Suddenly Stanford is the best outside shooting team in the country. Well, that may be an overstatement, but the turnaround the Cardinal has made in that department is just short of phenomenal.
Stanford again used long-range shooting to put away Oregon 81-73 on Sunday at Maples Pavilion, giving the Cardinal its third straight win and putting it right back in the Pac-12 race, just two games out of first place at the halfway mark.
The Cardinal (14-8, 5-4) was among the worst three-point shooting teams in the country most of the season, with guards Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle struggling mightily from long range after being accurate from distance last season.
But the Cardinal hit 8 of 14 three-point shots in Wednesday's 24-point blowout of No. 10 Oregon, and Stanford was outstanding from long range again Sunday, hitting 14 of 25 three-point attempts. That means more than half Stanford's points against the Beavers came by way of the three-pointer, and the Cardinal's first 15 points of the game all came via three-point shots. The Cardinal missed their first seven two-point shots, but hit seven of their first eight three-point shots.
Randle and Bright, who were a combined 6-for-6 against Oregon, were 6-for-11 from long range on Sunday. And Randle has been particularly confident from long range.
The Cardinal also got another good game from 6-10 John Gage, who leads the Pac-12 in three-point shooting percentage at 48.3 percent after going 3-for-6 from behind the line on Sunday. Over the past five games, Gage is 10-for-16 on three-point shots, and his 12 points Sunday represented his third game of 12 points or more in that stretch.
Power forwards Rosco Allen and Dwight Powell were a combined 4-for-4 on three-pointers, and Josh Huestis made one of two three-point shots, although Huestis did most of his work inside as he collected 16 points and a team-high 13 rebounds.
Randle finished with a team-high 20 points to go along with five assists and one turnover, and he was the main offensive force in the first half when the Cardinal led by as much as 10 points.
Stanford did not play as well as it did on Wednesday, though, letting the last-place Beavers back in the game.
The Beavers (11-11, 1-8) rallied to take a two-point lead eight minutes into the second half, and they still held a one-point lead with 4:39 to go.
But again the three-point shot bailed the Cardinal out as Powell hit two three-pointers over the next minute to put Stanford ahead to stay.
The Cardinal had to shoot well from long range to avoid the upset, because Stanford allowed Oregon State to shoot 49.2 percent from the floor (including 5-for-9 on three-pointers) and also allowed the Beavers to outrebound the Cardinal by 10 boards.
Stanford made up for those deficiencies with offensive efficiency, hitting 56 percent of its three-pointers and committing just four turnovers.
"Today we had to make shots," coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Usually we hang our hat on the defensive end, and I can't say we had a great defensive game, in large part because they're a very good team and they made us look this way defensively. But fortunately, they shot the ball very well and that's something that we talked about earlier and our kids have really done a good job of staying the course, believing in themselves, believing in each other. They fought their way out of it and shot the ball well."