Stanford (3-4) lost all three of its games at the Battle 4 Atlantis event over Thanksgiving week at Paradise Island, Bahamas. The Cardinal were 3-1 on their home court and feeling positive about the road ahead until running into tournament woes.
A 77-74 defeat in double overtime last week to then-No. 20 Arkansas, while heartbreaking, still suggested Stanford could be competitive at a high level. Then came an 83-78 defeat to Michigan and a rough 73-51 loss to Northern Iowa.
Playing for the third time in three days, Stanford trailed 49-27 at halftime to Northern Iowa. It hardly made a difference that the defense held the Panthers to 35.5 percent shooting in the second half.
Stanford's Spencer Jones entered the three-game stretch in the Bahamas coming off a wrist injury, then scored 27 points with eight rebounds over 42 minutes against Arkansas. But he played just 13 minutes against Michigan and did not play versus Northern Iowa.
Rebounding was a particular issue for the Cardinal, who gave up 21 offensive rebounds to Arkansas, then lost the overall rebounding battle to each of its next two opponents.
"At the end of the day, we have to do a combination of hitting and holding our boxouts a little better, find a way to pursue and find a way to get secondary defenders in there," Stanford head coach Jerod Haase said. "Get our guards in there, have them compete, and try to find rebounds as well."
San Diego (6-2) heads into the meat of its nonconference schedule with two Pac-12 opponents in a week. After facing Stanford, the Toreros will get a home game against Arizona State next weekend. They leave California for the first time Wednesday when they play at Utah State.
"We're having fun with it, reframing it as an opportunity to be the disruptors and go against the trend by using our youth to our advantage," San Diego head coach Steve Lavin said of his young team. "They have an exuberance that's contagious."
San Diego enters Sunday's game after a 74-72 home victory over Northern Colorado on Wednesday. Freshman Kevin Patton Jr. scored 17 points off the bench and freshman Jimmy Oladokun Jr. scored 14 points with 10 rebounds. The Toreros made six consecutive free throws in 14 seconds down the stretch to seal the victory.
--Field Level Media
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