Before facing Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Monday night, Arkansas Pine-Bluff spent their time in the layup line attempting an impressive array of dunks. Reverses, 360s, throwing the ball off the backboard to themselves, you name it, they tried it.
If UAPB was trying to look like FGCU, the homage didn’t take. Nearly all of those warmup dunks they took, they missed. As it turned out, that may have been the highlight of the Golden Lions’ evening.
“I thought our guys played well,” Cardinal head coach Johnny Dawkins said after the game. “Coming off the Christmas break, you never know what’s going to happen. But we were pretty sharp.”
The Cardinal hit eleven three-pointers, and had 22 assists on 25 made shots. Meanwhile, the Golden Lions (3-11) committed 25 turnovers and shot just 31.7% from the floor.
The recipe for the rout was revealed from the start. On offense, Stanford’s ball movement, deadly shooting, and size advantages were evident early. UAPB had no answers against Stanford’s defense, mostly because the Card seemed to know the questions.
“We had a little bit more emphasis on pressuring the ball,” Brown said of Stanford’s defensive game plan. “We were forcing people to make plays instead of sitting back.”
Whatever drama this game may have contained at the start drained away very quickly. The Golden Lions missed their first seven shots and committed five turnovers in the first eight minutes. The Cardinal steadily fed Nastic down low, then busted three pointers at an almost cruel rate. Stanford boat raced to a 19-1 lead, and their lead only got bigger from there, ballooning to as much as 40 points midway through the second half.
It took 8:15 for UAPB to make a field goal. It took 16:43 for them to break double digits on the scoreboard. By each of those marks, the outcome had already long been decided. Brown and Randle combined to hit their first seven three-pointers. All told, the Cardinal hit 9-of-12 beyond the arc in the first half. At the other end, Stanford’s defense helped limit Arkansas Pine-Bluff to 23% shooting and forced 12 UAPB turnovers. It all added up to a 45-14 Cardinal lead at the break.
The Cardinal’s 22 assists for the game was particularly impressive to Brown. “That was big,” he admitted. “Any time you can make a connecting play, that gives everybody energy. Hopefully we can keep that up, but it’s also nice to make shots.”
At one point Monday evening at Maples Pavilion, Stanford led 17-1. Seasoned Cardinal hoops fans may have seen that score and flashed back to when Stanford held the same margin over UCLA en route to 109-61 in 1997. Obviously, Monday night’s 17-1 will not be as memorable as the one from nearly 18 years ago. But, it was every bit as dominating and doubt-removing.
The Cardinal now dive into Pac-12 play with two against the Washington schools at Maples Pavilion. On Friday, Stanford has a noon tipoff against Washington State (6-6, #225 RPI). The Washington Huskies (11-1, #21 AP) come calling on Sunday night at 7 p.m.********** ********** **********
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