The View from Section 12: UC Davis

Stanford closed out November on Tuesday with an 84-72 win over UC Davis, avenging the Aggies' upset a year ago. The Cardinal shot a high percentage with succcessful press breakers, and at times rebounded strongly. But the sight of a 27-point lead dwindling to 10 was difficult. Though a little delayed, be sure to enjoy this survey of the highlights, lowlights and observations from Maples Pavilion.

Pregame:  Brook Lopez is indeed warming up and looks ready to play ball.  He's making mid-range jumpers from the right side and looking good.  Will Paul, however, is under the basket gathering rebounds and doesn't look like he'll playing tonight.  He does not have a boot on, which is good news.

Pregame:  The printed tickets said 7:00pm, but the game was moved to 7:30pm.  It does appear, though, most folks knew of the change and are trickling in.  There is a decent UC Davis contingency beginning to fill in Section 6, including their band.  This should be interesting to hear and see as the night progresses.

Pregame:  The view from Section 12 is much better than Section 7.  Many thanks to The Bootleg for hooking me up with these seats for this game.

Pregame:  This is the first game of the year, outside of Siena, where I feel an increased amount of chatter/excitement in the stands. Maybe this will turn out to be the biggest crowd of the season thus far!

Lineups:  Davis starts the game with a three-guard lineup, including two forwards who are 6'6" and 6'9".  A bit more height than Denver brought last weekend, but Stanford still has the height advantage as they start their lineup of Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods, Lawrence Hill, Fred Washington, and Robin Lopez.

19:48:  Another tip lost to the opponent (Can we get Rob Little to fly in to give some advice to the youngsters on how he did it?) leads to a three-point play inside for the Aggies.  Not a bad way for the visitors to start things off.

19:37:  After the made free throw, Davis starts off on defense with full-court pressure and forces a turnover after double-teaming Mitch Johnson just past the half-court line near the sideline and forcing a five-second violation..  The Aggies may use this all night long, if they continue to force turnovers as easily as that.

17:59:  Stanford breaks the press on their third possession as an outlet pass from Fred Washington to Robin Lopez to Lawrence Hill gets the Cardinal an easy deuce and a foul.  On the next possession, Davis turns it over and Johnson runs right through the Aggies transition D and finds Robin Lopez wide open for the two-hand jam.  Looks like Stanford has some of the keys they need to break the press this year on occasion.

17:28:  The refs are definitely controlling the game early, calling the fifth foul of the half just 2:32 into the contest.

16:32:  After the sixth turnover of the half for Davis, Goods is found open for a corner three-pointer to give the Cardinal an 11-0 run and an 11-3 lead.

14:54:  The Cardinal pass the ball around the Aggies' man-to-man, half-court defense, with Washington feeding Hill for an easy lay-up to make it 13-3.  Davis head coach Gary Stewart calls a 30-second time out, and when the Cardinal have the ball next, Davis changes things up to a 2-3 zone.

14:00:  Robin Lopez makes a beautiful spin move in the lane to get a lay-up, but it rims out.  No worries, though, as Hill is there to clean it up.  He gets fouled - makes the first free throw, misses the second.  Washington gets the offensive rebound and makes a contested lay-up to give the Cardinal an 18-6 lead.

11:51:  After the second media timeout of the game, I, and others, start to wonder when Brook Lopez will see his first action of the season.  He's sitting at the end of the bench and doesn't look poised to come in anytime soon.

10:58:  After Goods hits his second three-pointer of the game, the Cardinal D steps up on the next Davis possession and causes a shot clock violation.  The bench is pumped up!

7:34:  Fred Washington just took his first three-pointer that I can remember in a very long time from the right wing.  It didn't look very good, as it overshot the hoop and hit the backboard.  Yikes!

7:10:  At the next media timeout, Stanford is up 31-15, playing some very tenacious defense and looking like it could run away from Davis at any time.  After the timeout, the next Cardinal possession sees Davis playing a 1-2-2 defense.  Hmmm…

5:47:  Brook Lopez gets up and heads to the scorer's table.  He receives ovations as he hustles over and then again when he officially checks into the game.  This comes after a Cardinal timeout that occurs after Vince Oliver, Davis' only scorer averaging double digits on the season, hits a contested three to make it an 11-point game again at 31-20.  Let's see what the other half of this dynamic duo can do to help stop this mini-run by the Aggies.

