Stanford is just 1-5 on an opponent’s home court, the lone victory coming last month at Arizona State. Queue the laugh track.
This series’ latest entry salutes the squads who got it done away from home.
The famed 2003-04 Cardinal group was destined to face a mammoth effort from opponents intent on stopping a winning streak that eventually reached 26 games.
Stanford responded by winning three conference road games where it faced big deficits, overcoming the biggest of them all this week seven years ago at Oregon.
Fifteen years earlier, the Cards broke from their Pac-10 slate to travel across the country. Waiting for them was a game opponent and over 14,000 partisan fans, but the Todd Lichti-led group prevailed going away.
January 31, 2004: Stanford 83, Oregon 80
The takedown of top-ranked Duke in 2000, detailed here, remains the benchmark for all Stanford basketball comebacks. The Cardinal scored on its final fourteen possessions to erase a 15-point deficit with ten minutes left. The eventual national champion Blue Devils lost only one other game away from Cameron Indoor that year.
This game, while not as famous, rivals that miraculous night in Oakland. Oregon owned a 19-point lead just over three minutes into the second half. Yet with Chris Hernandez scoring all 22 of his points in the second half and Matt Haryasz adding 19 in his first career start, No. 2 Stanford stormed back to stun the Mac Court faithful.
Somehow, the Ducks couldn’t hang on. Elite Eight qualifiers two years earlier, the Mallards came in having won 36 of their previous 38 home games. The shooting prowess of James Davis and Andre Joseph paced Oregon to early leads of 13 (eight minutes after tipoff) and 15 points (at halftime).
Stanford turned things around after the break. Before it, the visitors shot just 27.6 percent from the floor. In the tense late moments, the Cardinal, who moved to 18-0 on the season with the win, scored on its final 15 trips and ended the game on a 33-16 surge.
The comeback trail started after a timeout, with the roar of the Mac Court crowd lifting the old barn off its foundation. Haryasz’s layup made for a temporary silence. The Ducks led 45-28 with 16:22 left. Haryasz would add two more hoops within the next two minutes, and Stanford trailed 48-34 at the 14:40 mark.
Hernandez, providing a virtuoso performance, took over from there. His two free throws seven minutes into the half made it a 12-point deficit. His three-point play had Oregon up 55-44 with 11:42 remaining. He scored, all told, 12 straight points during this key stretch.
“I’ve never been as emotionally drained after a game in my life,” he commented afterwards.
Don’t call that hypebole. Eventually Josh Childress and Matt Lottich followed suit, extinguishing Oregon’s hopes of taking down its highest ranked victim in 15 years.
Once Childress nailed a three-ball with 7:30 left, Oregon was up only 64-55. Fittingly, it was Hernandez scoring the tying and tiebreaking hoops. His three-point play with 4:31 remaining knotted the game at 67-67, while his two foul shots put Stanford ahead to stay at 77-75 with 1:11 left.
“It was a pretty doggone good win,” was how Mike Montgomery described it at the time.
The 2003-04 Cardinal thrived in comeback mode. Nick Robinson’s buzzer-beating three-pointer forever remains a signature moment. Stanford also fell behind by 13 in the first half, before rallying at USC. The Card overcame a five-point deficit with 25 seconds left against at Washington State.
February 4, 1989: Stanford 84, Florida 69
In days of yore, an appearance on national television for a college basketball team marked a rare occurrence. Stanford earned a date on CBS for a Saturday afternoon tilt against the Gators, that year’s early favorite to capture an SEC title. The venue was the new Orlando Arena, where the expansion Magic would play their first game that coming fall.
Todd Lichti looked like an NBA-ready superstar, collecting 27 points as the No. 20 Cardinal had its way with the preseason-ranked Gators. The effort was an important game on Stanford's route to its first NCAA tournament berth since 1942. The team was eager to atone for earlier road losses at Arizona, North Carolina and Indiana.
Howard Wright added 17 points, all the while neutralizing the 7-foot-2 Dwayne Schnitzius and his embarrassing hairdo.
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