As we were driving up to Berkeley from the South Bay, fellow broadcast partner and future Bootleg contributor David Lombardi and I ran into Powell Street and Dwight Avenue, hoping that would be a good omen for Stanford's fortunes.
While the young man named through those two streets
had one of his most effective games of the season, it wasn't enough to stop
Stanford's road woes from continuing, this time in the form of a 69-59 loss to
the Golden Bears.
The game started off so promising, too. Unlike two
years ago, Stanford didn't get run out of the building right off the bat.
Rather, the Cardinal jumped out to an 11-7 lead. The starting lineup of
Randle-Owens-Powell-Huestis-Mann was working beautifully. Huestis wasn't letting
Crabbe get easy looks. Cal couldn't drive into the paint as easy as they would
have liked. Powell showed a renewed commitment to aggressive play on both ends
of the floor, gobbling up two rebounds in the first 70 seconds and relentlessly
taking it to the rack on offense. Simply put, David Kravish could not hang with
Dwight (the only thing that really hung with him was foul trouble). Dude even
hit a three. In some way, Powell was a factor in all of Stanford's first 11
Unlike one year ago, Stanford didn't let Cal get a little
separation by the time the first half buzzer sounded. Instead, Stefan Nastic
beat the buzzer to give the Cardinal a 33-32 halftime lead. Cal had made their
first half run - 18-5 at its zenith - to push the Golden Bear advantage to
25-16. Cobbs and Gutierrez were able to get into the teeth of the Stanford
defense and attack from there. The Bears were able to get out in transition off
missed Stanford shots or turnovers.
But the Farm Boys weathered that
storm. After looking hesitant on offense during Cal's run, the Cardinal got back
into a groove in the form of Stefan Nastic, who refused to take "Cal is going to
embarrass you" for an answer. The Serbian Stud from Canada went to the line six
times in that first half, making five. And how about that take from the elbow to
the rack to put Stanford up 31-30? Josh Huestis started to get into a rhythm,
hitting a turnaround jumper over Crabbe, then a free-throw line jumper to tie
the game up at 27. The lead would go back and forth, but Cal left the door open
for the Nastic buzzer-beater by scoring with 10 seconds left.
a very clean first half for the Card. Four offensive rebounds for Cal and just
four turnovers while shooting 44 percent from the floor. Anthony Goods and Fred Washington would have been pleased with the reoccurrences of the cuatros in the
Second half started much in the same way as the first with
both teams getting into the other's shorts on the defensive end. Cal opened up
with a bucket, but Stanford responded. Cal got the lead to two, but Huestis
answered with a trey to put Stanford back up uno. Nine minutes into the second
half, and Stanford was still holding on to the slimmest of leads thanks to an
Aaron Bright free throw.
But some costly things happened during that span
- namely Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell each picking up their third personals
early on: Chasson on the very first possession with a charge, and Dwight at the
16:38 mark. Forced to go back to the bench, foul trouble denied the Rock Island
Rookie the opportunity to work into any sort of groove until very late and
absolutely killed what Dwight had going on.
Then the first bit of
separation came. The Cardinal were unable to get back on D after an Anthony Brown missed jumper, leading to an easy Gutierrez layup in transition, and
Johnny Dawkins used a timeout to try to cap the Bear spurt at 4-0 and lead at
And for a while, the Cardinal were able to hold it at that margin.
Trotter hit a big jumper from the top of the key. Jarrett Mann had a nice
backdoor cut for the open layup off a pretty Owens feed. All told, it was still
a three point game with seven minutes remaining.
But foul trouble again
reared its ugly head. Powell picked up his fourth at the 8:28 mark after what
looked like through the Cardinal-tinted glasses of one Bootleg writer in
particular a nice elbow to the ribcage from Harper Kamp. Once again, Powell had
to take a seat.
And then came the backbreaker. Nastic had just finished
pulling off a great head-fake to get Kravish up in the air and get to the line.
After hitting seven of his first eight freebies and with a chance to cut the
lead to just one, Nasty Nas baked some bagels instead. Cal came down the court
and it appeared as if Robert Thurman had been tied up by Jarrett Mann, but an
official further away (as pointed out by Lombardi) from the play overruled the
tie-up and called a foul on Jarrett, which put Thurman at the line for a
one-and-one (again, I didn't share the same sentiments as the officials, but I
was also on the opposite side of the court and am a pretty serious homer, so
don't take my word for it).
