Denver (1-4) at Stanford (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 2, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Maples Pavilion (7,439) -- Stanford, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Denver 1-3, Stanford 3-1. Away Record: Denver 0-2, Stanford 0-0. Neutral Record: Denver 0-0, Stanford 2-2. Conference Record: Denver 0-0, Stanford 0-0. Series Record: Stanford leads 7-2.
GAMES NOTES: In the second matchup of a three-game homestand the Stanford Cardinal will take on the Denver Pioneers in non-conference action at Maples Pavilion.
Denver is playing the second of back-to-back road games and will certainly be hoping for a better result after they lost to Southern Miss 61-50 on Tuesday. That defeat was the third straight for the Pioneers who are 1-4 this season and 0-2 on the road. Denver will play three of its next four games back at Magness Arena starting with Mercer on Wednesday.
After opening the season with three straight wins, Stanford has been alternating wins and losses over its last four games but is coming off a victory against Seattle. The Cardinal downed the Redhawks 68-57 in the first game of the current homestand to bounce back from a 1-2 showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Cardinal will be off for nearly two weeks after this game before facing UC Davis on Dec. 15.
Stanford has won its last four meetings with Denver and has a 7-2 advantage all-time against the Pioneers. Denver has not gotten a win against the Cardinal since the 1972 season.
The Pioneers had a miserable day on offense against Southern Miss managing a season-low in points, while shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor. The only reason the game was even remotely close was due to the fact that Denver outscored Southern Miss 27-12 from 3-point range. Denver also managed to turn 17 Southern Miss turnovers into 19 points. Royce O'Neale scored nearly half of the team's points as he put in 22 and nailed five triples.
Although the offensive showing Denver had against Southern Miss was its worst of the season its not as if the Pioneers have been lighting it up. Denver scores only 58.0 points per game and shoots just 37.6 percent from the field. Most of the games have been at least reasonably competitive as the Pioneers only surrender 61.8 points per game despite allowing teams top shoot 26.6 percent from the field. Rebounding is also a weakness with the team bringing in only 28.4 per game. O'Neale (13.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.8 apg) has a well rounded game out of the forward spot but really needs more shooting nights like he had against Southern Miss. The 6-foot-5 forward is shooting just 38.2 percent from the field. Chris Udofia (12.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg,. 3.6 apg) teams with O'Neale in the frontcourt, while Chase Hallam (10.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Brett Olson (9.8 ppg) lead on the wings.
It was slow going for Stanford in the first half against Seattle. The Cardinal managed to connect on only 9-of-31 shots in the first half and trailed 30-27 at the break. Stanford turned it around in the second half, nailing 12-of-30 shots while holding a 16-7 edge in points from the free-throw line to secure the win. Josh Huestis scored only seven points, but blocked 10 shots.
Even though Stanford only shoots 38.8 percent from the floor it has still managed to obtain a scoring differential of +6.3 by scoring 69.1 points per game. Stanford has also limited opponents to a low field goal percentage (38.3). The backcourt took a hit in mid-November when Aaron Bright (9.0 ppg, 3.8 apg) sprained his ankle. He has missed four games. In that time there has been more pressure put on fellow guard Chasson Randle (15.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.0 apg) who despite leading the team in scoring, has not shot well (35.6 FG percentage). Dwight Powell (12.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and Huestis (7.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg) have played well up front with Huestis protecting the rim effectively by blocking 3.2 shots per game. Stepping in for Bright in the starting lineup is Christian Sanders (4.1 ppg) who has had meager numbers in his new role. Forward Andy Brown (7.7 ppg) had a season-high 17 points against Seattle and has been an effective scorer off the bench.
Although the Cardinal are certainly a weaker team without Bright, Stanford has still managed to remain competitive with Randle getting support from other players on the roster.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stanford 74, Denver 59
12/02 10:37:44 ET