Widgets Magazine

Men’s basketball tames Cougars behind Pickens, Okpala for third-straight Pac-12 win

Coming off two thrilling conference victories, Stanford basketball started off cold in snowy Pullman as two players, senior guard Dorian Pickens and freshman forward Kezie Okpala, owned 32 of the Cardinal’s 38 first-half points.

A 14-0 run early in the second half propelled the Cardinal (9-8, 3-1 Pac-12) to a 79-70 victory over Washington State (8-8, 0-4) on Thursday night.

As star senior forward Reid Travis struggled, Pickens picked up the slack with 22 points in the first half, including a crucial three to put Stanford ahead for its first lead of the game at 38-36. The Cougars would go on to make a 9-0 run behind sharp shooting by guard Malachi Flynn, ultimately leading to a halftime score of 45-38.

With senior forward Michael Humphrey in limited minutes due to foul trouble and Pickens suffering foot cramps early in the second period, Okpala rose to the occasion at key moments to record a career-high 21 points. The five-star recruit was benched for the first 12 games due to academic ineligibility resulting from getting a C letter grade in one of six AP classes after getting into Stanford.

Freshman Daejon Davis, who hit a remarkable half-court buzzer beat against USC last game, continued his solid play with 15 points on six-of-seven shooting, four assists and zero turnovers.

Stanford, notorious for its weak defense behind the arc, held the nation’s third-best perimeter shooting team by three-point field goals per game to 34 percent. The Cardinal, by contrast, were 11-of-25 from deep, including an outstanding 10-of-14 from Pickens.

The team will look to extend its streak as it travels to Seattle on Saturday for a bout with Washington (13-4, 3-1). The game will be broadcast starting at 5 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.

 

Contact Tristan Vanech at tvanech ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Tristan Vanech

Tristan Vanech is a sports managing editor and former news desk editor on the campus life beat. A Symbolic Systems major from Venice, CA, Tristan loves playing basketball and football. His most notable accomplishment at The Daily is leading its flag football team as quarterback to break a three-year drought in the annual Ink Bowl against the Daily Cal. Ball is life. Email him at tvanech@stanford.edu.
  • Candid One

    Weird game. Except for his free throws, “Feed Reid” went nearly for naught. But the perimeter game is showing signs of revival after last year’s drought.

    BTW, TV, is there any word on injured Marcus Sheffield? He hasn’t been visible, in warmups or street clothes; he hasn’t played this season despite being designated as a returning starter in preseason. Has it been decided to redshirt him? Thanks.