SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jerod Haase believes Stanford is getting close to becoming an elite defensive team. With an up-and-down offense still searching for consistency, that’s critical for the Cardinal who are off to their best start in more than a decade.
Tyrell Terry scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half in his return following a one-game absence and Stanford went on a big run late to pull away and beat San Diego 62-59 in the Al Attles Classic on Saturday.
Oscar da Silva added 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Cardinal (11-1) extended their best start since 2008-09 when they also opened the season 11-1.
They’ve done it primarily behind a defense that went into the game holding opponents to 38% shooting.
“The reality is that’s who we are, and if that breaks down our product is going to be what we want,” Haase said. “We have to be a defensive-minded team. We have to become an elite defensive team, and in some ways we’re working toward that. Without that we’re just another team out there. We’re getting closer.”
Joey Calcaterra scored 17 points for San Diego (6-8). Marion Humphrey added 16 points. The Toreros had won three straight.
Stanford won despite trailing most of the first half and matching its season-worst of 20 turnovers overall.
Terry did not play in Stanford’s come-from-behind win over San Francisco on Tuesday because of an upper body injury. He was cleared to practice on Friday and got off to a sluggish start in the first of four games at the Chase Center before finding his rhythm.
Terry made three 3-pointers in the second half and scored on a reverse layup to cap an 11-0 run that put Stanford ahead 56-44. Da Silva had four points as part of the surge and finished with 10 in the second half.
After Terry’s second 3 of the second half, the freshman turned to the Cardinal bench and pumped his fist.
“It felt good for me,” Terry said. “In the first half I was playing a little bit timid and slow. To come back and hit that 3 kind of gave me and my team a spark that we needed. We were kind of on our heels a little bit.”
Stanford led at halftime despite a sloppy first half. The Cardinal turned the ball over 10 times and couldn’t get much going offensively until Spencer Jones and Terry made back-to-back 3-pointers after San Diego went ahead 24-16.
Jones later hit a tying 3 and Daejon Davis tipped in a miss with 0.6 seconds remaining to put Stanford up 31-29.
“They’re very good defensively,” San Diego coach Sam Scholl said. “I think they’re better defensively than they are offensively, and they’re really good offensively. They’re just really athletic and can move their feet and cover ground quickly.”
San Diego: The Toreros had success early crowding the paint and forcing the Cardinal to settle for rushed shots from the perimeter. Once Stanford got rolling, San Diego had a difficult time keeping pace. It’s the third loss to a Pac-12 team this season and prevented the Toreros from capturing their 600th win in Division I.
Stanford: The uneven offense was offset by another strong day from the Cardinal defense, which forced 17 turnovers and held San Diego to 36.5% shooting. Stanford has held all 12 opponents this season to 70 points or fewer.
San Diego: Hosts Whittier College on Dec. 29.
Stanford: Hosts No. 1 Kansas at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 29.
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