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Pickens, Okpala lead largest conference victory in 16 years
Senior guard Dorian Pickens (above) and freshman forward KZ Okpala combined for 45 points to help the Cardinal rout Oregon 96-61.(CASEY VALENTINE/isiphotos.com)

Pickens, Okpala lead largest conference victory in 16 years

Roasted duck was on the menu in Maples Pavilion as Stanford men’s basketball (13-11, 7-4 Pac-12) cooked Oregon (15-8, 5-5) 96-61 on Saturday afternoon.

The 35-point win marks the Cardinal’s largest margin of victory over a conference opponent since defeating Washington by 45 in 2002. It was also the biggest loss of a Dana Altman-coached Oregon team. Their largest defeat this season before this game was by 12 points.

Senior guard Dorian Pickens and freshman forward KZ Okpala served the main offensive course to a tender Ducks defense.

Pickens dropped a team-high 25 points on five-of-six shooting from beyond the arc. He was perfect from the field (5-5) in the first half for 14 points as the Cardinal’s lead grew steadily to 16 at the halftime whistle.

Pickens also hit the 1,000-career-point mark after scoring his first points from a straight cut to the basket.

“We all wanted to come out and be aggressive right from the jump,” Pickens said after the game. “One of our themes for this game was to attack at both ends right from the tip-off. We did that, and it paid off.”

Adhering to the aggressive theme was Okpala. He scored 20 points, just one point shy of his career high, and he grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists. He made several highlight plays including rim-rocking dunks and a Kobe-esque, double-clutch layup in the second half.

Not to be outdone by his fellow freshman, guard Daejon Davis stuffed the box score with nine points, seven rebounds and eight assists. The turnover-prone Davis (4.1 per game) kept it a clean game with only one turnover.

After dropping 24 points against Oregon State on Thursday, senior forward Reid Travis took it a bit easier on Oregon with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Despite the disparity in the final score, the game was competitive early on. The Cardinal had a 19-16 lead with 12:13 left in the first half, but a 13-0 run put Stanford up 32-16. A Ducks rally led by Oregon forward Troy Brown and guard Elijah Brown had them only down by six with eight minutes remaining in the first.

The Cardinal went on another run to end with a 50-34 halftime lead. Stanford shot 67.9 percent from the field and 66.7 from the three-point line in the half.

Echoing Pickens’ themes of the game, Stanford came out of halftime in aggressive fashion. The lead ballooned up to as much as 27 in the first five minutes of the second half due to the efforts of Pickens, Travis and Okpala on the offensive end.

It only kept getting worse for the Ducks as Oregon’s offense completely fell apart. The Ducks shot 36.7 percent from the field and made one of nine threes in the second half. The sluggish Oregon offense combined with a hot Cardinal offense eventually saw the lead get to as high as 37 before settling in at 35 to end the game.

The mountain schools call Stanford next as the Cardinal head to Salt Lake City to play Utah on Thursday at 5 p.m. and then to Boulder to play Colorado on Sunday at 1 p.m. The games will be broadcasted by FS1 and the Pac-12 Networks, respectively.

 

Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu.

  • Candid One

    This was a perfect storm type of game. Oregon had teased Cal and apparently had expected to meet the Stanford team who’d been blown out in Westwood. The Ducks laid an egg. Matchups favored Stanford as too many Oregon players waited for someone else to get going. By the time that the Oregon stars got untracked, they were down by double digits and Stanford was able to sustain a gap.

    This was the Dorian Pickens who’d been expected–last year. For whatever reasons, maybe the new coaches and new scheme, projected promise from the previous year never materialized for any returning players except Reid Travis, plus most defenses had focused on Pickens as Stanford’s only serious perimeter threat. “Feed Reid” seemed to be the inaugural Haase game plan last year. Welcome back, Dorian!

    This game was too good for Stanford. The first 14 games of this season, without injured Pickens and Marcus Sheffield (now a medical redshirt) and with KZ Okpala ineligible for Fall Qtr., too much was missing. Now, after 11 conference games, the full team chemistry seems to be still evolving. This was definitely a confidence builder but memory of the team’s recent zombie walk at UCLA should be too fresh to allow overconfidence. One game at a time…the seniors are probably harping on that theme. Utah-Colorado are always a tough road swing.