Stanford 71, Denver 49
STANFORD, Calif. (AP)—Matt Haryasz had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Stanford ended a three-game losing streak with a 71-49 victory over Denver on Monday night.
Dan Grunfeld added 19 points, six rebounds and five assists as the Cardinal (3-4) avoided their worst start since beginning 2-5 in 1979-80 and worst skid since dropping six in a row to end the 1992-93 season—the last time Stanford lost more than three straight.
Denver star Yemi Nicholson had 10 points and 11 rebounds after a 27-point performance in a 79-66 loss to North Dakota State on Dec. 13. He didn’t score until a tip-in at the 13:51 mark of the first half.
Nicholson, the 6-foot-11, 260-pound reigning Sun Belt Conference player of the year, attracted a handful of scouts, but never got into a rhythm. He missed six of his first seven field-goal tries and finished 4-of-12 shooting for the mistake-prone Pioneers.
Nicholson became visibly frustrated when he briefly tangled with Stanford point guard Chris Hernandez and got whistled for his fourth foul with 16:01 remaining, then took a seat. He returned about three minutes later and scored soon after, then had another hoop during a 9-0 run that pulled the Pioneers within 55-44 with 8:30 left.
Alex Cox made it a 56-47 game with a three-point play for Denver at 7:53, but the Pioneers scored only two more points the rest of the way.
The Cardinal had been struggling after beginning the season ranked 13th, losing at Montana, at UC Davis and against Virginia Tech in Las Vegas on Saturday night in the team’s first game back after a two-week layoff for final exams.
The Pioneers (5-4), who are 0-4 all-time in California since returning to Division I in 1998, committed 20 turnovers and shot 34.6 percent on the way to their third straight defeat. Denver played its third game of a five-game road trip.
David Kummer led the Pioneers with 12 points and six rebounds.
Grunfeld, Stanford’s leading scorer last season in his injury-shortened junior year, scored the Cardinal’s first eight points after halftime and converted consecutive three-point plays. He is still wearing a bulky brace on his surgically repaired right knee.
Haryasz scored six points during a 13-1 run that gave the Cardinal a 28-11 lead with 6 minutes left in the first half. After the Pioneers cut it to 10, Stanford ended the first half on an 8-0 spurt for a 37-19 lead at the break. Haryasz, who made 10 of 12 free throws, dunked in the closing moments on a pretty pass from freshman Mitch Johnson.
Stanford played without forward Fred Washington, who has left knee tendinitis that likely will keep him out of Wednesday night’s game against Princeton in the Pete Newell Challenge.
Denver missed its first four shots against Stanford’s tight man defense, including three by Nicholson. The Cardinal made five of their first eight shots and forced the Pioneers into nine early turnovers.
Denver’s Terrence Gordon picked up his fourth foul 2:18 before halftime.