Pickens scores 17, Stanford beats Colorado State 56-49
STANFORD, Calif. — Dorian Pickens scored 17 points and Stanford beat Colorado State 56-49 on Sunday in a matchup of two teams still trying to figure out how to consistently score.
“They certainly did a great job playing a very compact defense, but we also made some mistakes,” said first-year Stanford coach Jerod Haase, whose team improved to 4-0 but had its lowest point total of the season.
“We didn’t capitalize on certain things. We need to make a few more open shots. The biggest thing is we need to get the ball inside.”
Pickens made 4 of 6 from 3-point range, but was the only player on either team to shoot with success from the perimeter. Pickens’ teammates were a combined 1-for-12 and the Rams were 5-for-18.
Stanford, which won its third home game in a span of six days, also got 11 points from Reid Travis. But the junior forward, who averaged 21.7 points through the Cardinal’s first three games, managed just five shot attempts against a collapsing CSU defense.
“They made it tough for us to get the ball inside,” Stanford point guard Robert Cartwright said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to grow. We haven’t really been challenged this way. We have to find ways to win and we did that.”
The Rams (2-1) hadn’t been held under 50 points since a 56-43 loss to San Diego State on March 13, 2015.
Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy played a young lineup that included as many as three sophomores and a freshman at times.
“We expect this is going to be a time when we’re going to learn. It’s as good a defensive team as I’ve had in a long time for such young kids,” Eustachy said. “They weren’t more physical than us. I thought we tried really hard. You just can’t overcome 20 turnovers.”
Prentiss Nixon led Colorado State with 15 points. Braden Koelliker, who averaged 14.5 points in the team’s first two games, was scoreless.
“We were close against a very good Stanford team,” Eustachy said. “I’m not sure our guys believed we could beat them, and I thought we could. We’ll get it right.”
Stanford: The Cardinal is 4-0 under first-year head coach Jerod Haase, although early success is not necessarily indicative of long-terms results. Previous coach Johnny Dawkins started 10-0 in his debut season of 2008-09 (including a win over Colorado State) before the Cardinal lost 90-60 to Arizona State in its Pac-10 opener. Stanford wound up finishing ninth in the conference.
Colorado State: The Rams need to shoot the ball better. They converted just 38 percent from the field — including 6 for 33 from the 3-point arc — in their first two games. They were worse against a stronger Stanford defense, making just 29.8 percent (14-for-47).
Stanford, having concluded a three-game homestand, treks east to play in the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Florida, where it opens the three-day event against Miami (3-0), which averaged nearly 87 points in three easy victories.
Colorado State returns home for a Wednesday night matchup vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore (0-4), which comes off a 116-79 loss at Wichita State and will play its fourth game in five on the road.
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Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com