Stanford jumped on Long Beach State early and they just kept on coming. They led by as much as 38 on their way to an 86-58 triumph.
The Cardinal defense once again made a statement. One game after holding CSU Fullerton to 19 in the first half, they surrendered only 22 points in this up-tempo opening frame. Daejon Davis set the tone, but it was a collective effort. It certainly looked like a team coached by Jerod “Floor Burns” Haase.
“It’s a level of toughness,” said Haase. “It’s an attitude of competing every possession. It’s fighting for every loose ball and every defensive rebound.” The Cardinal simply out-scrapped the Beach, and disrupted what they wanted to do offensively. In the first half the visitors had just 4 assists against 12 turnovers. The most memorable of the 12 came when Davis laid out for a steal, and from his back tossed it ahead to a streaking James Keefe who threw down an angry dunk.
This is a Long Beach State team coached by the eminent Dan Monson, and one that nearly knocked off UCLA in Pauley Pavilion. They feature high-major transfers and a front line with more size than Stanford’s. But they were punched in the mouth early when the Cardinal used a 14-2 run comprised of four layups and a dunk to take a 20-7 lead.
“Coach made it clear to us that if we come with energy on defense, it’s gonna give us a good chance to win ball games,” said Tyrell Terry. The freshman point guard contributed 2 of Stanford’s 9 steals, and was downright disruptive to the Beach guards. A number of those were converted into easy buckets, as they finished with 27 points off turnovers on the night.
The advantage hovered around 10 until the home team put together a 14-0 spurt to take a commanding 40-16 advantage. The game had been blown wide open, and Beach players started committing frustration fouls, like extending arms to push aggressive defenders. The Cardinal got under their skin, and took a 47-22 lead into the locker room.
Although the Cardinal defense stole the show, their offense turned in its best game of the year so far. They finished the game with 23 assists against 12 turnovers, and put up insane 54/44/86 shooting splits.
“In practice we’ve been trying not to hold the ball for more than half a second,” said Jaiden Delaire. The Stanford offense moved the ball quickly, making the Beach pay for switching into zone. They got the ball into the teeth to Jaiden, who made good decisions as a driver and distributor inside. The Cardinal finished the game with a 50-14 paint advantage.
For Delaire, it was a career scoring day. He made his first 6 shots from the field, and finished tied for a team-high with 14 points. “He’s fantastic against zones, with his length and his passing ability,” raved Haase. “He played how he practiced.” Getting consistent production out of him could be a major boost moving forward.
Also in double figures was Tyrell Terry with 14 points and 6 assists, as well as Oscar da Silva with 12-7-4. Ten Cardinal made it into the scoring column, including Spencer Jones, who’s 3 threes tonight give him 10 on the year. Interestingly enough, he’s yet to make a shot from inside the arc. In the closing minutes, sophomore former walk-on Sam Beskind scored his first career points on a pure three pointer from the left wing.
The Beach were led by the 13 of Max de Geest. Jordan Griffin was the only one to join him in double figures, with 12. Michael Carter III, who transferred out of Washington, entered the game averaging 17 points per contest. He went 0-9 from the field tonight for 2 points, and committed 5 turnovers.
Stanford will host Santa Clara on Saturday. The 3-0 Broncos are a tough out, and they’ve already defeated one Pac-12 opponent in Washington State.