The Stanford Cardinal, coming off an impressive 88-71 drubbing of the Oregon Ducks on the host's senior day, were looking to end their regular season slate of games at home with an equally dominant victory over the Seattle Redhawks, a team making their transition to Division I. Unfortunately, impressive and dominant were two words not used by many folks after the first half, but the Cardinal were able to come out of the locker room and make their first nine shots of the second half, helping the Cardinal grind their way to 77-66 win. Stanford moves to 15-14 on the season, while Seattle drops to 11-18.
After the game, head coach Johnny Dawkins admitted his team may have overlooked Seattle initially. "We always worry when we step out of conference [and we saw some] let up by our guys initially," said Dawkins. In the end, though, he believed that this type of game "helps us...because of the style of play...it's good for us."
With Seattle hanging around, down just 10 with under six minutes to go, Anthony Brown drained a wide-open three-pointer from the right corner to get the lead back up to 13. However, a pair of freebies by Cervante Burrell chipped the lead down to 11 and another hoop by the junior after two Jarrett Mann misses made it seven. A turnover and fast break threatened to cut the lead further, but a big block by Josh Huestis after another Redhawks offensive rebound staved off the visitors for the time being. Burrell then made a scintillating drive to the hoop that cut the lead to six with 3:07 remaining and had a chance to get closer, but a steal by the Cardinal stopped the bleeding. Jeremy Green was fouled on the ensuing possession and made both of his attempts, then a turnover by Seattle seemed to shut the door on the visitors. Two more free throws by Brown gave the Cardinal a double-digit lead with 2:02 to go. Seattle would get no closer than nine the rest of the way.
Stanford's leading scorer was Green with 22 on 7-of-9 shooting, including 4-5 from outside the three-point line. Brown followed with a career night, getting 21 points and 11 rebounds, notching the first double-double of his career. Josh Owens was the only other player in double figures, scoring 13 points and dishing out five assists. Seattle was led by Alex Jones and Burrell who both tallied 15 points. Aaron Broussard was next in line with 13.
"At halftime we had a talk about having pride and not overlooking a team," said Brown after the contest. In the second half, the Cardinal "just played with more energy," helping them notch the win.
Bright would make it nine makes in a row to start the second half with a right wing three-pointer before a Brown miss ended the amazing streak. Seattle, though, refused to go away and continued to attack the rim with some success, cutting the lead down to 13, 53-40, with just under 12 minutes remaining in the contest. Green made another long shot after the break, but the Redhawks quickly turned the next part of the game into a boxing war straight out of Rocky as both teams punched and counter-punched their way to a 61-48 game before Seattle made two more shots, the latter by Chad Rasmussen, to cut the lead down to nine with 8:13 to go.
For the contest, Stanford shot 58% from the field, their third game in a row making over half of their shots, but had just 43 attempts on the evening. The Cardinal made 56% (9-16) from beyond the arc, but just 62% (18-29) at the free throw line. Seattle countered with 35% shooting from the floor, including 22% (4-18) from the three-point line, along with 71% (12-17) from the charity stripe. Stanford outrebounded Seattle 37-36, but lost the battle on the offensive glass by a 14-3 margin. Fortunately, the Redhawks were only able to get seven points from these opportunities. Seattle also did a good job inside despite their height disadvantage, outscoring Stanford 30-18 in the paint. The Cardinal had 15 assists, but had a season high of 21 turnovers, while Seattle had 11 assists and 11 turnovers.
Green continued to shoot the ball well, canning a near three-pointer to start the second half, followed by a true trifecta from Brown from the left wing to push the lead five less than two minutes into the second stanza. Brown continued his own run over the Redhawks, getting three buckets in a row, including a baseline dunk off a pretty feed from Owens, giving the Cardinal a 39-28 advantage. Seattle would get the lead down to nine, but more Stanford white hot shooting brought the lead to 46-33 before the first media timeout of the final 20 minutes.
Seattle head coach Cameron Dollar, formerly of the Washington Huskies staff and UCLA lore, said ""We didn't finish particularly well on the inside, but you can probably credit that to their length. They just did a good job of knocking down their open shots when they had them -- that was the difference."
Both teams started the game off sluggish, much like the traffic one hits on the 101 during rush hour, as Stanford managed to go up 13-6 after a Green three-pointer was nothing but net. Coach Dollar called a timeout and his team responded with four straight points before Gage nailed a long ball of his own. Stanford grew the lead to eight after an Owens jumper, 22-14, at the 6:59 mark, but the Redhawks scored seven in a row to slice the lead to one before Green nailed a three from near the top of the key to stop the bleeding. Seattle finished the half on 6-3 stretch and nearly scored at the halftime buzzer, sending the two teams into the locker room with the Cardinal up just one, 28-27.
Stanford next takes on the California Golden Bears in Berkeley on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm.
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