North Carolina Walks Easy, Rout Stanford 96-72

Photo credit: @StanfordMBB

By London Marq

PALO ALTO–It was a packed house in Palo Alto as the #9 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels came in into Maples Pavilion with the first sellout crowd since 2015. With a 3-1 record entering play, the Stanford Cardinal were looking to keep this one competitive with the 2-0 Tar Heels. The Tar Heels were in control from the tip and defeated the Cardinal 96-72 Monday night.

The first period was a blur of scoring. The Cardinal sprang out of the gate, garnering an 11-6 lead–just the start they were hoping for. The Tar Heels came back with a haymaker, going on a 24-to-4 scoring run. Kenny Williams of North Carolina was on fire, scoring his team’s first five baskets. Williams was 7-11 from the floor, including six made from downtown for the night. The short-staffed Cardinal wouldn’t bounce back after that and would go into halftime down by 14 (50-36).

In the second half, it was a sprint to the finish for the Tar Heels. Joel Berry would leave the court with 29 points for North Carolina. Reid Travis and Isaac White would do their best to defend home court with 21 and 20 points, respectively. The Cardinal will be looking to retrieve their injured players Marcus Sheffield and Dorian Pickens soon in order to remain competitive this season.

Cardinal coach Jerod Haase is now 1-3 against his former coach, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams. Haase played for Williams at Kansas and coached under him in North Carolina. Hopefully some of the winning spirit will go with Haase and company into their next matchup against #8 Florida this Thanksgiving Thursday.

Final: #9 North Carolina defeated Stanford 96-72.

Stanford holds off Cal to keep Pac-12 title hopes alive 17-14

November 18, 2017: Stanford Cardinal running back Cameron Scarlett (22) tries to escape Cal’s defense, during a NCAA Football game between the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal at the Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California. Valerie Shoaps/CSM (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

By Jeremy Harness

PALO ALTO – The Big Game has almost become an afterthought, with the Stanford Cardinal establishing itself as the clear dominant force in this annual rivalry game against the California Golden Bears, but it sure didn’t play out like it on Saturday.

Although it remained close for much of the game, Stanford avoided becoming a victim of the notorious “Pac-12 After Dark” trend, which has consistently featured big upsets and high drama during conference games after the sun had gone down, and held on for a 17-14 win over Cal at Stanford Stadium.

With the win, the Cardinal kept themselves in the running for the Pac-12 North title and the right to face USC, which has already claimed the Pac-12 South, in the conference’s title game on December 1.

Stanford has done all it can do at this point, and now they have to play the waiting game. The Cardinal will need Washington State–which, like Stanford, has two conference losses and owns the tiebreaker over the Cardinal by virtue of its head-to-head victory–to lose to Washington in the annual Apple Cup next Saturday to earn that berth.

In the process, Stanford got a real scare from Cal. The Golden Bears kept it close in the first half by limiting Heisman Trophy candidate Bryce Love to 17 rushing yards in the first half. Stanford, however, held a 10-6 halftime lead, thanks to K.J Costello’s 17-yard touchdown hookup with tight end Kaden Smith midway through the second quarter.

Love has been bothered by an ankle injury, which he re-injured in the fourth quarter and eventually gave way to Cameron Scarlett, who had several key runs to keep drives alive and allow the Cardinal to bleed out the clock down the stretch, as well as Trevor Speights.

However, there was a strong feeling that it was just a matter of time before he broke at least one long run to leave his imprint on the game, which he did midway through the third quarter. With some solid blocking from the offensive line that sealed the left edge for him, Love broke off left tackle and sprinted down the sideline untouched for a 57-yard touchdown that extended Stanford’s lead to 17-6.

Love finished the game with 101 rushing yards on 14 carries.

As it appeared that Stanford was starting to pull away, Cal used the legs of junior running back Patrick Laird to march right back down the field. Laird put the Golden Bears on the doorstep with a 39-yard run, and one play later, he punched it in from a yard out.

Laird had a big hand in giving Cal a realistic chance to win on Saturday, carrying the ball 20 times for 153 yards.

After quarterback Ross Bowers found the end zone on the ensuing two-point attempt, the Cardinal’s lead was trimmed to three.

