Widgets Magazine

Men’s basketball gets edged by Texas in thriller

It took until almost the final second, but Texas (8-3) managed to defeat Stanford men’s basketball (5-4) on Saturday by a score of 75-73.

Despite a career day from Dorian Pickens (right) and a late comeback, Stanford fell to Texas off a last-minute layup from Texas' (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

Despite a career day from Dorian Pickens (right) and a late comeback, Stanford fell to Texas off a last-minute layup from Texas’ Isaiah Taylor. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

A layup from Isaiah Taylor with 1.1 seconds left on the clock ended a furious Cardinal comeback during which the team worked its way back from down double-digits with eight minutes remaining and down six just outside the one-minute mark. Three consecutive key baskets from sophomore Michael Humphrey and two clutch free throws from senior Rosco Allen paved the way for a game-tying 3-pointer from sophomore Dorian Pickens, but the team couldn’t get the final stop it needed to extend the game into overtime.

Still, Stanford put in a strong performance on a night it could have been forgiven for playing a bit slow. The Cardinal announced earlier in the day that sophomore Reid Travis, their lead rebounder and interior anchor, would be sidelined with a stress fracture, but the team’s perimeter players stepped up and succeeded in challenging a Texas squad that was just two games removed from a big win over preseason No. 1 North Carolina.

“We went on a little run toward the end but we shouldn’t have been down in the first place,” Pickens said. “We came out with a little bit of a lack of energy.”

It was Pickens again who proved to be Stanford’s primary contributor, scoring a career-high 24 points and making six of his seven attempts from deep. Rosco Allen added 19 more to the Cardinal’s total and, with Humphrey, filled in capably for the injured Travis as Stanford was forced to play smaller than it is used to with a healthy roster.

Taylor led Texas with 26 points and 6 assists, while an assertive performance from center Cameron Ridley helped give the Longhorns a 40-20 advantage in points in the paint. Shaka Smart’s side held significant advantages over the Cardinal in terms of field goal attempts and percentage, but Stanford managed to make up for much of the difference by getting to the free-throw line off drives to the basket.

“Taylor was amazing tonight,” head coach Johnny Dawkins remarked after the game. “He’s one of the fastest guards I’ve seen the last couple seasons. He controlled the game all night.”

The Cardinal struggled with Texas’s full court press early, giving up a 10-point lead to their opponent by midway through the first half. The team narrowed it to six at the break but failed to fully close the gap until the final seconds.

Stanford will get just one full day’s rest before returning to action against Sacramento State on Monday. Should Travis’ injury linger, the team will need to use this game to find more reliable sources of scoring before conference play begins on Jan. 1.

The Cardinal will play at 8 p.m. Monday on the Pac-12 Networks.

Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Andrew Mather

Andrew Mather served as a sports editor and as the Chief Operating Officer of The Daily. Growing up a devout Clippers and Iowa Hawkeyes fan in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Mather grew accustomed to watching his favorite programs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He brings this nihilistic pessimism to The Daily, where he occasionally feels a strong sense of déjà vu while covering basketball, football and golf.