Stanford probably played its best game since Johnny Dawkins became its head coach, and it resulted in a victory that could change the Cardinal’s season.
No. 10 Oregon came into Maples Pavilion on Wednesday with a nine-game winning streak and their highest ranking since March 2007. But the Ducks were thoroughly outplayed by unranked Stanford, which posted a 76-52 victory.
The erratic Cardinal, which was coming off a 31-point road win over Utah, beat the Ducks (18-3, 7-1) every way imaginable for its first win over a top-10 team since beating No. 9 Washington State in February 2008.
Dawkins would not declare that this was the team’s best performance since he became head coach five years ago, but he did not dismiss the possibility either.
“I haven’t thought long and hard about that,” Dawkins said, “but this was one of the better moments of our program. We thought this was the type of team we’d have this season.”
Starting Stanford guards Chasson Randle (17 points) and Aaron Bright (12 points) were a combined 6-for-6 on three-pointers after suffering though shooting slumps much of the season, and Dwight Powell (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Josh Huestis (14 points, 13 boards) both had double-doubles as the Cardinal controlled the paint as well.
The Ducks came into the game second in the Pac-12 in scoring, averaging 76.2 points a game, but Stanford (13-8, 4-4) held Oregon to its lowest scoring total of the season. The Ducks shot just 34.6 percent and committed 20 turnovers.
“We just got it handed to us, there’s no other way to put it,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said.
E.J. Singler, the Ducks’ No. 2 scorer and the leader of the team, was limited to six points on 2-for-9 shooting as the Ducks starters were outscored by 40 points by the Cardinal starters. The Ducks came into the game leading the Pac-12 in rebounding margin, but were outrebounded by four by the Cardinal.
“I thought we’d play harder, but that’s the first time we fell flat on our face this year and really disappointed, I’m not gonna lie,” Altman said. “A lot of it has to do with Stanford, they just kicked us.”
Freshman Dominic Artis, the Ducks starting point guard, missed his second straight game because of a foot injury, but his absence could not explain Stanford’s complete dominance.
The Cardinal entered the game last in the conference in shooting percentage, but hit 51.9 percent of its shots on Wednesday, including 8-of-14 on three-pointers.
“It’s good to see the ball go in the basket,” Dawkins said. “That makes everything a little easier.”
Randle helped the Cardinal (13-8, 4-4) get off to a good start by scoring the first eight points of an 18-2 Cardinal run that staked the Cardinal to an early 20-8 lead.
“The difference was the way we started the game,” Randle said. “We wanted to throw the first punch and keep punching. We wanted to impose our will.”
Stanford led by 13 points at halftime and quickly expanded the margin to 16 as Powell scored the Cardinal’s first six points of the second half.
Stanford then applied a dagger when Randle and Bright hit three-pointers within three seconds of each other. An Oregon foul was called off the ball while Randle was sinking the first long-range shot. That gave Stanford a 19-point lead and an additional possession. Bright took the inbounds pass and hit another three-pointer from the corner to give the Cardinal a 47-25 lead at the 15:03 mark.
Stanford increased its lead to 25 points on a another three-pointer by Bright with 12:08 left.
Note: Bright came into Wednesday’s game having made 28 consecutive free throws. He made his first free throw Wednesday, but missed his second. Bright was only 2-for-15 on three-pointers over the previous four games.