STANFORD, Calif. — First football. Now basketball.
Stanford stunned No.10 Oregon, 76-52, in a Pac-12 game Wednesday night, two months after spoiling the Ducks’ BCS title hopes on the football field.
Nothing in recent memory could have predicted the way Stanford (13-8, 4-4 Pac-12) demolished Oregon, whose nine-game winning streak faded into oblivion under a barrage of pinpoint 3-point shooting.
In perhaps the finest performance of the Johnny Dawkins era, the Cardinal helped bring the Ducks back to reality and tightened the Pac-12 race in front of 4,816 fans at Maples Pavilion.
But forward Dwight Powell didn’t sound overly impressed afterward.
“We haven’t reached our goals yet,” said Powell, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds despite fouling out with five minutes left. “We’re still in the process of trying to prove ourselves.”
Stanford proved something important Wednesday: It has the talent to become one of the country’s top teams. The Cardinal had struggled against top-25 teams in its five seasons under Dawkins. It entered the game 3-11 against such teams and hadn’t defeated a ranked school since a 58-56 victory over No.17 Washington in 2011. Stanford’s previous upset of a top-10 team came in 2008 at Washington State.
“It came down to the intensity and mindset,” Powell said. “We were just going to dig in today.”
The Ducks (18-3, 7-1) hadn’t stumbled since a triple overtime defeat Dec. 19 at Texas-El Paso. Oregon was picked seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll but came out roaring this month.
The Cardinal wasn’t intimidated by Oregon’s rise in national stature.
Stanford wouldn’t budge with a concrete-wall defense led by Josh Huestis and Powell. But it also had a fortunate shooting night, making 57.1 percent from 3-point-range. Guards Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright each went 3 for 3 from beyond the arc.
Randle led all scorers with 17 points, Huestis had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Bright added 12 points.
Stanford shot 51.9 percent from the field whereas Oregon made only 34.6 percent of its shots. The Cardinal also out-rebounded the league’s top rebounding team 35-31.
“I thought we’d be ready to go, I thought we’d play harder, but that’s the first time we fell flat on our face this year,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “A lot of it has to do with Stanford; they just kicked us.”
Oregon just couldn’t recover after Stanford’s command performance over the first 20 minutes. The Cardinal rode red-hot shooting during an 18-2 run early in the half for a 20-8 lead. Randle led the charge with three consecutive baskets that included two from beyond the arc.
Oregon, on the other hand, missed all six of its 3-pointers in the half.
Altman didn’t panic. “We’ve made up those deficits before,” he said.
But it never got any easier, as Stanford didn’t let up after leading by 13 at halftime. The Cardinal built a 16-point lead with 17:35 left when the Ducks seemed to lose the hunger to keep battling.
“The way we started the game, we wanted to throw the first punch,” Randle said. “We knew they wouldn’t stop fighting all night long. We just wanted to not let up.”