Stanford men’s basketball (5-5, 0-0 Pac-12) lost its fifth game of the year to the San Diego State Aztecs (10-2, 0-0 Mountain West) in Viejas Arena Thursday. The Cardinal end their non-conference slate with a combined 0-3 record against Quadrant one and Quadrant two teams in the NCAA’s NET ranking, with all five wins against Quadrant four teams. They will need to rely on a strong conference record to end up in postseason play.
The Cardinal started the game strong against San Diego State (SDSU) thanks to junior center Maxime Raynaud. Raynaud had 6 points in the early, putting Stanford up 10-5 at the 14:06 mark in the first half. Stanford was also able to draw two early personal fouls on San Diego State star Jaedon Ledee, who consequently played just two minutes in the first half.
Both teams traded blows with each other throughout the rest of the first half. Lamont Butler and Micah Parrish led the way for SDSU, scoring 10 and 8 points in the first half respectively. On the other side, Stanford’s ball movement challenged SDSU’s usually stingy defense, as the Cardinal were able to get open looks on their dribble-drive opportunities.
After another Raynaud dunk, the Cardinal went up 26-22 with 4:04 remaining in the half. But from here, SDSU went on a 12-6 run to take a small 2-point lead going into halftime. The Cardinal were within striking distance of getting their first Quadrant one victory.
But the second half started disastrously for Stanford, as they allowed SDSU to go on a 15-3 run to extend their lead to 14. After playing sparingly in the first half, Jaedon LeDee made his presence known in the second half, tallying 6 points within the first six minutes. LeDee finished the game with 16 points, with 14 coming in the second half. Soon, Butler and guard Reese Waters joined Ledee in asserting themselves offensively, scoring 10 and 8 points in the second half respectively.
Meanwhile, Stanford shot just 36% from the floor in the second half, including 1-11 from the 3-point line. Due to the poor shooting performance, the Cardinal were unable to close the deficit to within single-digits. Raynaud and senior forward Brandon Angel scored just 5 points in the second half, while freshman Kanaan Carlyle put up just 2 points the entire game.
After the 15-3 run, SDSU cruised to victory on the back of their improved offensive performance and shutdown defense. The game marks the last of a disappointing non-conference slate for Stanford, where the team was unable to pick up any Quadrant one or two wins.
Next up, Stanford will take on the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-5, 0-0 Pac-12) in their first conference match of the year. The Sun Devils are currently two spots above the Cardinal in the NET rankings, and have suffered losses to three of the four Power Five teams they have played thus far.
They have also lost to mid-major San Diego on the road, a team Stanford dominated 88-64. The Cardinal must win this game in order to start conference play strong and to avoid more bad losses. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. PT on Dec. 29.