Stanford once again settled into very hostile confines Saturday afternoon, looking for its third victory. 20,000 Boiler-backers surrounded them, and as expected Purdue brought its physical and very aggressive game. But Stanford was able to win another close game, 78-62, pulling away in the end to improve their record to 3-0.
This couldnt have been won without some superb efforts. Casey once again was able to make things happen and put up 26 points as well as a career high 12 rebounds. Josh Childress looked extremely smooth and scored 21 points on a very efficient 9-14 shooting. But the real story of the night was Curtis Borchardt. He dominated the glass, never letting Purdue get second chances, and ended up with a career-high 20 rebounds to go with his 13 points. He also was able to get all of the Purdue postmen in foul trouble, most importantly John Allison. Allison was limited to 18 minutes and only scored 4 points. Borchardt easily played his best game at Stanford, and to top it off he had 6 blocks! This runs his career totals to 75 blocks in 40 games in a Stanford uniform... which is Mutombo-esque.
Purdue was led by Rodney Smith, who was able to score 15 points and pull down six rebounds. Will Deane provided some much needed energy for Purdue off the bench, slashing to the hoop and getting to the line 10 times en route to 13 points. Purdue really had no great individual efforts, as Stanfords defense was playing at a very high level (33% from the field and 29% from 3-point range). It seems as if the team is starting to play defense again this year, after opponents were consistently shooting in the 40% range last season. Maynard Lewis, Purdues top player and leading scorer, was held to 10 points and was very ineffective. Credit Jacobsens defense, which is vastly improved.
Many things looked very good last night once again. Childress is the real deal, people, and outside of Memphis' DaJuan Wagner I cant find a better freshman. Childress is making upperclass moves and is playing great defense. He thus far has had to play against very athletic wings and has shut down all of them with his very long wingspan and quick feet. There isnt enough I can say about him, as he led the team into the 20,000 strong at Canseco Fieldhouse by scoring some quick points and setting the tempo.
Another thing is that this was another tough road win, which can only mean good things for the future. That meeting at McKale and the Pit arent going to seem so bad after having encountered 20K Purdue and 20K Lobo supporters. After feeling very worried about this team to start the season, I'm at ease. The PG situation still isnt ironed out, but it looks like Julius and Tony will be able to do the job.
Curtis Borchardt was amazing yesterday. He was everywhere, grabbing all the boards and not giving Purdues smaller post players even a chance at rebounds. He and Casey are the reason why Stanford won the rebounding battle 57-37 yesterday and really controlled the game. I really see what we have missed in the last two tournaments, and one can only think what could have been if Curtis was available off the bench against Maryland.
Overall there is a lot you can get excited for. I was able to catch the football comeback against the Irish, and the basketball team is going to be right in the thick of the Pac-10. Two early road tests are going to really benefit this team but the tests do not get easier as they make another Midwest trip to the United Center to play Texas. Unfortunately it looks like the Bulls would be the easier matchup.
Questions or comments?