Those of you who didn't make it out to Maples Pavilion Thursday night: you sure missed out. This is exactly how Stanford was advertised coming into the season. They were going to be flashy; Casey was going to drain three's; and the games would be closer. All of these factors came into play, as Stanford was fighting uphill this game, even with Jacobsen's barrage of shots. Arizona State's guards had their way for most of the night, driving the lane, dishing and hitting some tough shots. The Sun Devils were able to hit 52% of their shots, but who am I kidding? This night should be devoted to one man, and he is the greatness that is Casey Jacobsen. Jacobsen was unbelievable; he did it all and definitely showed how he has rounded out his game since last season. He drove to the hoop; he hit the mid-range jumper; and of course he hit the bombs from the Maples Pavilion lettering 35 feet away. I believe he got as far as the V in Pavilion before the night was done. He scored 13 points in a four-minute span and hit four three pointers in a row, towards the middle of the second half. Jacobsen also scored 31 points in the 2nd half - are you kidding me? All in all, the affair finished with a 90-81 victory for the Stanford Cardinal over the Sun Devils, vaulting Stanford into the very top echelon of the Pac-10 standings.
This game was no blowout. Stanford wasn't even winning for a strong majority of it. They jumped out to a 10-point lead within the first seven minutes and everything looked great. Then the defense got lazy and Arizona State got hot. The lead quickly disappeared, and Arizona State went into the locker room with a five-point lead. This lead ballooned to as high as nine points, and then Julius Barnes took over at the point. Quickly the game started to turn as Julius pushed the ball and drew the defense. This made Jacobsen that much more open for all his three-point shots. Barnes also broke the press provided by the Sun Devils, which was certainly a welcome sight after the USC debacle. He finished with only two turnovers and definitely made a strong impact in the game. Stanford tied the score at 62-62 with six minutes left, which was their first tied score since the middle of the first half. Stanford pulled away towards the end of the game as the defense tightened up and Casey just couldn't be stopped. Arizona State made a flurry of three's toward the end, but all it did was make Stanford fans cheer more as it gave the mighty Casey more free throws. It was truly an exciting game that was closer than the final score indicates.
Besides Casey, Julius Barnes had 18 points and provided a boost Stanford drastically needed. He also had four assists, but was important in many other Stanford plays. Curtis Borchardt made his return from a one game absence, and chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds. He again made things tougher on the defense end as he had three more blocks despite constantly being pulled away from the basket by Chad Prewitt and Shawn Redhage. One more thing of note: Teyo Johnson was in the starting lineup today, something that was mentioned on the boards numerous times. He picked up two fouls in his first four minutes, but had a very productive second half in which he played 14 minutes and was a physical presence down low. His stats aren't that impressive, but it is obvious that things flow better when he is in. He is still a little rusty but is rapidly improving. Josh also had a solid game off the bench, as he had five points and six rebounds in 21 minutes of action. Casey had 49 points on 14-22 shooting. He also had a 15-17 night at the free throw line, which is very impressive to say the least. Jacobsen played the entire game and didn't look like he was tiring that much. It was amazing that even with no rest he could continually shot over defenders from 30 feet away. Rob Evans overall coached a very good game for the Sun Devils, but I thought putting 6-1 Kyle Dodd on Casey was a joke. What did Evans expect? Jacobsen continually shot over the shorter Dodd and drove around other defenders his way such as Ayvee Storey, Tommy Smith and even Shawn Redhage. It was a thing of beauty and hopefully can be repeated in March.
If anyone is interested, Chad Prewitt led the Sun Devils with 18 points and shot five for seven from behind the arc. Arizona State actually played a very good game and could have easily won this game. They have a good team with Storey, Millage and Prewitt; they just lack enough good players to consistently compete in the Pac-10. They rebounded surprisingly well against Stanford, often having second and third chances. Another thing that destroyed Arizona State was the fact they committed 35 fouls, many of them not smart, and made them play very undermanned in the second half.
This was a fantastic game for a fan, and a decent game for the Stanford team. Beyond Casey's performance it was not a very well played game that they could have easily lost. This brings up another point. I don't like to beat dead topics BUT Julius Barnes needs to start at the point guard against Arizona. It looks like Monty is coming around after starting Teyo tonight but people are just kidding themselves if they think that Tony is a better option at point guard than Julius. I heard from a friend that Bob Murphy was surprised that Casey was getting so much room to roam with Julius in there. It is very simple!!!! Teams have to respect Julius' jumper, with Tony they do not. I know this has been discussed to no end on this board, but it makes you wonder what Monty is thinking in regards to Tony. This is not supposed to be a personal attack of any sort, but I think that the time has come to hand the team over to Julius. Jason Gardner is going to be the best player Stanford will play in the regular season and Julius needs to guard him on top of getting the offense going.
One more gripe while it is on my mind. The 6th man overall was very good tonight. As a fan up in the high seats it was very nice to see the crowd making some noise. EXCEPT some of you have no common sense at all. Casey is at the line in a close game and Ayvee Storey fouls out. The student manager goes to Storey and tells him to wait until Casey shoots the free throw to sit down. Storey then sits down and about 1/3 of the students yell sit down!. Casey misses one of his two free throws in 17 tries. This prevents him from getting 50 points, and could have cost the team the game. This has already happened once, and while it isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, the students have to stop doing this. It would be a shame if a game were decided by this.
Overall I am much more upbeat then I appear to be. :) Huge game as always against Arizona on Saturday. Everyone who has a ticket should be there and make some noise!!! Oh yeah, and shake the basket just to get Lute going again!