5:38:  Goods hits two free throws after getting fouled, putting Stanford in the double bonus.  Davis goes back to a 2-3 zone as well to counter the now very tall Cardinal lineup.  They are throwing a lot of different looks at Stanford that could certainly benefit them down the line.

3:35:  After a couple of minutes, it is pretty easy to see that Brook Lopez hasn't played much basketball in the last few months.  He looks tentative, rusty, and sluggish out there.  In any case, I am just glad he's in there giving it a go, but you can tell he's out of sorts for the time being.

2:31:  Robin Lopez bites on a pump fake by forward Jesse Lopez-Low, who then puts the lay-up in and gets fouled.  The freshman's mistake and the subsequent free throw brings Davis within 10 points at 35-25.  Looks like the Aggies aren't going to go quietly into that good night.

1:56:  Brook Lopez checks out of the game, totaling two missed two shots (one blocked) and an offensive rebound.  He gets polite applause from the crowd as they probably expected a bit more production from the freshman.  I am certain that will come with time.

1:30:  Davis is gaining confidence by the minute.  After drawing a charge from Johnson, Oliver hits a floater to get the Aggies to within six, 35-29.

0:00:  Just when it looked like Davis would close to within a possession before halftime... Goods hits a floater of his own; Johnson gets a tough runner in the lane; Robin Lopez rejects another shot into the stands; and Hill gobbles up a rebound off a Johnson miss and puts it right back in before time expires to give Stanford a 41-29 lead.

Halftime:  Tonight's halftime sees the men's and women's cross country teams honored for their seasons, including Stanford's first national championship of the season, as the women edged out Colorado to win in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Halftime:  Its time for fifth grade basketball!  It's always a good time out at Maples when the local little guys come out and give it their best!

Halftime:  At the half, the stats indicate a bit closer of a game with the Cardinal and Aggies tied at 14 rebounds a-piece.  Stanford does have the slight edge in steals (7-5) and blocks (4-2), but is once again killing a team in the area of assists, 11-3, with a bulk of those coming off successfully breaking the Davis pressure for transition lay-ups.

18:10:  Capping a 9-0 run spanning the halves, Washington on the inside throws it out to Hill, who quickly gives it back inside to Washington, who sinks a short shot to give the Cardinal back a 44-29 edge.

15:56:  Johnson continues to look for his shot, this time hitting a short, running jumper to get the Cardinal back up 50-37.  I like the fact that he's been more aggressive today, actively looking to shoot and help his team get some valuable points on the board.

15:20:  Kudos to the Davis band: The first half, they play Gnarls Barkley; the second half has them play a few notes of Belinda Carlisle!

15:10:  The Aggies continue to mix up their defense, as they open up a possession with some 1-2-2 full-court pressure.  As soon as the Cardinal crosses mid-court, they change back to a 2-3 zone.  No matter, though, Washington just weaves his way through the phalanx and gets a lay-up.

13:30:  Back to some full-court pressure for Davis after a made free throw, the Cardinal again find a way to break it down with Landry Fields passing it to Carlton Weatherby on the right, who then finds Hill streaking to the hoop.  Hill then makes a quick jump-stop and skies for a two-hand flush, bringing the crowd to its feet and giving the good guys a 56-40 lead.

13:01:  The refs sure do love their whistles.  They call their 12th foul just seven minutes into the second half.  Looks like the Cardinal and Aggies will get some added free throw practice in this one.

12:58:  Let's proclaim this now: Lawrence Hill from the top of the key, just inside the three-point line is cash money.  He just knows he's going to make that mid-range shot every time he shoots it.

11:40:  As Troy Clardy would tell me, "We have a developing situation."  Lawrence Hill is out of the game riding a stationary bike behind the Stanford bench, a bike I hadn't seen before.  After a few seconds, he gets off and heads to the locker room.

