Stanford hadn’t played a game in two weeks, and in many ways it showed. The Cardinal ended their finals break with an ugly but convincing victory at San Jose State, 78-58.
“It’s a real thing to be off for two weeks and expect to be this sharp,” said Jerod Haase. Though this game was never in doubt, they turned in far from a sterling performance on the offensive end. The shooting splits in the first half were an anemic 42/20/33. They also saw another 8 shots blocked by the Spartans, and turned the ball over on 8 occasions.
It was their first true road game of the year. Although only some 20 miles down the road, it’s still a different arena on a different campus. And not just any campus, but one that proudly displays a lock of Beethoven’s hair in their library. It’s hard to overcome a sluggish night offensively in foreign territory. Just ask the La Verne Lady Leopards, who lost by 66 in the first leg of today’s double-header. The good news for the Cardinal? Defense travels.
Once again, Stanford imposed their will on that end of the floor from the get-go. San Jose State mustered just 19 points in the first frame, with 10 of them coming at the line, and mostly on non-shooting infractions. They made only 4 field goals, while turning the ball over 13 times. They’re not a great shooting team on the year, but they found themselves at an 18% clip in the first 20 minutes. Stanford held a 32-19 lead heading into the locker room.
Out of the break, Oscar da Silva took the ball strong inside repeatedly and neutralized the Spartan rim protectors. He scored the first 9 for the Cardinal in the second frame, all right at the cup. On a day where the outside shooting was nowhere to be found, da Silva’s crafty interior finishing was a major boost. It’s become almost routine for the junior.
“The focus was off basketball for a bit,” said Oscar da Silva about the break. It’s no secret that da Silva, a BioChem major, challenges himself in the classroom. With finals at last behind him, the big man refocused his efforts on the hardwood in a big way.
The Cardinal methodically stretched the lead to as much as 29, despite the San Jose State offense cleaning things up in the second half. The Spartans even mixed in zone defense, something Stanford hasn’t seen much of this year. The execution was mixed, but promising. The pack of human victory cigars once again made their way into the game late, and Stanford came away with the road victory.
“This is the best team we’ve seen this year,” said Spartan coach Jean Prioleau. That’s high praise, considering SJSU has already played the likes of Arizona and a ranked San Diego State. In spite of quiet nights from key cogs, Stanford was in command the whole way.
Oscar da Silva led all scorers with 25 points, 1 off his career high. The German junior shot 11-17 from the field, and grabbed 8 caroms. Tyrell Terry didn’t have his best night, but still contributed in a number of ways. He finished with a line of 11-8-5. Isaac White was the only other player in double figures, with 12 points on 3-4 from deep.
For the first time all year, Spencer Jones failed to make a three point field goal. The freshman deadeye went 0-6 from distance, though he converted two shots from inside the arc. Daejon Davis was also uncharacteristically quiet, as early foul trouble never allowed him to get into the rhythm of the game. He connected on his lone field goal attempt, finishing with 2 points in 14 minutes.
San Jose State was led by the 12 points of Seneca Knight. Brae Ivey added 11, with all 3 of his field goals coming from beyond the arc. For the game, the Spartans shot just 29.8% from the field. They were also decisively out-rebounded by Stanford, 48-32.
Stanford will host San Francisco on Tuesday. They were defeated in their visit to War Memorial Gymnasium a year ago, and the Dons squad is off to 9-2 start under new head coach Todd Golden. This could be a Quadrant II opportunity for the Cardinal.