Stanford 71, San Francisco 56
STANFORD, Calif. (AP)—Taj Finger made an impression on Stanford coach Trent Johnson and that earned him his first career start. He made an even better impression on Wednesday, scoring a career-high 15 points and grabbing a career-best six rebounds in Stanford’s 71-56 victory over San Francisco.
Johnson cited Finger’s performance in Saturday’s game against UC Irvine in his decision to put Finger back in the starting lineup. “He played the best defense that day,” Johnson said.
Matt Haryasz had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his first game for Stanford (1-1). Haryasz, who missed Stanford’s season-opening loss to UC Irvine with a sprained ankle, responded with his 12th career double-double. He also matched his career high with four assists and blocked four shots, his most since blocking six against Oregon last year.
Finger scored a total of 45 points in his first 31 games at Stanford.
“The coaches noticed that I put in a lot of defensive work,” Finger said. “As long as I play defense and rebound I’ll be fine. Dan (Grunfeld) was giving me a lot of nice passes and I was able to convert today.”
Grunfeld had 16 points, seven rebounds and a game-high six assists.
“With Dan, Matt and Chris (Hernandez) on the floor, guys like Taj will have open looks. He’s got to take advantage and knock down shots.”
Alan Wiggins Jr., who’s younger sister Candice plays for the Stanford women’s basketball team, scored a career high 21 points to go with a career-best six blocked shots and eight boards to lead San Francisco (1-2), which has lost five of its previous six meetings with the Cardinal. Armondo Surratt, who transferred from Miami (Fla.) after putting in two years as a starter there, scored 13.
“We weren’t passing the ball,” Wiggins said. “We had two assists the whole game and that won’t get it done against a team like Stanford. We were too excited, too nervous, and tried to go 1-on-1. That’s not how we play.”
Stanford, which dropped out of the poll this week after starting the season at No. 13, has not lost to the Dons at home since 1977.
“They took us out of what we did as a team,” San Francisco coach Jessie Evans said. “We got in a hurry and when we get pressed we have a tendency to go 1-on-1.”
San Francisco crept within 10 points of the Cardinal early in the second half but could not get any closer. Stanford eventually opened a 21-point advantage with eight minutes remaining to play and cruised from there.
“That’s what we are accustomed to seeing from this group,” Johnson said. “We feel a lot better than we felt after the last game.”
After the Dons opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, Stanford scored 17 of the next 19 points, including 11 unanswered, to take control. San Francisco made just two of its first 17 shots.
Finger and Haryasz combined for 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting as Stanford took a 36-21 halftime lead. The rest of the team went 6-of-19. The Dons shot just over 27 percent.