Stanford looks to build momentum vs. Valparaiso

·2 min read

Valparaiso will get an opportunity to show off flashy transfer Thomas Kithier to a West Coast audience Wednesday night when the Beacons visit Stanford for a nonconference basketball game.

Both teams have gotten out of the blocks slowly this season. Valparaiso (0-2) opened with a pair of narrow home losses to Toledo and Illinois-Chicago, and Stanford (2-1) was blown out at Santa Clara between struggling for wins over Tarleton State and San Jose State.

For the Cardinal, it's an opportunity to build some momentum before visiting defending NCAA champion Baylor on Saturday.

Valparaiso's two defeats didn't keep the Missouri Valley Conference from acknowledging Kithier's fast start in his first two games since leaving Michigan State for Valparaiso. He earned MVC Newcomer of the Week honors with a 16-point debut against Toledo followed by a 28-point, 11-rebound effort in the loss to Illinois-Chicago.

The fast start has come as no surprise to Beacons coach Matt Lottich, who recalled that Kithier was very much on his program's radar before the Clarkston, Mich., native initially opted to stay in state for his college career.

"He and his family visited our campus," Lottich noted. "He has had a great start to his career and is excited to take on a larger role in our program. He checks all the boxes from a leadership standpoint while bringing a high motor, strong rebounding ability and high skill level."

The Beacons will need the 6-foot-8 forward's size to match up with Stanford's Harrison Ingram, a freshman who already has made a mark on the Cardinal's program in three games.

The Dallas native had 16- and 19-point games when Stanford opened with a split against Tarleton State and Santa Clara, then proved too much for San Jose State to handle in a 76-62 home win on Monday night.

Ingram, the Pacific-12 Conference's reigning Freshman of the Week had 12 of his 19 points while almost single-handedly keeping Stanford in the game in the first half, during which the Cardinal fell behind 38-29.

He then had an assist and a 3-pointer in a key sequence midway through the second half when Stanford took a lead it never lost against the Spartans.

Cardinal coach Jerod Haase is content with his team's winning start even if it hasn't been impressive.

"I think you are going to see us grow a ton this year," he predicted. "It is going to be a ton of fun to watch us develop."

--Field Level Media