As the Cardinal ventured into the red zone, they took a huge step back when guard Nick Wilson drew a 15-yard unsportmanlike penalty. That proved to be crucial, as Jet Toner missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt.

Cal then drove the ball in to Stanford territory when Bowers decided to take a shot at the end zone. His deep ball was underthrown and had a lot of air under it, allowing safety Ben Edwards to close the gap and pick the ball off, thwarting the Cal drive and set the stage for Stanford to play keep-away for the rest of the game.

The Cardinal host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday, November 25 at 5 pm on ABC.

Stanford stuns No. 9 Washington in 30-22 win

Photo credit: @StanfordFball

By: Ana Kieu

PALO ALTO, Calif. — The unranked Stanford Cardinal stunned the No. 9 Washington Huskies in a 30-22 win at Stanford Stadium on Friday night.

The 120th Big Game against the Cal Bears is next week, but the Cardinal’s game against the Huskies was also a pretty big deal. This unbalanced matchup was Stanford’s biggest regular-season Pac-12 game since the Cal game in 2015.

In case you haven’t already heard, a loss would eliminate the Cardinal from the Pac-12 North title race and put the Huskies in the driver’s seat as they look for a second straight conference title. So if Stanford pulls off a win, they’d have to beat Cal, and hope that Washington State has a third conference loss to Utah or Washington. Stanford will then hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over Washington.

This was the only Pac-12 game this evening, and the Huskies won the coin toss at the beginning of the contest. The opening drive stalled near midfield, Jake Bailey had a stunning boot, and Washington started their first drive at their own 12.

Besides the thoughts in the minds of Cardinal fans, it was almost expected that the Huskies would strike first—and they did. Myles Gaskin ran for a two-yard touchdown, and the PAT kick by Tristan Vizcaino was good. The Huskies took a late 7-0 lead with 6:16 left in the opening quarter.

The Huskies held onto the same 7-0 lead over the Cardinal at the end of the first quarter.

The Cardinal got even with the Huskies early in the second quarter. Bryce Love rushed for a one-yard touchdown, the PAT kick by J.J. Parson was good, and Stanford tied the game at seven apiece at the 14:55 mark.

But the Huskies didn’t waste any time in regaining the lead (14-7) as Myles scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, a 15-yarder, just 3:18 later.

The Cardinal pulled within four after Jet Toner kicked a 38-yard field goal with 1:32 left in the second quarter. Though, the Huskies continued to hold onto a 14-10 lead.

Joel Whitford punted 42 yards to the Stanford 25, a fair catch was made by Jay Tyler, and the Cardinal’s drive began on the Washington 42 with 46 seconds left.

The Huskies did what was expected and carried a 14-10 lead to the locker room at end of the first half against the Cardinal.

Both the Cardinal and Huskies were fired up for the second half of the game. Stanford’s defense forced a Washington three-and-out to start the second half. The Washington offense started at their own 35.

The Cardinal took their first lead of the night on Love’s second rushing touchdown of the game, a 13-yarder, to get ahead 17-14 with 9:15 left in the third quarter.

The Cardinal added to their existing lead on a 32-yard field goal by Toner, who gave Stanford a 20-14 lead with just one second left, and that was the score after three quarters.

Toner kicked another field goal, a 31-yarder, to expand the Cardinal’s lead to 23-14 at the 11:45 mark of the fourth quarter.

The Cardinal added to their lead on Love’s third rushing touchdown of the game, a nine-yarder, to make it 30-14 with 8:48 left in the quarter. The PAT kick by Toner was good.

The Huskies didn’t back down just yet. Gaskin scored his third rushing touchdown of the game on a one-yard rush. Washington decided to go for the two-point conversion, which turned out to be successful. However, the Cardinal continued to lead 30-22 with 4:22 left in regulation.

And, finally, the Cardinal (7-3) beat the Huskies (8-2) by a score of 30-22 at home.

Notes
Houston Astros manager, former MLB catcher, and Stanford alumni A.J. Hinch gave the Cardinal team a wonderful message before the game. Hinch said: “Every game is an elimination game. If you could have done more, then you didn’t do enough. Be accountable to yourself, and be accountable to your teammates.”

