Eagles long-shot winners at Maples
A three-point barrage by Eastern Washington trumped Stanford’s inside power Tuesday night, resulting in an embarrassing loss for the Cardinal at Maples Pavilion.
Bogdan Bliznyuk, a longlimbed, 6-foot-6 swingman from Ukraine, scored 23 points, and the Eagles hit 11 of 25 three-point attempts to surprise the Cardinal 67-61.
Eastern had finished second in the Big Sky Conference last season and took part in the NCAA Tournament as recently as 2015. But it had lost 21 straight to Pac-12 teams, including a 79-69 loss at Washington on Sunday.
“There’s tremendous room for growth,” Stanford head coach Jerod Haase said. “We have such a long way to go, and we’re not covering that gap as quickly as we can. Defensively, I was disappointed in both our man and our zone. We just weren’t effective.”
Eastern (2-1) led 33-27 at halftime and built an 11-point lead early in the second half. A late flurry by Stanford’s Robert Cartwright (12 points) cut the Eagles’ lead to 62-58 with 25 seconds left. But it was too late.
“In our zone, we didn’t recognize and rotate as quickly as we needed to,” Haase said. “They’re a good team that has the ability to get to the paint. They hurt us that way as well.”
Stanford (2-1) made just 2 of 16 three-point tries and shot 34 percent from the floor.
Starting swingman Dorian Pickens and reserves Kodye Pugh and Marcus Sheffield missed the game with foot or ankle injuries. Partly as a result, the Cardinal started three freshmen: Isaac White, Daejon Davis and Oscar da Silva. Pickens’ leadership in particular was sorely missed.
The Cardinal lacked “a sense of urgency,” said Reid Travis, who scored 20 points but had just five rebounds. “We didn’t come out the way we wanted to. We started slow and kind of messed with them for the first half.”
Eastern head coach Shantay Legans, a former Cal and Fresno State guard, said his team followed the game plan on Travis. “We had bodies around him at all times,” he said. “We didn’t let him go one-on-one. We had multiple people coming over for help.”
Da Silva was a bright light for Stanford with 12 points and 17 rebounds.
“In some ways, I know very little about Oscar,” Haase said “This summer, he was playing international basketball and was here for only a little bit. The first week of practice, he had a high ankle sprain and really hasn’t practiced a whole lot until recently.
“He’s going to be a heck of a player for a long time, and people are going to enjoy watching him play.”
On the other hand, Davis missed all five of his fieldgoal tries and had four turnovers, scoring two points. Haase said his message to Davis was: “Listen to me, which he will do.”
Eastern Washington has Stanford’s Michael Humphrey surrounded as he tries to maneuver with the ball.