11:17:  With Robin Lopez out of the game and Brook Lopez not off the bench in the second half (will he see the floor again today?), the Aggies are getting some offensive rebounds of their own, converting them into 3-of-4 from the free throw line to get the lead down to 17, 60-43.

10:05:  Looks like Hill is doing "all right now" as he checks back in at 10:42, gets a steal 20 seconds later, passes it to Goods, who finds Washington streaking to the basket for a lay-in.  On the next Davis possession, Hill gets another steal and goes coast-to-coast for the dunk, giving him 18 points on the night and giving Stanford a 66-43 advantage.

9:05:  Washington continues to excite with his hustle, desire, and impressive athleticism, as he gets the rebound on the defensive end and takes it all the way himself for the lay-up.  Davis then turns the ball over on their next possession, which the Cardinal convert into another Hill lay-in to cap a 16-3 run and give Stanford their biggest lead of the night, 27 points, at 70-43.

7:50:  Washington attempts to bring the house down with a baseline dunk that needs to be seen to be believed.  Unfortunately, a Davis player is in his way and Washington gets called for the charge, a call that leaves him flummoxed after he takes his time getting up from the collision.  You've got to love the effort, though.

7:50:  An observation to make here at the media timeout: Davis seems to respect Goods as he brings it up the court because they seem to back away from any pressure when he gets the ball in his hands.  Perhaps he could be Stanford's designated press breaker?

6:59:  Ari Warmerdam, a 6-4 senior forward out of Lodi, hits a three to give Davis a 7-0 run and back within 20.  Looks like the Aggies are going to make one last effort to get back in this one.

3:49:  I'll say this, Davis may not be the most talented team in the world, but their tenacity, aggressiveness, and ever-changing defenses are something I've grown to respect over the course of the game.  They play the game hard, tough, and for flashes at a time, very well.

3:37:  After an offensive foul by Taj Finger, coach Trent Johnson has seen more than enough from his current five guys on the floor (Weatherby, Finger, Kenny Brown, Da'Veed Dildy and Peter Prowitt).  He calls a quick 30-second timeout and brings in the entire starting lineup (Johnson, Goods, Hill, Washington and Robin Lopez) back to the game.  Davis has made an 18-7 run to get themselves back into things a bit at 77-61.

2:53:  Robin Lopez has struggled from the line, missing all five of his throws thus far, including the last three barely scraping the front iron.  Looks like it's time to refocus the big man so that he can continue to become the complete player we all hope he'll be soon on The Farm.

1:56:  What in Sam Hill is going on?  Johnson tries to force himself inside, taking what seems like the third consecutive quick shot for the Cardinal, and gets rejected.  Davis quickly outlets a pass to Oliver, who makes the lay-up and gets the Aggies within 10, 77-67!

1:47:  An Anthony Goods three-pointer from the left corner just nine seconds into the shot clock stems the Aggies' tide of momentum and puts Stanford back up 13.  I don't like another shot that early, even if it was wide open after breaking the Davis press, but I do like the results.

0:56:  Point guard Rommel Marentez hits a short floater to bring Davis back to within 11 at 80-69.  There is just no quit in this team!

0:00:  After another three-pointer by Oliver brings Davis back within 10, Johnson takes the handoff by the left sideline and scoots all the way in for a lay-up to give Stanford its final margin of victory at 84-72.

Final Thoughts:  Well, midway through the second half and up 27, Trent Johnson was probably happy and could point to a couple of things to work on, including offensive rebounding, but he has a lot more on his mind while watching his players lose that lead rather quickly.  Free throw shooting will become another priority, along with stopping opponents from driving the lane for lay-ups, something Davis did a lot of in that second half run.  There were some flashes of brilliance, including numerous breaks of the Aggies' pressure, which consequently gave the Cardinal numerous easy lay-ups and dunks in transition, but committing 22 turnovers and being out-rebounded 34-31 by a team which was being beaten on the boards by an average of 10 coming into this game gives Stanford something to chew on for the next few days and maybe the rest of the season.  Fortunately, Stanford fans know that this team is young and hungry enough to digest the lessons learned tonight before they play their first game away from the friendly confines of Maples Pavilion and face Texas Tech on Sunday at the Pete Newell Challenge in San Jose at 3:30pm.

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