Tonight’s attendance at Stanford Stadium was 44,589.

Love notched his eighth 100-yard rushing game. He’s tied for most in the FBS.

Up Next
The Cardinal host the Cal Bears on Saturday, November 18.

The Huskies host the Utah Utes on Saturday, November 18.

Washington State edges Cardinal in the snow 24-21

Photo credit: @18dMedia

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Saturday, November 4, 2017

Washington State effectively bottled up the injured Bryce Love, then pushed across a go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, as the No. 25 Cougars stunned the visiting No. 18 Cardinal 24-21 Saturday in Pac-12 football at snowy Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.

With the victory, the Cougars (8-2 overall, 5-2 Pac-12) stayed in the Pac-12 North race. The Cardinal (6-3, 5-2) had not played in the snow since 1936, in a game against Columbia in New York.

The snow started falling heavily at the end of the first quarter.

The Cougars’ 94-yard winning drive was capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Luke Falk to Jamire Calvin with 6:56 remaining in the game.

Falk needed 132 passing yards to break the Pac-12 career record of 13,600 established by Sean Mannion of Oregon State. Falk was 34 of 48 passing for 337 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He needs three more touchdown passes to become the conference’s all-time leader in that category.

Cardinal quarterback K.J. Costello took advantage of a fortuitous bounce when he fumbled a snap. The ball bounced back into his hands, and Costello ran for a 14-yard touchdown pulling Stanford to within 17-14 in the third quarter.

On the Cougars’ next possession, Falk’s pass on fourth-and-one from midfield was intercepted by Bobby Okereke, who returned the pick 52 yards for a Stanford touchdown, giving the Cardinal a 21-17 lead.

After WSU regained the lead and chewed up three minutes of clock near the end of the fourth quarter, Frankie Lubu’s interception of a Costello pass ended the Cardinal’s final threat.

Love was held to 69 rushing yards, his lowest total of the season. Slowed by an ankle injury, Love came into the game as the nation’s leading rusher, averaging 198 yards per game.

After scoring on a 52-yard touchdown run on Stanford’s first play of the second quarter, Love ran 15 more times for 17 yards.

WSU outgained the Cardinal 430 yards to 198 in total offense.

Up Next
The Cardinal returns to The Farm this Friday night to host No. 12 Washington.

Cal Advances Into NIT Quarterfinals For First Time Since 2000 With 75-64 Win Over Arkansas

Photo Courtesy Cal Bears
Photo Courtesy Cal Bears

By Kahlil Najar

In a battle between a two and three seed, the California Golden Bears held off the feisty Arkansas Razorbacks 75 -64. Ca was led by Jabari Bird who scored 19 points and David Kravish who tossed in 13 points and snagged eight rebounds . Tyrone Wallace poure in 16 points and Senior Justin Cobbs scored 9 in his final game at Haas Pavilion. The Bears now face top-seeded SMU this Wednesday in Dallas.

The Razorbacks didn’t start strong today but came back late in the second half when they went on a 20-7 run but was ultimately stopped by the Bears. Arkansas’ Rashad Madden was the start of the night for the Razobacks as he has 15 points and five rebounds. Freshman phenom Bobby Portis started off by scoring the Razorback’s first eight points and ended with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Cal started off fast thanks to Cobbs who was controlling the tempo early and had half of Cal’s points five minutes in the game. The Razorbacks made it tight when the brought the lead down to five but then the Bears went on a 16-0 run and were up 31-8 with under five minutes left in the first half.

In the second half, the Bears were ahead by 21 points with 15 minutes left to play but then the Razorbacks got their own hot streak when they went on a 20-7 run and brought the lead all way down to eight but Cal’s  Wallace was able to make four free throws and Cobbs got a well timed basket and gave the Bears their first visit to the NIT quarterfinals in 14 years.

 

TEAM NOTES

· With tonight’s 75-64 victory over Arkansas, the Bears have reached the NIT quarterfinals for the fourth time in school history. Cal is now 14-6 all-time in the NIT.

· Cal’s 15-point halftime lead tonight was its largest at the break since it led Furman 43-25 at halftime on Dec. 28

· The Bears shot .55.3 percent from the field, their highest clip since Jan. 18 against Washington State.

