Stanford, Harvard bring brands, basketball to Chinese universities
SHANGHAI – Two of the world’s most renowned academic institutions put their basketball brands on display for a pair of friendlies at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Sports Arena on Wednesday in preparation for Saturday’s Pac-12 China Game.
Greeted by several hundred fans, mostly college-aged peers, and a large banner that read “sports build the bridge of friendship between Chinese and American college students, it is a delight to have friends coming from afar,” Stanford University defeated Beijing’s Tsinghua University, 98-56, and Harvard University beat host SJTU, 84-64.
Victories, while welcome, weren’t the only goals for the Cardinal and Crimson basketball programs on Wednesday. Similar to exhibitions against NCAA opponents back in the states, the friendlies offered both teams a chance to gauge their preseason progress.
These friendlies also presented an opportunity for the institutions ranked first and second according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities – or Shanghai Ranking – to showcase their brands in China and to further demonstrate to the country that achieving success both in competition and the classroom are not mutually exclusive.
“It’s been a great experience so far, and it is neat to be able to come over here and represent our brand, try and take the Pac-12 global, as well as the Stanford brand,” said first-year Cardinal head coach Jerod Haase.
“Our university gave us an opportunity to come all the way to China – to Shanghai – to play basketball. It’s incredible,” added Stanford junior wing Dorian Pickens. “We want to make the most of the opportunity, and we had a great time at Alibaba. Our ultimate goal was to come here and play great basketball and I think we were able to do some of that today.”
“The game of basketball is definitely different each region of the world: it was eye opening for us to go against them. It was a great experience,” said junior forward Reid Travis.
In the first game, Travis (20 points, 9-10 FGs) and Pickens (18 points, 7-10 FGs) combined for 38 points on 16-of-20 field goals to lead Stanford to 63 percent shooting and a 42-point triumph.
“I thought there were a lot of positives,” said Haase of his team’s play in his sideline debut. “I thought we shared the basketball really well – 29 assists against nine turnovers – which is a positive and that’s how we want to play. We were undisciplined at times, but overall I think there were more positives than negatives.”
In the night cap, senior guard Siyani Chambers dished out 13 assists, including several for awe-eliciting slams by senior forward Zena Edosomwan, as Harvard outscored SJTU, 66-50, over the final three quarters of the FIBA-rules governed game en route to the 20-point victory.
With basketball action now under both teams’ belts, including the first live game action for Travis since last December after a leg injury cut his 2015-16 season short, attentions are now turning toward Saturday’s showdown.
“We’re definitely going to have to pound the boards more when we play Harvard on Saturday,” summed Travis. “Definitely going to have to get the ball inside more. Our shots were falling, but we know that they’re going to contest a little harder. Just staying disciplined is the biggest thing we have to do for Saturday.”
About Pac-12 Global:
Founded in 2011, Pac-12 Global is an unprecedented effort to proactively promote the Conference and its member institutions globally through student-athlete exchanges and sport. The Initiative uses the shared passion of athletics to support the ambitious international strategies that many of our universities have embarked on to extend their reach around the world. For more information on the initiative and its history, go to www.pac-12.com/global.