KZ Okpala scored a game-high 23 points, 11 coming in a game-breaking 22-2 run late in the first half, as Stanford improved to 2-0 with a 72-59 win over UNC Wilmington Friday night in Wilmington, N.C.
Cormac Ryan added 14, and Daejon Davis netted 10 points for the Cardinal, which trailed by eight points at one stage of the first half before overwhelming the Seahawks with their big spurt. Stanford scored 26 points off 20 turnovers.
Devontae Cacok and Jeantal Cylla each tallied 14 points to pace UNCW (0-2), while Jaylen Fornes was good for 13. The Seahawks couldn’t consistently hit shots in a rare home game with a Pac-12 opponent, connecting on just 35.2 percent from the field and only 3 of 19 3-point tries.
UNCW got off to a fast start. An 11-4 run, capped by Cacok’s putback with 11:23 left in the first half, gave the Seahawks a 19-11 advantage. The lead was still five following a Jacque Brown 3-pointer with nine minutes remaining.
Then the Cardinal went off. Davis’ 3-pointer and Okpala’s bucket in a 10-second stretch presaged the dam bursting. Okpala put them ahead for good with a 3-point play with 5:49 left, and things only snowballed from there.
Okpala’s steal led to a Davis layup with 45 seconds remaining, ending the lengthy spurt and giving Stanford a 15-point advantage. It led 39-25 at halftime.
UNCW fell behind 43-25 in the second half’s first minute following an Okpala dunk off a turnover, but steadily worked its way back into contention. Two free throws by Cylla with 9:14 left polished off a 14-4 run that pulled the Seahawks within 55-47.
UNCW still trailed by eight after a Ty Taylor 3-pointer with 6:23 remaining, but couldn’t get any closer. Okpala converted a transition layup with 4:26 left for a 65-52 lead, and the Cardinal coasted to the finish line.
Stanford sank 59.1 percent of its field-goal tries after halftime and outscored the Seahawks 38-20 in paint points.
—Field Level Media