The Stanford Cardinal, coming off an impressive 81-60 win over the University of Virginia, looked to finish off their homestand with a perfect record after facing the road-tested University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions. After a sluggish first half, Stanford started the second half on a 24-3 run and continued to pile up the points in a 92-49 win at Maples Pavilion on Sunday night. Stanford moves to 3-0, UAPB drops to 0-4 on the season.
Stanford started off nicely with a layup inside by Josh Owens, but Arkansas-Pine Bluff worked it inside twice to Daniel Broughton for easy layins and a 4-2 lead. The home team was able to seize momentum back with shots from Powell and Owens, including two from the former, to give the Cardinal a 9-4 lead and two shots coming from the line ahead of the first media timeout. Jeremy Green nailed his freebies to extend the lead to 11-4 before consecutive three-pointers rained down from 5-10 guard Allen Smith to cut the lead down to one with just over 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Jarrett Mann hit one of two free throws on the next possession, but Smith drained one deep from the left corner to give the Golden Lions a 13-12 advantage. Both teams would trade baskets until the next media break with an Aaron Bright long ball giving Stanford back a 17-15 lead.
Freshman Stefan Nastic ended a two-minute drought for both squads with a nice hook inside and a Green three-pointer following an offensive rebound by Andrew Zimmerman gave Stanford a 23-15 edge before another Smith three-pointer stopped the bleeding for Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Dwight Powell further extended the lead with a reverse layup after gathering a tough pass from Green on the fast break. However, Smith would continue his hot hand for the Golden Lions, making back-to-back threes to cut the lead down to one, 25-24, with six minutes remaining in the first half. With the Arkansas-Pine Bluff zone giving Stanford trouble offensively, Gavin Montgomery then felt the fuego as he launched and made a three-pointer of his own from the right wing to put UAPB back up 27-25.
Jack Trotter canned two freebies to knot the score up at 27, then Stanford went on a 5-1 sprint courtesy of a Green trifecta after Stanford broke the 1-2-2 full court pressure and a dunk off a fast break by Trotter. The two-hand jam prompted head coach George Ivory to call a timeout as the Cardinal crowd roared their approval. More herky-jerky play from both squads commenced before a Green jumper stopped the scoreless play and brought the lead to a half-dozen, 34-28. The rest of the opening 20 minutes was "highlighted" by three offensive fouls, four turnovers, and one made free throw by Green as the Cardinal headed into the locker room up seven, 35-28
Stanford shot just 40% for the half, including 30% from the three-point line, but did make 8-12 (67%) from the charity stripe. Arkansas-Pine Bluff hit 36% of their field goals, but 50% (7-14) beyond the arc, and made one of their two free throws. The Cardinal outrebounded the Golden Lions 23-14, pitching a shutout on the offensive glass, 7-0. Stanford tallied four assists and nine turnovers, while UAPB countered with eight assists and 10 turnovers.
The Cardinal were led by Green's 11 on 3-8 shooting, with Owens and Powell scoring six to follow the junior guard. Owens led Stanford with five rebounds. The Golden Lions were led by Smith's 18 on 6-of-12 shots from the field, missing his only shot inside the three-point line. Broughton was next in line with seven.
Stanford started the second half well enough with two Owens free throws and a long ball from Green to push the lead to 12, but Smith hit another three from the right wing to cut the lead to single digits. However, Josh Huestis was all net from the left corner to put Stanford back up an even dozen three minutes in and Green went all the way to the hoop for an easy two before the first media break of the final 20 minutes. The Cardinal came out of the timeout smoking hot as Green drained one from the left corner and Owens stole the ball at half-court and threw down a monster, one-hand jam to propel the lead to 19 and caused UAPB to use a timeout.
A Zimmerman offensive rebound and put-back, followed by two free throws from Green and another long ball, this time from Anthony Brown, bubbled Stanford's lead to 26 just seven minutes into the second stanza. A technical foul on Coach Ivory after the fifth foul of the game on Broughton gave Zimmerman two free throw makes and capped an impressive 24-3 run to start the second half. A Montgomery layin after a nice pass from Smith finally stopped the run as the teams headed to the benches after the second media timeout of the half.
After the break, Nastic worked his way inside for a two-hand jam and Brown made two free throws to put Stanford up 29 with 10:11 remaining in the game. John Gage then made his presence known with a wide open, top-of-the-key three, but Owens took that spotlight right back with a baseline slam dunk over Dominic Moore to give the Cardinal a 70-39 lead with 8:24 to go in the game.
After the media break, both teams slowed down things on the offensive end with neither team making many shots until the good guys put up back-to-back highlights with Powell grabbing a rebound and going coast-to-coast for an easy deuce, then Bright getting a feed from Powell for another layin after a turnover. Owens then made a hook inside and Bright got another easy two to put Stanford up an even 40, 81-41, with 4:34 to go in the game. With the only thing left in doubt being the final margin, the Golden Lions tried in vain to make the game more respectable, but the Cardinal would have none of that as UAPB could get no closer than three dozen before the game mercifully ended for the visitors.
For the contest, Stanford shot 49% from the field, 42% (8-19) outside the three-point line, and 67% (26-39) at the charity stripe. Arkansas-Pine Bluff finished the game shooting 31% from the field, 38% (9-24) beyond the arc, and 50% (4-8) at the free throw line. The Cardinal outrebounded the Golden Lions 49-28, 14-7 on the offensive glass. Stanford completed the action with 12 assists and 16 turnovers, while UAPB finished with 12 assists and 24 turnovers.
Green led four players in double figures, finishing the contest with 21 points on 6-13 shooting. Owens nearly had a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, Powell scored 12, and Bright scored 10 off the bench. Brown had a nice line of eight points and seven rebounds in just 11 minutes of play for the victors. Smith led the Golden Lions with 23 points on 8-20 shooting (7-16 from outside the arc), but had just five in the second half. Montgomery was next in line for the visitors with 14.
After the game, head coach Johnny Dawkins said he was impressed by the Golden Lions in the first half as "they really made their shots," but that his team did a "better job of defending the three-point line" in the second half as UAPB scored 21 of its first 28 points from outside of the arc. Powell joined him in the post-game press conference and was asked about his play through the first three games of his career at Stanford. He responded that after these games, he has a "new list of things to work on," while his coach believes he is "still work in progress" and needs to "keep on working on some of his skill development" despite the promising beginning his career has had in this reporter's eyes.
Coach Ivory, who has a team opening the season with a 12-game road trip that doesn't see them play at home until after the New Year, was asked about their journey. He responded by saying "We got a young team. We want to give some guys some playing experience. We wanted to get them into some environments where they can learn. You can talk about good teams all you want to, but until you get out there and experience it, they don't realize what they have to work on. It's a great experience to see what college basketball at the highest level is all about."
Stanford next heads on the road to the neutral confines of Anaheim, California where they will take part in the 76 Classic, an eight-team tournament spanning Thanksgiving weekend. Their first round opponent is the Murray State Racers, an NCAA Tournament team who pulled off a 4/13 upset on a last second shot to beat the Vanderbilt Commodores in San Jose, CA. They would lose in the next round in a 54-52 heartbreaker to eventual NCAA runners-up Butler and finish the season with a 31-5 record. The Cardinal and the Racers play on Thanksgiving evening at 6:00pm on ESPNU.
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