Like Nastic, Thurman missed his first free
throw. However, Stanford wasn't able to keep Kamp off the glass, as the Golden
Bears' senior recovered the miss and later laid it up and in. It was a
four-point swing that also happened to spark an 8-1 run to give Cal its first
double-digit lead of the game.
In the meantime, Powell fouled out,
leaving the Cardinal a man short in the rotation for the final five
By the end of the game and in large part due to the Powell foul
out, Stanford was having all sorts of trouble clearing Cal's misses from the
field. One such miss and offensive recovery with under four minutes to play and
Cal up 60-51 didn't lead to a Bear bucket, but it did allow the home team to run
off another 35 seconds.
Stanford would get the lead down to seven thanks
to a nifty paint finish by Aaron Bright. And the Card followed it up by forcing
an Allen Crabbe miss. But the Cardinal again looked like the Cougars down the
stretch in Seattle against the Huskies two weeks back and allowed Gutierrez to
get the miss. Cobbs laid it in to put the Bears back up nine, and that was
effectively the game.
Cal by ten in the end. A better Cardinal effort in
Haas than the previous two years, but a similar outcome.
offensive rebounds and turnovers did the Cardinal in. All in all, the Cardinal
did a pretty decent job in protecting the glass, as their defensive rebounding
percentage was 71 percent, which is pretty much in line with their season
average, which in turn is pretty damn good, but to continue with the use of
commas, Stanford's defensive rebounding percentage in the second half was just
61 percent. Cal was able to recover seven of their 18 misses in the second half.
The Golden Bears' guards did a very good job of crashing the glass (Cobbs,
Crabbe and Gutierrez combined for six oh-rebbies), and Stanford guys found
themselves out of position on occasion, which led to a lot of weak-side
As far as turnovers go, it wasn't the number of turnovers
Stanford had. From that standpoint, it was a very clean game for the Cardinal -
only ten in all, and they forced Cal into two more than that. What was killer
was what each team was able to do once those turnovers happened. On more than
one occasion, a Stanford turnover led to an easy basket in transition for Cal.
When Cal turned it over, Stanford was never able to turn it into easy points.
Cal only held a slim 12-9 edge in points off turnovers, but dominated Stanford
10-0 in fast break points. Stanford isn't a team that is going to get theirs on
fast breaks, but Stanford did a pretty good job defensively against Cal in the
half court, and those points that Cal got without having to work for them in an
offensive set made it that much easier for Monty's side.
Looking at the
box score, you can't help but think that if Stanford's main scorers had achieved
their averages, the Cardinal could have really put a scare into the Bears and
maybe have pulled it off.
Josh Owens was effective with nine points and
nine boards, but only took seven shots. Stanford guards were looking for him
early in the game, but Owens faced multiple double teams and usually had to pass
out (he did have three assists against one turnover, so that was a nice little
surprise). Once Stanford got down double digits, however, Josh didn't see much
of the ball at all.
Chasson Randle did some damage late and showed why
he can be a future Pac-12 POTY with his late flurry, but early foul trouble
really saddled him, as he was only able to play nine minutes in the first half
and then didn't really start playing in the second half until the 13-minute mark
because of an early third in the second half.
Defensively, Aaron Bright
was pretty good - he made sure Brandon Smith didn't do much of anything and
didn't let Cobbs go bananas when he was on the Minnesota transfer. But
offensively, Bright wasn't looking for his shot in the first half and couldn't
get it to fall in the second.
So the big road swing of the season didn't
go nearly as planned: 0-3. This loss officially put Stanford behind the eight-ball
in Kevo's pursuit of a 12-6 season. Not the way you'd want to conclude the first
half of Pac-12 play.
On the flipside, this is the first one-half of a
conference season (any half) that Stanford has gone 5-4 in with Johnny Dawkins
at the helm, and the second half of the season appears on the surface to be
easier. There are two very splitble road trips to Southern California and the
Mountain schools, and everything else is at home. It was a very disappointing
three games away from Maples, but Stanford has a great opportunity to do some
damage in the second half of Pac-12 play. By no means is this time to get off
It starts on Thursday with Surgin' Sendeks, who will be coming
to The Farm fresh off a four-point victory at home over Washington State.
The second half can't come soon enough.
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And 1: Cal 69, Stanford 59
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