Casey, Card Couldn't Mess with Texas

Casey Jacobsen faced yet another physical defensive gameplan Saturday, which succeeded in holding him to just 9 points and no 3-pointers. The Card got off to a slow start with the 9am Pacific tip-off, but was no excuse for the loss to the Texas Longhorns. With defensive lapses and some of the worst free throw shooting in the Monty era, Stanford just played down in the overtime loss.

After all the great road performances this season for Stanford, one could only wonder how long it could keep up. After only 3 weeks perhaps we forgot that we do have four new starters and are very inexperienced. Experience played a huge factor in the game yesterday as Stanford couldn't quite take control of the game late. Texas was able to force Overtime, and then dominate the extra period. Chris Owens and TJ Ford ran the show on offense, and Royal Ivey played a masterpiece on defense, shutting down Casey in all facets of his game. Owens took advantage of Curtis having to sit major minutes on the bench due to foul trouble and took control of the paint. He scored 26 points, including 13-17 from the free-throw line and grabbed 12 rebounds. TJ Ford, the heralded freshmen had a huge game as well. He was a basket away from a triple-double with 8 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds - definitely a player who might be thinking NBA next season. Then Royal Ivey shut down Jacobsen on defense, constantly with a hand in his face; he frustrated Jacobsen and took him completely out of his game. Ivey also chipped in with 18 points of his own.

Jacobsen struggled mightily and shot 3-17 from the field and for the second straight game didn't make a 3-pointer. On top of that, he was 3-8 from the free throw line, which definitely hurt the Card at the end. In fact the whole team had a monumental struggle from the line, going a Shaq-like 40% (10 of 25). Everyone was talking about the slippery ball, but even so it was very ugly to watch. Jacobsen ended up with nine points in the game but they were few and far between. Borchardt continued to play well as he scored 8 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in very limited action. Josh Childress had himself another nice game, and has definitely established himself as the number 2 option on the court. He took a lot of the big shots to get Stanford back in the game in the first half, and to force OT in the second. He ended up with 15 points and is looking like a player who is going to be consistent and not have those down games. Barnes and Little also gave big lifts off the bench, as Barnes score 13 points (albeit on 14 shots), and Little scored 11 points and shot 5-6 from the line! He should have shared his secret with the rest of the team! Little also might get some consideration to start now as he was much more effective than Davis and has been the last couple of games. Little seems to have become much more fundamentally sound than when he first got to Stanford, and it is definitely helping the team.

Many things went wrong Saturday. Texas definitely had a huge quickness edge and took advantage. Stanford didn't really seem to adjust to it, even though Texas consistently drove into the paint. It was troubling not to see someone make a big play on defense as Stanford couldn't make a run in the second half to give themselves any sort of lead. Another thing that worries me is that teams are starting to figure out Jacobsen. He hasn't made a three-pointer in two games now and all of his points are coming with lots of effort. This loss isn't anything to be worried about, as it is early and the team should improve. The only thing that hurts is the free-throws, because even if they only shot 60% they would have won this game.

Some things also went well for Stanford. Julius seems like he wants that starting point guard spot and he is taking many big shots. He is very erratic and often times out of control, but is starting to look like a good player as he hit some very tough shots. Rob also looked very good inside - a big guy to keep off the boards - who I imagine might push Justin for his starting job in the near future. Overall it was a game in which Stanford played very poorly. They shot the ball badly; they didn't make their free throws and played some sloppy defense. But when it all came down, they pushed a NCAA Tourney caliber team to OT and had its chances to win the game. Now they have 2 weeks to fix these problems and prepare to make amends. Michigan State and others lurk in the near future.


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