Stanford crushes No. 10 Oregon, 76-52: What just happened? Is this the start of a surge?

USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinal basketball team played its best game in years last night and blitzed the red-hot Oregon Ducks

One week ago, the Stanford basketball team got run out of Boulder with their tails between their legs and their season rapidly falling apart.

Then they turned around and kicked No. 10 Oregon's ass so hard that all of the Cardinal players will probably be spending the rest of the week in walking boots.

What?

A team that was last in the conference in field goal percentage shot over 50 percent from the floor as a team.

A team that was 11th in the conference in three point scoring shot 57 percent (!!!) from beyond the arc.

A mercurial rebounding team dominated the best rebounding team in the Pac-12.

A team stuck in a malaise played its best basketball game in years - and probably the best game of the Johnny Dawkins era.

Is this the beginning of a second-half surge that will push the Card toward the top of the conference and leave it with a chance to play their way into March Madness? Or is this just a fluke?

The whole game that had the echoes of the old Maples singing through it. All five starters (and most of the reserves) played insanely good games, with each player's game complimenting the others in near-perfect harmony. Stellar defense from Andy Brown. Double-doubles from Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis. Chasson Randle leading the scoring and Aaron Bright creating opportunities for the guys down low.

In short, it was a game that was, all at once, refreshing and an indictment of the Johnny Dawkins era.

It was Stanford's first win over a top ten team since 2008. The first win over a ranked team in more than two years. The fourth win over a top 25 team since Dawkins took over.

Think of those stats one way, and you're pretty pleased. Think of them another way, and you can't help but be disappointed that this team has already spent half of the season floundering in the bottom half of the conference.

That's why, when I return to the original question - is this the start of a surge or a total fluke? - I worry that it may be the latter.

This loss may have said more about Oregon than it did about Stanford. The Ducks have been playing scorching basketball, but they suddenly played a miserable, timid game. They couldn't buy a shot from the floor (34 percent shooting), threw the ball away at every opportunity (20 turnovers) and got outrebounded in a way that was positively embarrassing. Those certainly aren't the marks of the 10th best team in the nation - they're the marks of a team that gets upset in the first round in March.

But after watching last night, it's hard not to believe in the Cardinal a little bit.

And it's even harder to imagine that Johnny Dawkins doesn't know the stakes now: Keep this up, keep your job.

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