The Cardinal kicked off the inaugural Al Attles Classic with a 62-59 victory over San Diego. It wasn’t the best showing - perhaps a case of looking ahead to the Kansas game - but they did just enough to move to 11-1.
San Diego entered this game shooting just 30% from three on the year, one of the lower rates in the country. But as Stanford quickly learned, every team can shoot if you give them practice-level looks. The Torreros were hot early, and built the lead to as much as 9.
With the Cardinal in a tailspin just 6 minutes in, Jerod Haase opted to insert former walk-on Sam Beskind. It was clearly meant to send a message to Daejon Davis et al. Beskind played an unremarkable two minutes, but the message had been sent.
“Our energy wasn’t where it needed to be,” said Haase. “And certainly not in the first half. I need to find ways to push some buttons so we don’t come out like that.”
Joey Calcaterra’s three with 4:44 until half time gave San Diego a 5 point lead. But the Cardinal’s killer instinct kicked in, and they ratcheted up their efforts. As we’ve seen this year, they’re a formidable defensive unit when they’re locked in. They wouldn’t allow another point in the frame, and scored 7 of their own, to take a 31-29 advantage into the break.
The Torreros’ 29 was the second most points Stanford has allowed in a first half this season. But equally troubling was their own 5:10 assist-turnover ratio. Tyrell Terry was back in the lineup, too, so they featured their full complement of ball handlers. “We were discombobulated without him [versus San Francisco],” said Haase. “In the first half, we were discombobulated because of him.”
But Terry’s impact was as evident as ever in the second half. The freshman point guard was spectacular, scoring 13 points in a variety of fashions. During their defining 11-0 run, he swiped a lazy entry pass, dribbled the ball up court, and confidently stepped into a three from the top of the key. On another occasion, he caught the ball a couple feet outside of the NBA line and hit nothing but nylon.
“It felt good to be back out there,” said Terry. “I played in the Timberwolves arena every year for state, so I’m used to playing in NBA arenas.”
After that scoring run, they found themselves up 56-44, their largest lead of the game. The outcome was never again in any doubt. They did their best disappearing act, missing a pair of front-ends, and San Diego scored 6 points in the final 13 seconds, but Stanford’s win probability never dipped below 80% in the second half.
Oscar da Silva was named MVP of the game. The biggest sign of his ascension this year is that a 19 point, 11 rebound, and 5 steal game is pretty much par for the course. He does so much for this team, and his value can’t be overstated in the thin front court. Terry’s return from injury saw him score 20 points for the fifth time of the year. Daejon Davis and Spencer Jones chipped in 8 points apiece.
Stanford had 20 turnovers on the game, which is too many to beat most teams. They also missed four front-ends, two in each half. As they move forward, they will need to play cleaner if they hope to reach their potential. “I think our ceiling is really high. We’re nowhere near it yet,” said the coach.
San Diego was led by the 17 of Calcaterra. Marion Humphrey and Braun Hartfield added 16 and 13, respectively.
“They had a lot of injuries earlier in the year,” Haase said of the 6-8 Torreros. “But they’re a good team now.”
Stanford has just one more game before Pac-12 play, and they can finally look ahead to it guilt-free. Kansas lost earlier today at Villanova, so they’ll fall from their top national ranking before their visit to Maples next Sunday. So what do they have planned for the next 8 days?
“I’m going to unwrap some presents with my kids,” said Haase.