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Cardinal topple the Titans, 70-54

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Stanford moves to 2-0 on the year

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

After a slow start in their opener, Stanford jumped on Cal State Fullerton early and never looked back. The Cardinal used a balance attack to down the Big West foes and move to 2-0 on the young season, winning by a score of 70-54.

Coach Jerod Haase decided to shake up the starting lineup and replace big man Lukas Kisunas with wing Spencer Jones. It didn’t take long for the move to pay off, as the rangy freshman drained 3 three point field goals in the first half.

“[Coach Haase] pointed out that Oscar had this really good mentality to attack everything,” said Jones, “so I knew if I was going to start, I had to have that same mentality.” He’s as confident a freshman as you’ll see. He may have been a fairly late signee, but through two games he’s already shown a complete lack of a conscience, using his quick release to hit 7 bombs.

“He’s producing on both ends of the floor,” said Haase. “Defensively, he’s pretty darn good at guarding the basketball and has a great understanding of team defense and has length to be able to challenge shots.” In addition to his 12 points, he grabbed 5 rebounds, rejected a shot, and changed a handful more. His versatility and switch-ability makes him a great fit for Haase’s brand of defense.

Cal State Fullerton was without two-time Big West Honorable Mention forward Jackson Rowe, and their offense struggled mightily without him. After the first 8 minutes they found themselves down 10-2. It was a putrid display of turnovers and poor shooting. By the time the half ended, they’d mustered just 19 points on 26/20/25 shooting splits. The Stanford defense certainly had a hand in that, and they took a lead of 14 into the break.

“We spent a lot of time on defense in the offseason,” said Daejon Davis. “When [the freshmen] came in, I don’t even know if they knew any plays for the whole summer, until a couple weeks before we went on our foreign tour,” he joked. The Cardinal got after it on that end of the court. They overcome the lack of a traditional interior anchor by playing really solid team defense, and made life tough for the Titans. Time and time again, they converted miscues into easy points.

Unlike Wednesday, this wasn’t a game of runs. Stanford methodically built a double figure lead and then sat on it. It took them some time to hit Fullerton with a knock out punch, but the Titans only briefly cut it to single digits in the interim. Ultimately the Cardinal used a couple mini-spurts to push it to as much as 22.

Davis led the way for Stanford with 14 points on 6-7 shooting. He had a quiet game on Wednesday, but seemed much more comfortable and opportunistic tonight. After two years of ball dominance, he’s primarily playing off-ball this season. “It’s not a big adjustment,” said the junior guard. “I’m just a player out there, trying to do what I can for the team.” He did that tonight, including swiping 3 more steals and throwing down a highlight reel slam.

Oscar da Silva also chipped in 14 points, before heading to the bench with 4 fouls. He played just 25 minutes, but was once again very efficient. Ty Terry added 12 points, 10 of them coming in the second half. When he got going, he showcased the full arsenal of moves. He finished at the rim, hit a pair of nice floaters, and showed mid-range touch off the bounce.

The Titans were led by the 14 points of Wayne Arnold. Brandon Kamga was the only other player in double figures for them. Davon Clare had a game high 15 rebounds, but shot just 1-7. As a team their final splits were 33/16/52. They also turned the ball over 16 times against just 6 assists.

Stanford is next in action on Tuesday, when they play host to Long Beach State. The 49ers nearly knocked off UCLA in Pauley earlier this week.