After Tuesday’s win, Coach Haase stressed that his team needed to maintain their edge for 40 minutes. They more than answered the call against William & Mary, as they put together two dominant halves en route to an 81-50 victory.
For the first time this year, Stanford looked small. The Tribe went 6’10” and 7’0” in the front court, and rather than going big to match up, Haase countered with Oscar da Silva at the 5 and Spencer Jones at the 4. The game plan out of the gate was unmistakable: clear the paint out for da Silva on offense, and use a concerted effort to bother Nathan Knight defensively.
Knight came in averaging better than 20 points for the second year in a row, fresh off a 30 point outing in Norman. Bryce Wills drew the assignment, and it became clear that his normal slashing success wasn’t to be had against the quick, rangy guard. “[Knight’s] a heck of a player, and he’ll have a heck of a year,” said Haase. “But I thought the team, especially Bryce, did a great job of competing.” They frustrated the senior star, forcing 6 turnovers on the night against just 7 points, his lowest total since 2016.
Of course, shutting him down was made easier by attacking him on the other end. Oscar da Silva was aggressive early and scored 8 points on him before the first media timeout. He drew Knight’s second foul with more than 8 minutes to go, forcing him to sit for the rest of the half.
“[Oscar’s] a huge spark for us, a huge bright spot for our team,” said Daejon Davis. “Especially when he’s attacking like he was at the beginning of the game.”
The Cardinal seized a comfortable lead early on the back of a 15-0 run. Tyrell Terry, who had done most everything right to date except knock down threes, finally got it going from the outside. He drained 3 of his 4 offerings from deep in the first half, and added two more in the second. “The first few games or so I was struggling from the three, so it felt good to get a couple in there tonight,” said Terry.
At the half, Stanford led 39-25. Davis, Terry, and da Silva were all in double figures, and they held a remarkable 16-0 advantage in points off turnovers. Their ability to turn defense into offense continues to be huge.
Unlike on Tuesday, their intensity never wavered in the second frame. William & Mary couldn’t seem to solve the Stanford defense, and they shot an even worse 30% after the break. Haase hinted that this team is starting to find their identity on defense, and their play certainly seems to bear that out. They also shot 56% from the field in the period, and continued to balloon the lead.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable moments of the night came once the game was already out of hand. Spencer Jones, the three point specialist, came streaking down the court in fast break and finally made his first two point field goal. The first 17 makes of his career were all from three point range.
“We were on him about that all week,” laughed Davis. “We gave him a hard time for it. You see how he pointed over and gave us the peace sign.”
Terry once again led the Cardinal, with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. “One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever given anybody,” said Haase, “is I told him in the recruiting process that every team I’ve ever seen him play on, the team takes his identity.” Terry’s basketball IQ is already far beyond his years, and he’s had as good a start to the year as one could hope. “But since he’s a freshman,” added Haase, “I walked in and told the team, why’d you miss your two free throws?”
Daejon Davis scored 14, handed out 4 assists, and picked up 3 more steals. He’s now 7/8 from three on the season. “What he’s doing is playing within himself and he’s really shining in that role right now,” said his coach.
Oscar da Silva finished with 14 points, and Bryce Wills added 7 rebounds and what must have been at least 5 blocks (even though the scorer somehow credited him with just one). “His role does not go unnoticed and we thank him after every game,” said Davis. The smaller Cardinal finished the night with a 39-25 rebounding advantage.
The Tribe were led by the 11 of seven-footer Andy Van Vliet and Quinn Blair’s 10 off the bench. They fall to 4-2, just days after their first loss to Oklahoma in a game where they led for roughly 35 minutes.
Stanford is now 6-0 for the first time since 2008. They will face that same Sooner squad on Monday in Kansas City, as part of the Hall of Fame Classic. They’ll play either Missouri or Butler on Tuesday.