Dorian Pickens scored 25 points, including a career-high seven 3-pointers, Reid Travis had 20 points and 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season, and Stanford held off Idaho 86-80 on Thursday night.
The Cardinal (8-4) trailed 50-39 early in the second half when Pickens hit a shot from beyond the arc to spark the home team.
His 3-pointer with 7:24 left gave Stanford a 64-62 lead and triggered what appeared to be a decisive 12-2 run. Idaho (5-6) fought back within 76-75 on the strength of consecutive 3-pointers by Tyler Brimhall and Victor Sanders but got no closer.
Pickens, who equaled his career scoring high, was coming off a four-game slump in which he averaged just 6.0 points and shot just 3-for-10 from deep. He finished 7-for-10 against Idaho.
Stanford point guard Robert Cartwright, starting his first game of the season, scored a career-best 13 points.
Idaho shot 60 percent in the first half before cooling to 39 percent over the final 20 minutes. Sanders scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half, Brayon Blake added 14 and Brimhall had 13.
Idaho: The Vandals will be one of the better defensive teams in the Big Sky, but scoring has been an issue for a team that three times failed to reach 50 points. Idaho entered play Thursday ranked 258th nationally in 3-point accuracy, but made 7 of its first 8 tries from beyond the arc on the way to a 13-for-27 effort.
Stanford: The Cardinal continues to be a work in progress under first-year coach Jerod Haase, who made two changes to the starting lineup against Idaho. The Cardinal challenged themselves with nonconference games against Miami, Saint Mary’s, Kansas and SMU, but lost all four. A neutral-site win over Seton Hall is their best performance, so it’s hard to gauge whether Stanford can be much better than its projected 10th-place finish in the Pac-12.
Idaho: The Vandals face Eastern Washington at home on Dec. 30 to open play in the Big Sky Conference, where they were picked by the league’s coaches to finish second. Eastern Washington is 8-5 after three consecutive road defeats, including 76-68 at Colorado on Thursday night.
Stanford: The Cardinal face Arizona State in their Pac-12 Conference opener on Dec. 30 at Maples Pavilion. The Sun Devils, who lost to three Top 25 opponents over the past month, improved to 7-6 on Thursday with a 98-62 victory over Central Arkansas.