It wasn't pretty. It was more of a game than any of us really wanted it to be. My prediction about only needing to get to 50 was wrong.
But in the end, it was a win, and almost a 20-point one at
There are typically four ways games like these (a high-major vs. a
guarantee game opponent) go: 1) a blowout victory where the low-major school
never has a chance, 2) a game where the high-major team is always in control but
doesn't necessarily dominate on the scoreboard, 3) a game that's way too close
and the high-major doesn't wake up until the final seconds (a la Oklahoma vs.
Central Arkansas last year), or 4) a rare upset that usually also isn't that
close (look to UCLA's 20-point loss against Middle Tennessee State, Washington's
19-point loss against South Dakota State - the Pac-12 has been the victim to the
http://midmajority.com Red Line Upset more
than any other power conference this year).
Monday night's game lands
somewhere in between options two and three. You never thought Stanford was
going to lose the game (at least I didn't), but the Card didn't exactly dictate
the pace of play for a good portion of the game either.
Bethune-Cookman. This was a team that came in WAY undermanned - they only
dressed eight and were without their leading scorer Anthony Breeze, who had an
ankle injury- and had the Cardinal lead down to six near the halfway point of
the second half. Their dedication to the "we're going to dribble the ball
at half court for 20 seconds until we get into our offense, no matter how much
we're down" mentality certainly kept this game within shouting
Fewer possessions, less variance. Hard to argue with Gravelle
The Cardinal appeared to be a little bothered by the
Wildcat defense for a good part of the first half also, committing nine
turnovers in the first 20. The Farm Boys had the right idea- try to pound it
down low (only four three-point attempts in the first half) and get easy looks
against an undersized Wildcat squad, but the shots and put-backs weren't falling
at the desired pace. It was guys like Garrius Holloman and Javoris Bryant who
made it more difficult than expected down low.
But once that game got
down to six in the second half, Stanford went into "F this, we're tired of this
game being this close" mode and put the game away with a 22-5 run.
key? While more shots were falling from outside (and the Card hit a fantastic
percentage in the second half, as Aaron Bright and Anthony Brown really started
to get it going, but more on Mr. Brown later), it was Stanford's getting the
Wildcats into serious foul trouble that eventually did the MEAC side in. At one
point in the game, I wasn't sure whether the Wildcats would still have five guys
that would be able to play by the last couple of minutes. Two of their eight
fouled out, and there was a big conglomerate at three fouls.
Stanford. The Farm Boys realized that if they took the game down low, the
Wildcats didn't have a prayer. Jarrett Mann did a great job in particular of
getting to the hoop and drawing fouls that would eventually put the Cardinal in
the bonus. He almost single-handedly fouled out Marc Mack, who picked up his
last two fouls trying to keep up with Jarrett in the second half.
a forward, Jarrett's a guard. The Delaware Don (not to be confused with
Delaware's Delle Donne, of course), recognized this mismatch and utilized his
quicks to get past Mack, who couldn't move his feet quick enough and had to bump
Jarrett from getting a clear path to the hoop.
On Anthony Brown…it was
great to see him go off. He certainly had an "I'm going to take this game over"
train of thought in the second half, as his shot was really starting to fall. He
also had a beautiful take to the rack in the first half that was capped off by a
sweet lefty finish. It looks as though that knee isn't bothering him anymore.
Now let's see if Dwight can get going after battling an early-season
On the Harris missed dunk…I would have liked to see him lay that
one in. I know he got a sexy bounce pass from Aaron in transition and wanted the
flashy finish, but it's better to just get the easy deuce. That was effectively
a six-point swing because of the technical that followed with him hanging on the
rim (which wasn't a case of Gabe trying to show off- it almost looked as if he
was trying to stuff his miss back in, and what better place to do that than
hanging on the rim?). Supposedly he had only tried to dunk once in a practice
before that, but I guess when you're in the heat of the moment, and you have the
ability to get rim, it just looks too juicy. I cannot comment on that though - I
have never touched rim in my life so I have no idea what THAT feeling is
On Chasson…does this man have a knack for hitting
clock-expiring-contested-jumpers or what? Last night wasn't the first time he's
done that, but it is so great to have a guy that can deliver when the offensive
set dissolves in the waning moments of the shot clock. Just get the Rock Island
Rookie the ball, and magic might happen. It did on two separate occasions last
This game reminded me a lot of the Hartford contest back in late
December of 2008- Dawkins' first season. Penultimate non-conference game (the
Bakersfield game took place in the heat of the conference season) and an
eight-loss team coming into Maples. The Hawks out of the America East came in
and gave the Card more than they hoped to bargain for in a 69-55 win for the
home team. Monday felt much like that game on December 30 three years
Not that this comes from experience (and trust me, it doesn't), but
those games are like taking home a sloppy drunk from your local pub. You might
feel dirty about your performance, but at the end of the night, you got it done,
and it wasn't that hard to do so.
Time for Butler. Rest assured, the
Bulldogs will be sober. It'll take some serious game on the Cardinal part to
knock this one down.
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And 1: Stanford 75, Bethune Cookman 56
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