Kelley L. Cox/USA Today

Stanford Basketball Falls to #12 St. Mary's 66-51

Stanford fought hard, but St. Mary's was just too skilled and disciplined for the Cardinal offense to match.

It’s gonna be a long way back.

St. Mary’s hammered home that point with a second half blowtorching of Stanford that turned a hard-fought contest into a boat race that the Gaels won 66-51. St. Mary’s Calvin Hermanson spent the whole night chilling out on the weakside corner, patiently waiting for Stanford’s perimeter players to over-help and receiving skip pass after skip pass. By the time he was done, he’d scored 25 points on 7-9 shooting from beyond the arc.

Offensively, St. Mary’s was more than content to dare Stanford to either force-feed a packed paint or shoot a three-pointer. The Cardinal struggled mightily to do both. Stanford shot 3-12 from distance, and ended up -24 to the Gaels from long range, effectively deciding the outcome.

The Gaels shot right out of the locker room with a 12-0 run to start the second half.  Stanford got a big boost from Grant Verhoeven, the only player not drowning in hesitation all night on offense for Stanford. Verhoeven finished with 12 points on 5-8 shooting, and after he hit a layup and Robert Cartwright followed up with two free throws, Stanford was done only 48-45 with 6:46 to go.

Unfortunately St. Mary’s unloaded an avalanche of three-pointers and layups and a 16-3 run ended the party for Stanford with 2:29 to go. Stanford just couldn’t find anybody to hit shots, and the list of candidates was not inspiring. Michael Humphrey finished with four points on 2-7 shooting and only three rebounds in 22 minutes.  He seemed to be overcompensating for previous games in which he got in immediate foul trouble. Humphrey provided virtually no resistance on defense in the post, and was quick to settle for jumpers on offense.

Dorian Pickens also struggled, going 0-4 from the field.  Marcus Allen played aggressively but not effectively, going 2-8 from the field.  After a 4-5 start in the first half, Reid Travis went 0-3 in the second half, and both those numbers are very telling in autopsying the second half struggles for the Cardinal.

There will be better days for this team and for this program, but St. Mary’s painfully illustrated the distance between Stanford and the nationally elite at Maples Pavilion tonight. A trip to Lawrence isn’t exactly the best elixir for a loss like this, but that’s what’s next for Stanford. The Cardinal has nothing to lose Saturday, and the best thing they can do is to flush this one and play like it.

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