of a Stanford comeback.
Stanford will now face Florida State (1-5, 0-0 ACC) in the loser’s bracket of the ESPN Events Invitational. Florida State is one of the worst teams in the Power Five, as they’re currently ranked 138th in the KenPom ratings. This is a prime opportunity for the Cardinal to get a Power Five win in their non-conference slate. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. PT on Friday.