Men’s basketball swats Sac State Hornets 91-73

Stanford men’s basketball (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) left Maples Pavilion with a 91-73 win against Sacramento State (0-2, 0-0 Big Sky) on Friday evening. A game of incredible plays hinted at a potentially strong season for the team. 

The Cardinal won tip-off to start, and their first make of the game — shot from the perimeter — came from none other than fifth-year forward Spencer Jones. After a rough performance at three against Cal State Northridge, Jones was back in his former stride as an elite perimeter shooter, shooting three of four from deep for the game.

Despite maintaining just a small lead over the Hornets through the half, the Cardinal showed how potent their offense could be. 

Sac State attempted to close the gap, but a steal from sophomore guard Benny Gealer stole the crowd’s attention as he ran the court for a layup — the first fast-break points of the game.

Shots by Jones, freshman guard Andrej Stojaković, graduate student guard Jared Bynum and graduate student forward James Keefe kept the score in favor of the Cardinal. 

With four minutes left in the half, the game saw its first dunk by senior forward Brandon Angel. The Card continued to stay ahead to the buzzer, and a dunk by junior forward Maxime Raynaud scored the final points for Stanford. The first half ended with a 47-39 lead for Stanford.

The second half saw stronger performance from Stanford, with 56.25% shooting from the field. Bynum continued dominating on the court, leading the team by initiating the offense.

“As a point guard, [I’m] always pushing the pace, always making the reads, always finding the right guys. The coaches give me a lot of confidence when I got the ball in my hands to play free and make the decisions.” Bynum said.

Early free throws by Jones continued the Card’s 100 percentage. The team maintained a double-digit lead over Sac State with shots by graduate student guard Michael Jones, Spencer Jones and Stojaković. A rebound from Gealer set up Keefe for the Cardinal’s third dunk of the game.

A steal by sophomore guard Ryan Agarwal and a layup with 7 minutes left in the game added another two to the Card’s lead. A dunk by Raynaud and a campaign of layups led by Angel shut down the Hornet’s attempts to close the gap. And at 88-73, with just seven seconds left in the game, senior forward Max Murrell drained a three-pointer to seal another win for Stanford: 91-73.

Overall, the team’s 55.7% from the field over Sac State’s 38.2% on a near-equal number of shot attempts is what led them to victory.

“We had 56 points in the paint … we were getting to the basket,” said coach Jerod Haase. “Our mindset was good.”

Stanford set the single game program record for assist to turnover ratio at 22:4, beating their previous best from 2013. Cardinal players also set a number of individual records against Sac State: Gealer had career bests of six assists, eight points and five rebounds, while Bynum met his career high with 10 assists and just one turnover. 

Angel led the Card in scoring with 18 points, followed by Spencer Jones with 15 points and Raynaud’s 14. Stojakovic increased his contributions from game one, with 12 points on 55% from the field and 2-of-4 from the perimeter.

The Cardinal looks to end their final season in the Pac-12 strong. “It’s the last year of the conference and we want to finish the conference strong, but it’s one game at a time and that’s our goal,” Angel said.

Stanford men’s basketball looks to continue its win streak on Tuesday at a home game against Santa Clara. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. PT.