The rumors of Stanford’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
After the team’s third straight loss on Thursday night, Oscar da Silva said it was up to him and Daejon Davis as captains to find answers. Both of them played inspired basketball today, and it was infectious.
“The thing about the last 3 games for me is the way that we lost them,” said da Silva. “We know we should’ve won all 3 of them.” But the messaging stayed positive in the run-up to the game, even with a formidable opponent in tow.
Oregon entered Maples Pavilion as the 11th ranked team in the country, and in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12. Payton Pritchard was one of the National Player of the Year favorites, and their offense sported the 7th best efficiency in America. All of their lauding was manifest in the way they built an eight point halftime advantage. But Stanford wouldn’t go down easy.
The Ducks shot 44% from the field in the first period. They were +10 on the glass, and got what they wanted offensively. Still, it was easy for Stanford to feel encouraged. They shot just 3-14 on threes, including marksman Spencer Jones’ 1-5. The looks they were getting against a porous Oregon defense were quality, but they simply weren’t going down.
The second half started out ugly, which is exactly how Stanford likes it. They made a poised Oregon team uncomfortable, and things got beautifully sloppy. “We knew that they wanted to go downhill,” said da Silva. “We left people on an island, and we have really good one-on-one defenders. They got the job done.”
Payton Pritchard is normally an extremely efficient player. His true shooting percentage has hovered around 60%, with good numbers from almost every spot on the floor. When Dana Altman’s needed a bucket, he’s gotten one. But he had a flat out frustrating going against the defensive duo of Daejon Davis and Bryce Wills.
“Their length, their effort, their discipline was excellent,” said Coach Haase. “And the bigs on the ball screens were fantastic.”
It was a combined effort, holding Pritchard to 23% from the field. He only made 2 shots from within 25 feet, as he struggled to create any sort of space against the long, cohesive Stanford defense. With their star out of sorts, the Ducks found themselves unable to get anything going. They were held without a field goal for more than 10 minutes of game time, and Stanford finally started to knock down shots. They methodically turned a 9 point deficit into a 9 point advantage.
A large part of that was thanks to Oscar da Silva. Against the athletic, quick-jumping Ducks, he flipped the rebounding deficit into an advantage, nearly out-boarding them by himself in the second frame. And when he got the ball inside, he punished the slower-footed bigs of Oregon time and time again. “He gave an incredible effort today, and we needed it,” said Tyrell Terry of his captain.
But the real turning point came with 6:30 to go, when the freshman Terry hit a pair of threes to give Stanford its first lead of the game. Maples reacted in a big way, and Oregon was unable to rekindle any momentum after that.
“I was 0-3 from three to that point, but coach told me to stay confident and keep shooting,” said Terry. “I knew that I had the ability to knock down big shots, and that’s what I did.”
Stanford was led by da Silva’s career high 27 points. The forward also added 15 caroms. Terry added 12 and 7 of his own, 10 of which came down the stretch. An unexpected bright spot for Stanford were the 17 combined points of Isaac White and Lukas Kisunas off the bench.
“We challenge Lukas in practice to get better,” said Terry. “Today was awesome for us as a team to see him take a big stride.” Kisunas had a big dunk over multiple Oregon defenders in the second half that visibly energized the whole team.
Oregon was led by Will Richardson’s 17. Payton Pritchard and Chris Duarte scored 16 and 14, respectively, but each went just 5-21 from the field.
This gives Stanford (16-5, 5-3) a marquee win for their tournament resume. It also shakes up the Pac-12 standings. The Cardinal sit just a game back of first place USC, in a share of third place. They’ll head on the road to face Utah and Colorado next week.