STANFORD, Calif. (AP)An errant elbow to the head forced Stanford’s Oscar da Silva out of the game for a few minutes in the second half. It was about the only thing that slowed down the Cardinal’s playmaking big man.
Da Silva scored a career-high 26 points, and Stanford bounced back from its only loss this season and beat UNC Wilmington 72-54 on Sunday afternoon.
”Our game plan offensively is to play with pace, get to multiple sides of the floor and then attack them from the inside out. One of the best ways we have at our disposal is throwing it to Oscar,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. ”He’s making a lot of good decisons in there. As long as he’s not turning the ball over, good things are going to tend to happen.”
Da Silva shot 11 of 14 and had five rebounds despite getting hurt early in the second half. He played the rest of the game with a thick, white bandage covered by a headband wrapped around his head after getting hit in the head by UNC Wilmington’s Shykeim Phillips in the key while attempting a shot.
”I was just in the paint and did the pump fake and somebody hit me with an elbow maybe or something,” da Silva said. ”I got a little bump. Didn’t really hurt so I came back in.”
Spencer Jones added 17 points and set a career high with five 3-pointers for Stanford (8-1). The Cardinal is off to its best start since 2011 when they won 10 of their first 11.
Da Silva has been at the center of Stanford’s success and credits the team’s perimeter shooting for opening things up on the inside.
”I love that mid-post area and then we have great shooters,” da Silva said. ”It’s a very good combination of different styles of individual skills that come together really nicely for us.”
Marten Linssen and Jaylen Sims scored 12 points apiece for UNC Wilmington (5-5). The Seahawks haven’t beaten a Pac-12 team since 2006.
Stanford led by 25 and never trailed.
”We were trying to double da Silva, but sometimes he makes too quick a move,” Seahawks coach C.B. McGrath said. ”When we did double him a couple times, they did a nice job of being unselfish, making an extra pass and getting a wide-open look. You’ve got to pick your poison. We knew he’d be a tough matchup; we tried to adjust, but it just didn’t work out for us.”
The Cardinal bounced back after losing to Butler, 68-67, in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Classic on Tuesday.
Stanford led by 19 in the first half behind da Silva’s work on the interior and Jones’ perimeter shooting. Jones made four of his 3s before halftime as the Cardinal went up 38-19.
It was the second game in two seasons between the two teams. The Cardinal beat the Seahawks 72-59 in Wilmington last year.
UNC Wilmington: The Seahawks were playing their fifth game in 10 days and it showed. They fell behind 12-0 and could never catch up to the bigger, faster Cardinal. Wilmington did show toughness inside and were only outrebounded 33-30.
Stanford: The Cardinal showed no hangover from their loss to Butler and got big contributions across the board. Freshman Tyrell Terry had nine points, four rebounds and five assists despite being in foul trouble.
The game was a reunion for Haase and McGrath. The two were roommates for two years while playing together at Kansas. They also coached together for 14 seasons at North Carolina.
UNC Wilmington: The Seahawks host Charlotte on Dec. 7. It’s the first game between the two teams since the 1995-96 season.
Stanford: The Cardinal will get nearly two weeks off before playing at nearby San Jose State on Dec. 14.
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