In a game Stanford Head Coach Jerod Haase called “herky-jerky,” Stanford’s defense took a big step back in a disappointing 81-74 loss to Colorado at Maples Pavilion. The disappointment was evident on Dorian Pickens’ face as he gamely accounted for the Cardinal’s struggles. Stanford had cut a 10-point Colorado halftime lead down to four points with 11:20 to go, but Bryce Peters and Derrick White hit consecutive threes and Michael Humphrey followed with his fourth foul some 90 feet from Stanford’s basket. That was as close as the Cardinal would come to catching the Buffs, who have now won three games in a row after a 0-7 start in league play.
One of the biggest sources of disappointment for Coach Haase and the Cardinal was a defense that allowed Colorado to shoot 53% from the field for the game and 41% from the three-point line. Colorado’s +9 from beyond the arc helped overcome 23 Buffalo turnovers and a +10 in points off those turnovers for Stanford. Colorado, the conference’s best offensive rebounding team, managed only a +2 advantage in second chance points and had only 8 offensive rebounds in the game.
Michael Humphrey epitomized the herky-jerky nature of the game. Humphrey showcased some nice post moves and some aggression on the boards but once more struggled with foul trouble. His third foul occurred after he took himself out of sound defensive post position and couldn’t recover in time to stop his man without a foul.
Marcus Sheffield had a team high 19 points and was able to get points from the foul line, going 8-9. Unfortunately, the rest of the Cardinal went 6-15 from the foul line, a detail Coach Haase certainly lamented as he recapped the game in his postgame presser.
Colorado is a versatile team, with a number of interchangeable and athletic wing players and tonight their depth played a role. Colroado got 33 points off its bench, led by Bryce Peters, who hit the first of those back-to-back threes after the Cardinal had cut the lead to four and ended up 3-4 from the three-point line for 13 points. Tory Miller added 10 on 4-5 shooting off Colorado’s bench.
Among the starters, Xavier Johnson and Derrick White had 19 points apiece on 12-19 shooting. Stanford’s Reid Travis had an off night, going 4-11 and mustering only nine points in response.
Coach Haase emphasized the fact that practice had been very good coming off the setback in Berkeley, so this loss at home definitely stings. Cardinal fans can take comfort in the signing of Australian Combo Guard Isaac White this week, but the ‘17 Calvary is still a long way from Maples, in every conceivable way.
Stanford gets a quick turnaround with a 1:30 PM tip against Utah on Saturday. With the Cardinal losing one of the few games it was projected to win tonight, a bounceback win against a Ute team smarting from a loss against Cal seems like a tall order, but that’s the charge for the Cardinal.