The Stanford men’s basketball team (10-13, 4-8 Pac-12) dropped its game against the Colorado Buffaloes (14-11, 6-8 Pac-12) in Boulder, Colo. on Sunday by a score of 84-62. After an upset road win over the Utah Utes on Thursday, the Cardinal began the game strong but were unable to keep up their level of play in the second half.
After Stanford kicked things off with baskets by sophomore center Maxime Raynaud and senior forward Spencer Jones to make it a 4-0 game, the Buffaloes began crawling back thanks to the play of forward Tristan Da Silva. Da Silva, whose brother Oscar Da Silva ‘21 played for Stanford for four seasons, had 9 points within the first seven minutes of the game. From around the 16-minute mark to the 10-minute mark in the first half, Colorado held a one-to-two possession lead. Both teams shot the ball efficiently from the field, with Stanford primarily hitting shots from inside the arc.
However, just inside the 10-minute mark, the Buffaloes began to pull away, stretching their lead all the way out to 11. But the Cardinal slowly and steadily chipped away at that advantage, reducing the lead from 11 to 7 to 4 with just under 1:30 remaining. And thanks to a hook-and-hold foul and second-chance basket by junior guard Michael O’Connell, Stanford entered halftime tied with Colorado at 39-39.
For Stanford, both Jones and junior forward Brandon Angel led the team with 8 points in the first half. Meanwhile, for the Buffaloes, Da Silva anchored the squad with 11 points, while star point guard KJ Simpson followed with 8.
But almost immediately after the halftime break, the game began to slip away from the Cardinal. Colorado began the half by going 16-0, a stretch in which Stanford was unable to find the basket in the midst of increased ball pressure by the Buffaloes. Both Da Silva and Simpson increased their scoring load in the second half, tallying 13 and 14 points, respectively. Colorado also shot the ball efficiently from the perimeter, knocking down 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Stanford shot just 29% in the second half, a number which was boosted by some garbage-time buckets. After falling down 16 with 13:21 remaining, the Cardinal’s counter-punch was just not strong enough to counter the Buffaloes’ momentum. Their lead stretched to beyond 20 points. The fouls started racking up for Stanford, which led to easy points from the free-throw line for the opposition.
Ultimately, the Cardinal’s lackluster second half cost them the opportunity to come back from the Mountain West with a pair of victories, as Colorado swept the season series with Stanford, winning the game decisively, 84-62.
Up next, the Cardinal face a pair of Arizona opponents, as they will host the Arizona State Sun Devils (16-8, 7-6 Pac-12) before facing the No. 5 Arizona Wildcats (21-3, 10-3 Pac-12) in perhaps their toughest task of the season. The Sun Devils defeated Stanford at home earlier this academic year by a score of 68-64, handing the Cardinal its second conference loss of the season in December. It will be interesting to see whether the team will let the Colorado loss unravel its season down the stretch, or if this will be the starting point for a late-season run. Tip-off against Arizona State is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. PT.