Casey & Curtis Show Stars in Seattle

Throughout the game, the consistent forces from the Cardinal in Thursday's 91-65 victory were (shock) Jacobsen and Borchardt. Though the box score may not show it, there were some big contributions provided from the bench, particularly in the crucial second half stretch run. For much more, read on and enjoy this guest recap from Seattle!

Thursday: a cadre of players excited to play in their hometown, a strange glowing orb in the sky (Seattleites were told it is called the "sun"), and a deep roster that eventually wore down the Huskies…

Stanford was greeted by a very subdued crowd at Hec Ed/Bank of America Arena on Thursday. The UW crowd was noticeably smaller than that seen in previous games against Arizona, UCLA, or USC this year, most likely because the Sonics were hosting the Lakers just down the road and because many regulars had to make the tough choice between cupid and the game. Those in attendance started the game on their feet and were instructed to remain standing until Stanford scored its first point. 22 seconds later, the crowd was sitting down and rarely got back into the game from there on.

Stanford was led by a "quiet" 31 points from Casey (including 4-8 from downtown and several baskets in transition) as well as stellar rebounding and shotblocking by Curtis "Windex" Borchardt. By the end, Curtis was credited with 16 rebounds and 5 blocks, but those numbers do not do justice to the defensive presence he provided down low. Curtis altered numerous Husky shots and grabbed nearly every rebound on the defensive end. More than one Husky fan sitting nearby bemoaned the "one that got away" as they watched Curtis absolutely dominate.

Stanford started cold from outside, missing their first four 3-point attempts, but compensated with fierce offensive rebounding. In one key possession at the start of the game, they collected 4 offensive rebounds before finally getting a lay-up from Casey. As the game wore on, those offensive rebounds proved to be critical as Stanford repeatedly failed to convert from down low—the Cardinal missed at least 10 lay-ups although nearly all were hotly contested.

Teyo Johnson, another local Seattle product, got the start at the power forward position. Whenever he was in, he got the not-so-envious job of covering Doug Wrenn and did a generally good job of containing Washington's prolific scorer. Offensively, Teyo shot very well from deep, but had great difficulty finishing near the basket. He was generally able to get clean looks down low off a repertoire of spin moves, but the iron was, well, unkind. Despite hitting 2 of 3 from deep, he was only 1 of 7 from down low.

The zebras certainly let their presence be known, calling a combined 51 fouls in the game. Although those fouls hurt the flow of the game, the officiating was generally accurate and quite evenhanded. In the second half, both teams were in the bonus with over 11 minutes left and both were in the double bonus with over 9 minutes left. Stanford capitalized on its trips to the charity stripe, converting 27 of 33. The largest impact of the officiating was on the line-up. Justin Davis managed a total of only 9 minutes before fouling out, and Giovacchini was sent to the bench early with two quick fouls. In his stead, Hernandez played an outstanding game tallying a 7 to 1 Assist/TO ratio and scoring 8 points. Hernandez made an especially impressive steal with 6 minutes left in the first half. With Stanford up 10, Borchardt was stripped in the lane and two Huskies began running downcourt for what looked to be an easy deuce. To use an ultimate frisbee term, Hernandez went "Ho" (horizontal) and managed to steal the ball back before landing squarely on his chest at midcourt. It was a truly impressive play for the future leader of the team. Hernandez also repeatedly set up shooters in stride and deserves some of the credit for Casey's great shooting night from outside.

The decisive moments of the game came early in the second half. The half started well for the Cardinal with a 3 by Giovacchini and two nice defensive stops by Borchardt (a block and a 3-second call on UW's center as he tried to post up and realized he could not shoot over Curtis). However, UW subsequently went on an 8-0 run, including a 360 layup (aka a dunk attempt that started too far away from the basket) by Wrenn on a fast break. At 45-41, the UW crowd finally awakened and for the first time threatened to become involved in the game.

However, the Husky faithful were soon taken out of the game. Around the 16 minute mark, Monty used a mass substitution (Hernandez, Childress, and Davis for Giovacchini, Teyo, and Barnes). The taller lineup immediately slowed the Huskies' scoring and was also able to convert down low on the offensive end. In the longer run, the Cardinal was dominant from that point on, using a variety of lineups to outscore the Huskies 46-24 for the last 16 minutes of the game. The only substantial news from the crowd came when football player Charles Frederick entered at the 10:40 mark.

To cap off the homecoming feel of the game, Tyler Besecker entered the game with 1:11 left. In the final minute, Tyler created space by driving the baseline and pulling up for an open 10 footer. Although the shot rimmed out, both his Stanford teammates and the hometown crowd cheered loudly for his contribution.

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