With top scorer out, Stanford uses balanced offense to beat WSU

PULLMAN, Wash. — Stanford was without its leading scorer. That meant the rest of the Cardinal had to step up, and they did.

Daejon Davis scored 15 points to lead five Stanford players in double figures and the Cardinal rebounded from a loss at Washington on Thursday by beating Washington State 78-66 on Saturday.

Stanford forward KZ Okpala, tops on the Cardinal at 17.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, sat out because of back spasms.

“For Stanford missing their best player they played extremely poised in the game,” Washington State coach Ernie Kent said. “Particularly to close the half and to close the game, they were excellent at controlling clock and they were excellent at their last-second decision making.”

To help pick up the slack for Stanford, Josh Sharma and Bryce Wills had 13 points and eight rebounds apiece, Oscar da Silva added 12 points and Marcus Sheffield added 11.

The Cougars cut their deficit to 69-64 on Robert Franks’ two free throws with 2:28 left but then knocked a potential defensive rebound out of bounds. Wills scored on a dunk on his team’s next possession to extend the Cardinal’s lead and Stanford (9-9, 2-4, Pac-12) scored six unanswered points in the final 55 seconds.

“I liked how we shot a good percentage and most of the shots were clean looks,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. “I was really excited about that.”

CJ Elleby had 18 points and nine rebounds for Washington State (8-10, 1-4) and Ahmed Ali finished with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range.

Trailing 14-6 after the first 5½ minutes, Stanford went on a 13-2 run over 3:16 led by Wills, who had a 3-pointer and a a layup in transition as the Cardinal took a 19-16 lead.

After a 3-pointer from Marvin Cannon and a couple of baskets on the inside from Jeff Pollard, WSU would not score for the next 4:03.

WSU’s drought led to a 14-2 Stanford run capped by Marcus Sheffield’s 3 and Jaiden Delaire’s layup.

The Cougars used a 7-0 run that included back-to-back layups from Elleby and Ali’s fourth 3-pointer of the half to get closer, but Stanford led 39-35 at the break.

Stanford started the second half on an 8-4 run, but WSU scored seven straight in 32 seconds to close to 47-46. A layup from Elleby followed by a steal and assist from Ali to Viont’e Daniels for a layup and a foul on the next possession brought the home crowd to its feet.

The Cardinal responded with three 3-pointers on a 9-2 run to extend the lead once again. Da Silva, Sheffield and Davis each had a 3-pointer during the run, making it 56-48 with 12:28 left.

Stanford would not trail the rest of the way.

“On the road it is always difficult and being able to get a split is an important thing,” Haase said. “We go back home for a couple games, so we will hopefully take some momentum and grow from this, but we are certainly excited about the win today.”

Ricky Hester is an Associated Press writer.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/With-top-scorer-out-Stanford-uses-balanced-13547320.php.

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