PLAYER NOTES

Senior Guard Justin Cobbs

· With six assists, moved into a tie with Jerome Randle for second place on Cal’s all-time list with 524 in his career

· With nine points Monday, now has 1,451 in his career. Cobbs is in 11th place on Cal’s all-time scoring list

Freshman Guard Jabari Bird

· Scored 19 points, the second-highest total of his career and most since scoring a career-high 24 vs. Oakland on Nov. 15

· Set a career-high with eight rebounds

Junior forward David Kravish

· With three blocks, now has 72 blocks this season, building on his own single-season record For his career, Kravish has 176 blocks, which ranks second in school annals.

Freshman guard Sam Singer

· Dished out a career-high five assists

 

Stanford Snaps Losing Skid in Dramatic Fashion Over Utah, Ends Pac-12 Play on High Note

DSC_0004By Matthew Harrington

STANFORD, Calif. – With the overflowing talent on display on a nightly basis in the Pac-12, it’s only fitting that it took Stanford literally until the last tenths of a second of conference play to better understand its Pac-12 tournament placement. While the conference tourney picture got a little clearer, it’s still about as blurry as a Monet masterpiece from ten feet out. As for the Cardinal odds for making its first NCAA tournament appearance under coach Johnny Dawkins in six seasons, those are as crystal clear as the scrambled channels on the higher ends of your TV guide.

With a 61-60 win over visiting Utah (20-10, 9-9 Pac-12) Saturday afternoon at Maples Pavilion, the Stanford Cardinal broke a tie in the standings with their guests in a game with must-win implications. Also entering play with an identical 9-8 conference record were Oregon and Cal, a four-way tie for fifth in the Pac-12 standings. With Arizona State and Colorado boasting 10-7 entering Saturday, the Cardinal (19-11, 10-8 Pac-12) could secure a first-round bye in Las Vegas if Colorado, Oregon and Oregon State come away with wins in their regular-season finales. They could finish as high as tied for third, or as low as fifth depending on the rest of the weekend’s action.

“I know it’s important to finish at over .500 in conference,” said Dawkins after the game. “We’re in one of the best conferences in America. To finish over .500 should give you an opportunity to see what happens. That’s out of our hands. We just need to keep winning games.”

Stanford opened the morning with a heartfelt pregame ceremony honoring the senior stalwarts, players like all-time Cardinal blocks leader Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell, but after 40 minutes of basketball it was a junior, Chasson Randle, being lauded for his play while weathering the maelstrom of emotion.

“It’s a little emotional because of what the game meant and also because it’s Senior Day,” said Dawkins. “There’s a lot of family here. Senior Day is always interesting because of all the emotion. Our guys remained focus, stepped up and helped, the Chasson Randles, the Marcus Allens. I thought those guys really stepped up and helped the seniors.”

After an eye-popping 24-point night Wednesday in a loss to Colorado, Randle dropped 22 points over 39 minutes of play against the Utes, snapping Stanford’s season-high three-game losing streak to wrap up the last home game of the regular season.

“Chasson’s played terrific for us,” said Dawkins. “He’s doing everything for us. He scores. He makes guys better on our team based on how he goes out there and approaches it. I love coaching him. I’m proud of him because of the bounce back he had from last year. It says a lot about him, about his character, about who he is.

NBA draft hopeful Dwight Powell found himself in foul trouble for the second-straight game in a row, playing only 26 minutes Saturday after the forward saw action in only 24 Wednesday. He managed seven points on 3-of-8 shooting to accompany five rebounds. Stefan Nastic owned the paint in his absence, going 6-for-6 from the field to finish with 14 points. Guard Brandon Taylor led the Runnin’ Utes charge with 14 points, while fellow guard Delon Wright and center Dallin Bachynski notched 12 and 10 respectively.

Despite hitting over 55.6 percent of shots in the first half, Utah found itself trailing the Cardinal 33-25. Stanford made 14 shots on 31 attempts, only four fewer makes than Utah’s 18 attempts in the first. The Cardinal never trailed over the first 20 minutes of play, scoring on a Powell jumper 34 seconds in to take the 2-0 lead. Stanford outscored the Utes 27-16 over the first 14-plus minutes of play for the largest lead of the afternoon, but Utah finished the half with a 9-6 run to head into intermission trailing 33-25.

