The 3-1 Stanford Cardinal played their first contest in the Battle for Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, but came up short against an undefeated #25 Wisconsin, 62-46.
Despite holding Wisconsin to just one three-pointer that came with less than 20 seconds remaining in the game, Stanford could not get things going offensively. Stanford shot a season low, 27% from the field, were 2-18 on three-pointers, missed wide open jumpers, and in the second half, found themselves in foul trouble, particularly with upperclassman Josh Sharma in the paint.
Stanford was able to find some footing in a short stretch of time in the second half offensively, cutting the lead to just two points with 6:54 left in the game at 44-42 with a three-pointer from KZ Okpala. But Wisconsin then went on a 9-0 run to get the lead back up to 53-42 and never looked back.
Leading the Cardinal in scoring was Okpala, who was 2-12 from the field with 11 points and eight rebounds. Oscar da Silva, whose average is almost 20 points per game, was 3-10 with seven points and eight rebounds .
Wisconsin was led by senior Ethan Happ who was 7-15 and had 16 points on the night. As a team, Wisconsin shot 42% from the field and almost 79% from the stripe and will no doubt be a contender in the Big Ten this year.
Stanford obviously has work to do as this young team looks to find its rhythm and chemistry after the departure from Reid Travis, who transferred to Kentucky in his last year of eligibility. Stanford was outscored in the paint 40-26. The silver lining, though, is that outside of the final five minutes, Stanford always kept the game close.
Now they’ll have to rest quickly as they next take on Florida in the Battle of Atlantis tournament on November 22 at 4 PM PST on ESPN 2.