SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco coach Kyle Smith expects to win every game and even he is surprised by the Dons best start in 19 years.
Charles Minlend scored 19 points, one of four players in double figures, and San Francisco beat Stanford 74-65 on Saturday.
Frankie Ferrari added 17 points for the Dons (12-1), who snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cardinal and matched their best start in 19 years.
“We don’t set goals expect for games or individually,” Smith said. “I thought we’d be good but 12-1 is really good.”
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Dons’ junior 7-footer Jimbo Lull reached double figures in rebounds for the first time in his career, nabbing 15 to go with 11 points. Matt McCarthy had 10 points.
“The first half we were getting good looks but they were just not going down for us,” Ferrari said.
Daejon Davis scored 19 points for the Cardinal (6-5), who had won four of their previous five contests. KZ Okpala added 11 points and Bryce Wills 10.
“As they increased the pressure we got back on our heels,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. “As they got more aggressive, we came to a screeching halt.”
San Francisco maintained its double-digit lead through most of the second half as Stanford suffered through one of its worst shooting games of the season.
“It was a great environment,” Smith said of the sellout crowd of 3,005. “I hope we can get used to it. They kept coming at us and we preserved it with our free throws.”
Oscar da Silva, who scored 12 points, hit a 3-pointer to cut the Dons’ lead to 60-52 with 1:36 remaining to play in the contest. The Cardinal pulled to 64-60 in the final minute before Minlend converted a 3-point play.
Nate Renfro also came up with a huge block in the final minute to deny Stanford any chance for a comeback.
“Nate is a big-time defender,” Smith said. “He bailed us out a lot. He’s our anchor.”
The Dons opened a double-digit lead with 1:56 remaining in the first half when Jordan Ratinho hit a layup.
After falling behind early, the Dons outscored Stanford 28-12 over the final 16 minutes of the first half to take a 30-19 halftime advantage. The Cardinal shot 23 percent in the first 20 minutes.
Stanford played in San Francisco for the first time in 23 years and the first time on the San Francisco campus since 1987. This was the 68th meeting between the teams. Stanford leads the series, 46-22, but is 6-11 in San Francisco. … The Cardinal is 2-6 away from home. … Stanford committed 11 turnovers in the first half.
San Francisco entered the game undefeated in the United States. Its only loss was to nationally ranked Buffalo in Belfast. … The Dons received votes in the AP poll the past two weeks, their first since the 1999-2000 season. … San Francisco has nine wins by 15 or more points. … The Dons recorded a season-best eight steals.
Stanford hosts Long Beach State on Saturday.
San Francisco goes to UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.
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