The Utes opened the second half with back-to-back field goals, including a Jordan Loveridge three, to cut the Cardinal lead to 33-30 just 1:05 in. It would be over ten minutes before either side made consecutive attempts from the floor after going nearly shot-for-shot when Nastic and Randle finally dropped consecutive jumpers to bolster Stanford’s edge 52-43. Nastic then took a Randle feed to the rim for a 11-point gap with 7:51 left in regulation.

“It was frustrating,” said Nastic. “We knew we had to come out with a higher energy level but for whatever reason, there were plays were weren’t making that the other team was making. It was very frustrating but we’ve been through a lot this season sticking together. We really tried to seize the opportunity at hand.”

Persistent Utah refused to yield with Wright and Taylor hitting shots from beyond the arc then Jeremy Olsen laid one up to cut the deficit to three points for the second time in the half. Randle made a pair from the stripe after Bachynski fouled the guard, but Olsen hit a jumper with 4:34 left in the half to make it 56-53. Nastic would hit one of two shots after Olsen fouled him on the floor with Stanford in the Bonus but Taylor ’s shot from downtown at the other end put Utah within one, the closest Utah disadvantage up to that point. Bachynski then hammered home the Utes first lead of the day, 58-56, with a heavy dunk after an offensive board 2:40 from a win.

Huestis responded at the other end with a three to put the Cardinal up by two with 180 seconds remaining before Bachynski hit a pair of free throws to knot the game at 60 just 55 seconds from the final buzzer. Powell drew a foul with 36 seconds remaining and hit one of two freebies, the eventual game-winner, for a 61-60 edge. In total, Stanford hit only four of ten free throws over the closing five minutes.

“Utah is a very good basketball team,” said Dawkins. “They’ve been on the road, they’ve won six out of their last eight games. We knew it was going to be a tough game, we knew it was going to come down to the wire. Defensively, we got the stops that we needed. It offset some of the free throws we missed. Our guys didn’t hang their heads.”

With the shot and game clock down to one second, Brandon Taylor turned the ball over on a traveling call, seemingly icing the game for Stanford. Powell couldn’t find a way to inbound the ball, turning it over with .8 seconds of play, breathing new life into the Utes comeback bid. They would fail to get the ball back in play for a desperation heave, firing the inbound pass into two Stanford players’ grasp as time expired.

Dawkins predicted this game would be close, but even he had no clue how slim the margin of victory would be when he gathered his team at center court Friday to address some of his players for the last time on Stanford’s home floor.

“We stood at center court yesterday with the seniors,” said Dawkins. “I said ‘You know what, the game is about finding a way, finding a way to win, whatever it takes. All through your lives, you guys have worked hard. You worked hard to get into Stanford academically. You worked hard to play at this level in the Pac-12. It feels good because you were able to do something hard. The things you appreciate most as a player, as a coach, as a human being are the things where you had to fight and to struggle to make something work.’ It’s only fitting to win that way tonight.”

For now, Stanford will be scoreboard-watching as it waits to see who will try their luck against in the Cardinal in Las Vegas this Wednesday, or potentially Thursday if the cards fall just right for a first-round Stanford bye. With eyes on an uncertain bid for March Madness, Dawkins’ squad will look to leave the desert the big winners in the bracketology jackpot. Count Coach among the rare few not looking at the big board with bated breath.

Quipped Dawkins, “I may be the only person in the world, but I promise you, I’m not paying attention to it”.

Stanford Can’t Rebuff Buffaloes, Fails to Seperate from Herd in Pac-12 Standings

DSC_0018 By Matthew Harrington

STANFORD, Calif. – That beeping sound you hear on Campus Drive isn’t the sign of construction and work trucks on Leland Stanford’s old stomping grounds; it’s the sound of the Stanford Cardinal backing into the Pac-12 and, possibly, NCAA tournament.

With a disappointing 59-56 loss to Colorado Wednesday night at Maples Pavilion on a missed game-tying shot at the buzzer, the Cardinal (18-11, 9-8 Pac-12) has now dropped three-straight games for the first time this season. The slump comes at an inopportune time as the season draws to its close and the selection committee reviews Stanford’s tournament credentials as a bubble team with an eagle-eye.

