Stanford makes its shortest trip of the season in search of rare road success when it visits San Francisco Bay Area-rival California in a Pac-12 matchup Thursday night in Berkeley, Calif.
The Cardinal (10-7, 6-5) is coming off a 72-66 loss to Southern Cal on Tuesday that snapped a four-game conference home winning streak.
Stanford hasn’t been nearly as successful on the Pac-12 road, having already lost at Oregon, Utah, Colorado and Arizona State among their last six ventures out of state.
This trek will be about 30 miles to the north, scene of a 52-50 Cardinal loss 13 months ago. The win earned Cal (7-12, 2-10) a split in the season series, with Stanford having won earlier in the month at home 68-52.
The Golden Bears have lost four in a row overall and four of their five conference home games so far.
Cal is coming off an 0-2 trip to Arizona State and Arizona in standout Matt Bradley’s return to the starting lineup. Bradley missed five games in mid-January with an ankle injury, then came back as a reserve in Cal’s most recent home game, a 76-68 loss to Southern Cal on Jan. 23.
He was deemed healthy enough to start both of last week’s road games, scoring 26 points in 32 minutes at Arizona State and then 21 points in 25 minutes at Arizona.
“When he takes the right shots, he certainly finished plays today,” Cal coach Mark Fox complimented after the Arizona loss. “We have to get more help around Matt.”
Fox noted that the Golden Bears were dominated on the boards by the taller Wildcats to the tune of 33-23. That would seem to bode well for Stanford, especially leading scorer Oscar da Silva, who stands 6-foot-9.
The Cardinal also has featured 6-8 freshman Ziaire Williams this season, but he missed the Southern Cal game whilein COVID-19 protocol and remains no sure thing to play against Cal.
Stanford also has been missing guard Daejon Davis (hasn’t played since Jan. 16) and forward Bryce Wills (out since Jan. 4) with injuries.
“We don’t know who’s going to be out there,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase admitted this week, “but we do know we’re gonna compete.”
Davis had 12 points and da Silva 13 in Stanford’s loss at Cal last season. Wills appeared to send the game into overtime with a basket at the final horn, but it was deemed too late by officials, a call that was upheld in review.
Bradley had 14 for the Golden Bears.
–Field Level Media