MBB salvages tourney, downs DePaul 81-74 (OT)

Not to trot out a tired sports-as-a-life-lesson metaphor, but sometimes when things are not going your way, simply hanging on to fight another day is making the most of the circumstances. Stanford entered Sunday's DePaul game having lost two straight in the 76 Classic, and while it took overtime and was ugly at times, at least they did not end the tournament winless, claiming an 81-74 win.

For Stanford, it was a team affair in overtime, as, chronologically, an Anthony Brown jumper, a Jarrett Mann layup, four Dwight Powell free throws and a Josh Owens deuce helped Stanford (4-2) take a 77-70 lead with 58 seconds left in the extra period, leaving DePaul (1-4) too far behind with too little time to come back.

The game was a coming-out contest for Powell, who posted his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds and made all nine of his free throws. Perhaps of most significance, Powell played 39 of the game's 45 minutes, suggesting any experimentation is over, and Powell has entrenched himself as a full-time starter just six games into his freshman season.

While Powell's fellow frontcourt mate Jack Trotter (11 points, seven rebounds) had a good game, and Josh Owens (four points, eight rebounds) a quiet one, Stanford made the most noise Sunday with its backcourt, which finally found its scoring touch after an anemic Thursday and Friday. Jeremy Green (19 points, 8-of-16 shooting) was on, and freshman guard Anthony Brown stepped up as a solid No. 2 option on the perimeter, scoring 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, in just 22 minutes of play.

The game was one of ebbs, flows and stalled Stanford spurts. The Cardinal leapt to a 19-8 lead early, but a 17-6 DePaul run gave the Blue Demons a 26-25 margin. Again, Stanford tried to pull away, immediately responding with a 9-2 run to reclaim a 34-28 lead with 2:40 left in the first half. But DePaul answered again, cutting Stanford's lead to 36-34 by halftime, and staying within a few points throughout the second half.

In fact, it was the Cardinal who had to rally late just to force the extra five minutes, and they did so with their defense. DePaul led 67-63 at the 3:40 mark after two Tony Freeland free throws, but Stanford pitched a shutout for the rest of regulation, harrying the Blue Demons into four missed shots. As he has been want to do thus far this season, Jeremy Green found his stroke late, draining jumpers with 3:30 and 0:51 left in regulation. Coupled with Stanford's defense, those four points were enough to send the game to overtime at 67-67, despite Mann missing the front end of a one-and-one with 1:36 left. (Ed: Speaking of Green, can someone calculate his per-game scoring pace in the last four minutes of regulation? I'd guess it's 35 points/game, as he's been just ridiculous late thus far this season.)

Coach Dawkins will have decidedly mixed emotions as he reviews the tape from the Sunday morning tilt. His team did address two of its biggest weaknesses in its Thursday and Friday losses, as Stanford's size finally resulted in a rebounding edge against DePaul, and a 40-22 edge at that. The Card also snapped out of two ice-cold shooting nights with a vengeance, finishing 57 percent (28-of-49) overall and 41 percent (5-of-12) deep.

On the other hand, Stanford's free throw shooting was again pedestrian, with the Card finishing 20-of-29, for 69 percent accuracy. While Stanford did well to draw 29 free throws, and the 69 percent rate represents marked improvement from the Cardinal's earlier efforts this 2010 campaign, Mann missed both of his attempts from the line (including the late front end of the one-and-one), as did Josh Huestis. Stanford also continued to struggle with ball possession, with Powell (five turnovers) and Josh Owens (four turnovers) leading the way to 19 team turnovers.

The Card now have a two-week break for finals, and then enjoy home tune-ups versus UC-Riverside (Dec. 12) and North Carolina A&T (Dec. 15) before a Dec. 18 visit to 2010 NCAA runner-up Butler. Stanford will then visit Oklahoma State (Dec. 21) and host Yale (Dec. 28) before kicking off Pac-10 play with a visit from Cal (Jan. 2).

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