A tournament berth of in the air, Stanford entered play looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak all season after losses to Arizona State and Arizona last week. They ultimately couldn’t right the ship against Colorado (21-9, 10-7), finding themselves in foul trouble throughout Wednesday’s contest. Chasson Randle and Stefan Nastic finished the night with four infractions, while Dwight Powell finished the game watching from the bench with five personal fouls. Colorado made 17 free throws on 25 attempts, the same number of makes as Stanford had attempts.

“That’s very frustrating,” said Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins. “They shot more free throws than we did. We’re a team that usually gets to the line quite a bit. Unfortunately we didn’t get to the line as much tonight. They converted on a number of them. They made 17, we shot 17. That’s difficult in a three-point ballgame.”

Randle, despite the foul concerns, continued his strong down the stretch by sinking 9 from the field on 18 attempts, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc for a game-high 24 points over 34 minutes. Josh Huestis came a point away from a double-double after pulling down a Stanford-leading 13 rebounds, two more than Josh Scott, Colorado’s top rebounder on the night. Scott also lead the Buffaloes with 17 points. Colorado won the battle of the boards 39 to 31.

“We’ve been out-rebounded the last couple games,” said Dawkins. “With our size and our front line that’s very disappointing. We challenge our guys. We have to do a much better job of rebounding the basketball.”

The two teams traded baskets and blows like prize fighters throughout the first, with neither side snatching a two-possession lead until Colorado’s Ben Mills hit a layup with 5:34 left in the half for a 22-17 edge. Stanford cut the lead to one with baskets from Powell and Randle but the Buffs outscored Stanford 11-7 over the final five minutes before the intermission.

“We were getting open looks,” reflected a dejected Randle on the Cardinal first-half. “We just needed someone to knock them down.”
The Stanford struggles in the first stemmed from poor shooting, as the Cardinal converted only 31 percent of its shots, including 1-for-9 from three-point range. Despite the shooting woes and Powell finding himself on the bench late in the period nursing three fouls, Stanford found itself fortunate to only be facing a five-point deficit at the half thanks to stout defensive work forcing seven Colorado turnovers.

On the poor shooting, Dawkins pointed at the defense first. “Overall, our defense needs to make sure if we’re not making shots, we need to make sure the other team’s not making them either.”

The Cardinal came back strong in the second half, holding the visitors to only 13 points while grabbing 17 of  its own over the first 11-plus minutes to cut it to a 46-45 Colorado advantage.

“Guys stepped it up in the second half defensively,” said Randle. “We did a really good job of bringing our effort and intensity, especially that second group that came in. We need more of that.”

The comeback was completed after a thunderous Stefan Nastic block on Xavier Johnson led to a Huestis bid for the lead at the other end. Huestis missed the shot, but Johnson fouled the forward on the attempt. Huestis hit one of two from the line to pull Stanford even 46-46 with 7:49 to go in the game. Johnson, who finished with 14 points, restored the Buffaloes lead on a jumper from the top of the key.

Red-hot Randle handed the home team its first lead of the half, 49-48, connecting on a trey, 3 of his 17 second-half points, with 4:50 remaining.

“We need more guys stepping up,” said Dawkins. “Chasson, offensively, has really stepped up and done what he has to do. We need more guys. It can’t just be one guy playing offensively. Our offense is built around a balanced attack so we need guys to step up and make plays.”

Colorado regained the lead and created some breathing room on three consecutive field goals, punctuated by a Xavier Talton trey to make it 55-51 with 130 ticks left on the game clock. Dwight Powell was then forced to the bench with his fifth foul on am offensive violation with just over two minutes to play. Powell watched as Randle pulled Stanford within two, his jumper finding the basket despite contact from Talton. Randle would convert the and-one play to make it a 55-54 Buffs lead with 1:12 left in the period. The Cardinal stifled Colorado with a shot clock violation with 45 seconds remaining but failed to take advantage. Colorado them hit four of six from the charity stripe down the stretch, setting up a Stanford a tying bid at 59 points aside. Randle’s three-pointer, potentially tipped on the way to the basket, fell just short of the rim as time expired.

