STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford junior Oscar da Silva claimed it was an easy adjustment and the Cardinal made it look easy, recovering from a poor first half to win going away.
da Silva scored 21 points and Stanford beat Montana 73-62 in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday night. The Cardinal were up 30-28 at halftime.
"We started sloppy," said the junior forward, who also grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot. "We had a good game plan and found our rhythm. We played together and got back to what we came here to do."
Freshman Tyrell Terry added 13 points for the Cardinal, who improved to 87-14 all-time in season openers. Bryce Wills scored 11.
"There were nerves, but I started breathing again and felt a lot more comfortable in the second half," Terry said. "We picked up our pressure on defense."
Senior Sayeed Pridgett scored 17 points to lead the Grizzlies, who have lost their last 11 games to Pac-12 teams. Freshmen Derrick Carter-Hollinger added 15 points and Josh Vasquez had 11.
"We're young, it's not going to be easy, we're playing a tough schedule," Montana coach Travis DeCuire said. "We just want our guys to come out and be better each night and stick together to play better together."
Montana took its only lead of the second half at 36-35 on a Carter-Hollinger free throw.
Stanford went on a 25-2 run over the next eight minutes to take control of the game. The Grizzlies went nearly six minutes without scoring during that span.
"Sometimes when things get hard, you want to do things your way, and that's not going to work," DeCuire said. "We just have to play as a unit on both sides of the ball, and we'll be fine."
Vasquez hit a 3-pointer to give Montana 25-19 lead with 5:19 left in the first half. Stanford went on an 11-3 run the rest of the way to take a 30-28 advantage into halftime.
There were six lead changes and the game was tied on six other occasions in the first half.
Montana: The defending Big Sky champion Grizzlies will also be looking for others to complement seniors Pridgett and Kendal Manuel. Freshmen Vasquez and Kyle Owens were in the Grizzlies starting lineup with mixed results.
Stanford: With one senior on the roster, the Cardinal will be looking for rapid development from younger players. Terry and Spencer Jones appear to be the two freshmen who will get the first opportunity. Terry started along with two juniors and two sophomores. Jones came off the bench and hit 3 of 4 3-pointers. "Tyrell showed some nerves but he played a great second half," Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. "Spencer knocked down some big 3's. I think all the freshmen will contribute."
CLOSE TO HOME
Montana has four players from Northern California: Pridgett, Timmy Falls, Naseem Gaskin and Michael Steadman. That almost matches the close ties the coaching staff has to the area. DeCuire was an assistant at California. Associate Chris Cobb played high school ball in Oakland, college ball in nearby Atherton and coached at Chico State and San Francisco State. Assistant Jay Flores played at Chico State and coached at Cal State East Bay. Assistant Zach Payne grew up in Danville and played for De La Salle High.
Montana returns to Missoula to host MSU Northern in its home opener on Sunday.
Stanford stays at home to play Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night as part of a season-opening six-game homestand.
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