The Stanford Cardinal, fresh off a not-so-spectacular 55-48 win over UC Riverside on Sunday evening, came into their contest on Wednesday night versus the North Carolina A&T Aggies looking to end their brief homestand on a high note before hitting the road. Instead, they received a fierce challenge from their MEAC opponent, falling behind in the first half before using a long run to provide initial separation, then ultimately putting away the Aggies by a final score of 76-59. Stanford moves to 6-2 on the year, while North Carolina A&T falls to 5-5.
Marc Hill, who came into the game averaging 12 points but finished with just four on 2-11 shooting due to "tenacious" defense played by Jarrett Mann, helped the Aggies cut the lead to 13 with just over seven minutes remaining, but the Cardinal used a 9-2 run, highlighted by an Owens alley-oop off a Jeremy Green feed on the breakaway to push the advantage to 20 with 3:47 to go in the contest. After the game, head coach Johnny Dawkins was pleased with the performance as he though the Aggies "came in and played well" versus his squad. "Our guys did a much better job in the second half defending," said coach Dawkins, whose team forced nine Aggies turnovers in the final 20 minutes.Stanford was led by Jeremy Green's 18 points on 7-18 shooting. He was followed by Josh Owens' 15 points and a team high eight rebounds. North Carolina A&T was led by Nic Simpson's game high 20 points on 8-15 shooting. Next in line was big man Thomas Coleman, who tallied 12 points and eight rebounds.
After the halftime break, both teams struggled with control of the second stanza, trading baskets back and forth until the Cardinal used an 8-0 spurt over a 2:14 span to go up by an even dozen, 54-42, with 12:04 remaining in the contest. After a timeout by head coach Jerry Eaves, the Aggies got a basket inside from Adrian Powell, but the Cardinal went on another nice streak, reeling off nine of the next 11 points to take their biggest lead of the game, 63-46, with 7:53 to go.
Stanford shot 44% from the field, while the Aggies shot 40%. The Cardinal won the rebounding battle 41-37, getting 21 offensive rebounds to A&T's 19 as the teams combined to get more offensive boards than defensive boards. Stanford had 13 assists and seven turnovers (just one in the second half) to North Carolina A&T's eight assists and 15 turnovers, a noteworthy stat as the Cardinal scored an efficient 26 points off those miscues by the visitors.
Both teams came out hot from the field, especially the Aggies, as they hit four three-pointers in the first six minutes of play, propelling them to an 18-11 lead under seven minutes into the contest. However, Stanford was able to take it to the next level, scoring the next eight points to briefly take a lead just short of midway through the first half. The Cardinal then extended their run to 19-5 after a layup by Owens to make it 30-23 with 6:12 to go. Both teams traded baskets the rest of the way before Stanford settled for a 40-33 lead at the half. Stanford shot 47% in the first half, while North Carolina A&T made 39% of their attempts.
The Cardinal heads to Butler to face the NCAA Tournament runner-up on Saturday at 11:00 am on CBS. Stay tuned to The Bootleg as Kevin Danna provides us special coverage of the team with his awesome "And 1" column!
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!