The loss muddies up both the Pac-12 play-off picture and Stanford’s standing as a Big Dance bubble team (the Cardinal entered play in the no. 42 slot in RPI, a criteria used to determine the NCAA tournament field), what could be Stanford’s first appearance in six seasons under Dawkins. Of more concern on the Farm is where Stanford stands in the Pac-12 rankings. Stanford and Colorado entered play with identical 9-7 conference records, tied with Cal for fourth in the standings and a chance for a first-round conference tournament bye. Cal takes on Utah at home Wednesday night.

“I don’t keep up with that stuff at all,” said Dawkins when asked if he thought the loss hurt his team’s tournament standing. “We’re in a great conference. It’s so thick in our conference with competitive teams. Who knows what’s going to happen.”

Stanford continues its unusual stretch of facing unfamiliar conference foes late in conference play when Utah comes to Maples Saturday afternoon for an 11:30 am tip. The Cardinal will look to wrap up Pac-12 by avoiding a four-game losing skid on Senior Day before heading to Sin City for the conference tournament.

“That loss was very disappointing, coming home and having the crowd here,” said Randle. “It’s disappointing having a chance to get a first round bye. We have the opportunity Saturday, and we’re looking forward to that.”

Huestis King of the Block on the Farm as Stanford Rolls Past USC 80-59

By Matthew Harrington

At the time of the year when teams are piecing together the final bullet points of their March Madness resumes, the Stanford Cardinal did exactly what it needed to do Thursday night; It won. The 80-59 victory over visiting University of Southern California at Maples Pavilion didn’t captivate audiences like North Carolina’s stunner over Duke earlier in the evening, but Stanford still managed to finish just good enough to come out ahead against the Trojans (10-16, 1-12), firmly entrenched in the Pac-12 standings cellar, to continue to roll towards an at-large bid in the big dance.

The Cardinal shooting touch appeared to be more or a flail Thursday, as Stanford (17-8, 8-5 Pac-12) finished 28 of 69 from the floor, including a lackluster 2 of 19 from beyond the three-point line. Stanford turned that negative into a positive however, besting USC in the rebound battle 45-40. Stanford’s tenacious forward Josh Huestis led the boards barrage, picking up almost half (7) of the Cardinal’s 18 offensive rebounds. USC finished with 10 off their own glass. The Cardinal owned the turnover battle, forcing 18 Trojan errors to 7 of its own.

For Huestis, the night proved a memorable one as the senior stalwart notched a double-double with 11 points and while setting a new career-best in rebounds with 18. With his denial of a Strahinja Gavrilovic lay up two minutes into play the Great Falls, Mont. native moved past Tim Young as the Cardinal all-time blocks leader. Huestis finished the night with three rejections for a career total of 169, two more than Young.

Along with Huestis, three of Stanford’s other four starters hit double-digits in scoring, with guards Anthony Brown (13) and Chasson Randle (18) joining forward Dwight Powell (14) on the list of scorers with ten-plus points. USC guard Pe’Shon Howard led the Trojans with 13 points, while Julian Jacobs chipped in 11. The Trojans were without junior guard Byron Wesley, team leader in scoring (17.6) and rebounds (6.9) due to a violation of team rules.

The Cardinal suffered an early scare when USC’s Strahinja Gavrilovic fouled Powell hard in the head at the 5:36 mark of the first. Powell would leave the game but ultimately returned with about seven minutes left in the half sporting a headband wrapped around some stitches and a new number. Powell’s traditional 33 jersey, now blood-soaked, was shed in favor of one with a 32 stitched on back.

The preeminent fear after Powell’s injury was a continuation of dismal first-half shooting display as the Cardinal only hit 10 of 35 field goals in the first 20 minutes. They managed to hold a 32-23 at the half on the strength of their ability to force turnovers, nab offensive rebounds and a six-point outburst from Powell’s injury sub, Robbie Lemons.

The Cardinal finished the final 20 minutes with a much better shooting performance by outscoring the visitors 48-36, including a stretch where the Trojans were limited to one basket and three free throws made. With Stanford leading 51-42 7 minutes in to the half, the Cardinal went on a dominant 21-8 run till Roschon Prince hit a lay up with 4:17 left in regulation. Stanford coasted from there on out for the 80-59 win to sweep the season series against their Southern California rivals.

