Daejon Davis just completed his first quarter of college, finishing several lengthy projects and writing a multitude of essays.
And then he found out a good friend from Seattle, a young woman of 18, had died in a car accident.
Isaac White/Stanford Athletics
Davis went out and played 37 minutes, scored a season-best 20 points and recorded a season-high five steals to go with five rebounds and five assists and Stanford beat visiting Denver, 75-62, in a nonconference game Friday night.
"Daejon played a heck of a game," Stanford coach Jarod Haase said. "Especially from a leadership standpoint where he was getting us on the same page. For him to have that focus and to maintain composure was special."
Reid Travis also scored 20 points but finished with a season-low two rebounds. He was averaging 7.8 coming into play Friday.
"With the long stretch off, coach really held us accountable on everything," Davis said. "The level of focus on the little things helped us."
Isaac White had 17 points for the Cardinal (5-6), who have won two of three following a four-game losing streak.
"Being under .500 is not acceptable," White said. "That's not up to our standards. To make the NCAA tournament, you can't lose games."
Michael Humphrey added 11 points and nine rebounds for Stanford, which has won eight straight in the series with Denver.
"We got a win. That was the No. 1 thing," Stanford coach Jarod Haase said. "We were a bit more organized on the offensive end."
Stanford (5-6) looks to continue that success on Sunday, when it hosts USF at 3 p.m.
Denver coach Rodney Billups thought Davis made all the difference in the game.
"Davis got hot. We didn't anticipate him making so many shots," Billups said. "If you look at his season stats from behind the arc, we would have bet that he would not make so many tonight. But good players make plays."
Davis was 3-of-5 from 3-point land and 7-of-10 overall. Stanford was 13-of-32 from long range, its most since setting the school record of 15 against UCLA on Jan. 8, 2015.
The Pioneers drew within three at 56-53 midway through the second half. White hit a 3-pointer three minutes later and the Cardinal generally maintained a 10-point advantage throughout.
Stanford led by as many as 16 in the first half before the Pioneers rallied to close within 37-28 by halftime.
The Cardinal is one of two teams with an overall losing record in the Pac-12. Stanford has two games remaining before the conference season opens, including No. 13 Kansas on Thursday in Sacramento.
California (4-6) has three games remaining. The teams open conference play against each other on Dec. 30.
Stanford continues to play without starters Dorian Pickens and Marcus Sheffield, each out with a foot injury.
"At this point all I can say is they're making progress," Haase said. "But nothing eminent."