Next on the schedule is the University of California Los Angeles for a Saturday tilt at Maples, game number two of the remaining four games at home. The Cardinal also have two road games sandwiched between Saturday’s contest and a return home March 5th against Colorado, the final two-game home stretch of the campaign.

Stanford Scares Arizona, But Cardinal Upset Bid Falls A Basket Shy

By Matthew Harrington

The Stanford Cardinal nearly achieved what 20 other teams could not this season, taking undefeated Arizona (21-0, 8-0 Pac-12) to the brink Wednesday night at Maples Pavilion before ultimately falling 60-57 to the top-ranked team in the nation. The Cardinal (13-7, 4-4) held a one-point lead over itsPac-12 rivals at the half and had as much as a seven-point cushion over the visitors, but only two Stanford field goals in the final 10 minutes foiled the Cardinal upset bid.

National Player of the Year candidate Nick Johnson of Arizona was held in check by the Stanford defense to 16 points. The Cardinal also stymied another Wildcat on the mid-season 25 Players to Watch list, former Archbishop Mitty High School stand-out Aaron Gordon, to a scant five points. Stanford forwards Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell had 13 points each to lead the home side, while guard Chasson Randle pitched in with 12. The Cardinal finished with a 37.5 shooting percentage to the Cats 36, but Arizona’s six three-pointers to Stanford’s three proved a difference maker. Johnny Dawkins’ squad out-rebounded the top squad in the country 38-36.

Stanford dominated the early going, limiting the Wildcats to a lone field goal in the opening seven-plus minutes en route to a 9-4 lead before the visitors went on an 11-5 run to take their first lead of the night 15-14 with 9:45 left in the half. The two teams traded blows down the home stretch of the first twenty minutes with the lead changing hands three more times before a Randle jumper with two seconds remaining flipped the lead to Stanford 31-30 for the final time in the half.

Stanford picked up where it left off on the other side of the intermission, outpacing Arizona 18-12 capped by a Dwight Powell layup nearly seven minutes in to give Stanford its biggest lead of the night 49-42. The Cardinal couldn’t finish off the Cats who closed out the game on an 18-9 surge for the conference play victory, avoiding a defeat at the hands of Stanford for the second time since 2003 when entering play as the no. 1 team in the polls.

Stanford will continue its home stand, facing off against Arizona State Saturday before traveling to Berkeley to open up the second half of the Pac-12 schedule next Wednesday. The Cardinal lost to Cal 69-62 January 2nd on the Farm to open conference play.

Beavers, Moreland too much for Cardinal

By Daniel Dullum

The first stop on Stanford’s Pac-12 men’s basketball road swing through the State was a rough one Thursday, as the Cardinal were upended 81-72 by Oregon State at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

Eric Moreland led the Beavers (9-6 overall, 1-2 Pac-12) with 17 points and 15 rebounds, with Roberto Nelson adding 21 points. Halice Cooke, making his first start for OSU, netted 16 points.

For Moreland, it was his third game back after serving a 12-game suspension for violation of team rules.

Chasson Randle scored a game-high 30 points to lead Stanford (9-5, 0-2 Pac-12), with Dwight Powell adding 13 points and 10 boards.

The lead see-sawed early, but after the Cardinal took a 13-12 lead, Angus Brandt’s dunk off a rebound sparked a 10-0 OSU run that put the Beavers up 27-18.

Oregon State built a 10-point lead in the second half, but the Cardinal closed to within two points three times, the last time at 2:59 on a layup by Randle, who was also fouled. Randle converted the free throw and pulled Stanford to within 68-66.

Cooke drained a 3-pointer on the next possession for OSU, and the Beavers cruised home.

Both teams were looking for their first conference win of the season. Oregon State opened Pac-12 play with losses at Colorado and Utah, while Stanford lost to California last Thursday.

The win snapped a four-game Beavers losing streak against Stanford, which had won seven of its last 10 games overall against Oregon State.

On Sunday, the Cardinal travel to Oregon for a 2 p.m. tipoff against the Ducks.