The View From The Stands: Sacramento State
Pregame: I get into Maples just before the first media timeout. However, I do learn on the radio from our radio team of Dave Flemming and John Platz that Sacramento State has only won once this season (beating Simpson University out of Redding, who is now 0-10 this year), but has played better in its past two games losing at Pacific by 13 and at home to a hot-shooting Santa Clara team by 12. I also hear that Robin Lopez has won his second consecutive tip before racing into Maples Pavilion.
Lineups: The Hornets put out a three-guard lineup, along with a forward who is 6' 6" and a center who is 6' 8", a smaller combo than what Stanford's big men had to deal with versus Colorado State. The Cardinal have their usual five of Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods, Lawrence Hill, Robin Lopez, and Fred Washington.
15:36 left in 1st Half: When I finally walk into Maples, Stanford is already up 8-3. The stands look mostly full between the baselines. The 6th Man Club is about three-fourths full and the LSJUMB is in the house.
14:30: Sacramento State continues what other teams have been doing by triple-teaming Lopez as soon as he gets the ball inside the paint. This time around, he tried to dribble out of the situation, but picks up the travel. We'll continue to follow how the Hornets do in future attempts at defending the big man.
13:58: Goods finds Taj Finger moving towards the paint. Finger continues his motion to the hoop and gets the lay-up and gets fouled. However, he misses the free throw, leaving Stanford up 12-3.
13:41: Even though he looked out of control, Lopez gets a feed from Finger and spins into the lane and gets fouled while making the lay-up. However, he too misses the free throw. Looks like the boys need to go back to work on their charity stripe shooting during the two weeks off they'll have after the game on Sunday.
12:55: After the Hornets make a bucket, they appear to play a 2-2-1 full court press. However, the Cardinal make good on the possession after Finger grabs an offensive rebound off of a Landry Fields miss and gets another two inside.
12:35: The second of two blocks by Lopez in a span of four seconds is just killed and goes out of bounds. I wonder how good the men's volleyball team could be if the Lopez twins took to the court with them?
12:03: The inside height disadvantage continues to hurt Sacramento State as Finger gobbles up another offensive rebound and puts it back in for two.
11:04: At the second media timeout, Stanford is up 20-10. I do have to say that the Hornets are defending with amazing vigor, but the Cardinal continue to find little ways to get their buckets and maintain their lead. This pressure defense, though, will help the team in future contests.
10:45: After some nice exterior passing against what looks to be a 2-1-2 zone from Sacramento State, Fields drains a three-pointer from the right corner.
9:46: Josh Owens just showed why coaches and fans are excited about his prospects on consecutive possessions. First, Owens goes up and get a rebound off a missed three-pointer by Goods and puts it back in for two. Next, he whips a pass into the lane for Kenny Brown who gets the easy bucket. Lots to like from the young man!
7:25: A roller-coaster possession for Johnson as he makes the steal and races down the court, but misses the lay-up badly while adjusting for a defender in the paint. After a scramble, Johnson receives a pass back inside for a made lay-up to give Stanford a 29-14 advantage.
6:51: Another Sacramento State observation: they are bringing a heck of a lot more diversity and variety than Colorado State brought into the same building just three nights ago. They are consistently in your face on defense and are attacking the hoop on the offensive end.
6:20: Hill finds his stroke from the top of the key, making a three-pointer after the Cardinal needed to regroup after their initial play was disrupted by the Hornets defense.
5:55: A missed three-pointer by Donald Thomas leads to a fast break opportunity for Stanford. Washington passes it along to Johnson who finds Lopez streaking towards the hoop. Johnson rewards the big man's hustle with a pass that Lopez converts into an easy lay-in, putting the Cardinal up 19, 34-15.
5:18: Washington makes a bad pass against the press, but Hill steals it back before the Hornets can take advantage. He then gets the ball passed to him at the top of the key, where Hill then drives hard inside and takes it to the rack for the impressive hoop.
4:10: It's a bird, it's a plane, it's "Super-Fred"! After a steal by Justin Eller, Eller is driving down the lane for an easy lay-up, but Washington comes out of nowhere for the impossible, emphatic rejection! The replay is shown shortly after and the crowd's buzz crescendos into a roar. Mighty impressive for the fifth-year senior!
2:22: Lopez shows off another nice move off of a double-team, going to his left and launching an eight-foot left-handed hook shot, giving Stanford a 39-21 advantage.
0:48: Brown commits his second charge in the past 65 seconds as Sacramento State's pesky junior guard Loren Leath is doing a good job getting right up in the Texas native's grill and possibly in his head.
Halftime: At the half, Stanford is up 42-25 on Sacramento State. Even though the Hornets are 1-5, they are playing with good energy on both end of the court and don't seem to be too down on themselves despite the 17-point deficit.
Halftime: After Stanford's very own Alliance Streetdance puts on a performance, the women's volleyball team comes out to the court to a very good ovation. This is a grand opportunity to win a championship for the squad with the first four rounds of the tournament at home (11/30 and 12/1, then 12/7 and 12/8), followed by the Final Four being played at Arco Arena in Sacramento. Here's to the women running the table and bringing home another trophy to Stanford!
Halftime: At the half, the Cardinal have the advantage on the boards and in assists, 26-14 and 10-3, respectively. The Hornets have a 6-5 edge in steals.
19:23 left in the 2nd half: Goods gets a pass in the left corner, steps in to fake the defender, steps back out and uses the free space to hit the three-pointer. He may be heating up again here in the second half.
18:46: Sophomore Justin Eller has been trying everything to get a decent shot against Lopez, but has not been successful. After another blocked shot after an attempted up-and-under move goes out-of-bounds, Eller looks to the bench, throws his hands in the air and asks what he can do. Not much appears to be the answer.
18:35: A beautiful press break by the Cardinal as Goods ultimately finds Lopez for the two-hand jam. Sacramento State backs off the press on the very next possession.
16:40: The Hornets' Leath continues to show some nice moves, but this time it's on the offensive end of the floor as he makes a great turn inside the lane for the lay-up, bringing Sacramento State within 19, 51-32.
16:20: Next, the Hornets try some 2-3 zone, but Stanford passes around it to find Goods open in the left corner again for a three-pointer.
15:17: Washington grabs a defensive rebound and gets away with a carry. He finds Finger near the top of the key. Lopez is sneaking along the baseline and Finger rewards the seven-footer with an alley-oop attempt that he easily flushes down!
12:21: Jason Davis for Sacramento State makes a nice, aggressive move to the hoop and gets a lay-up which stops a 13-0 run by Stanford built on easy shots in the paint. The damage may be done, though, as Sac State is now down 30, 64-34.
12:11: Finger finds a little weakness in the zone, finding a spot inside the paint for an easy jumper.
11:04: If the Hornets could shoot anywhere near as well as they appear to defend, they might be in this game, however Stanford's making their defense look like an illusion as they continue to make baskets at an amazing rate, no matter what the Hornets throw at them.
9:23: Sacramento State's 2-3 zone has helped stagnate the Stanford offense, allowing the Hornets offense to run off 10 straight points, closing to within 20, 66-46, after a lay-up by Justin Williams.
8:19: When you need to stop a run, Owens is the man. On consecutive possessions, the freshman gets a jumper, then a one-hand jam after a Fields block and subsequent Johnson assist on the fast break to push the lead back to 70-46.
6:38: Lopez continues to put on a clinic in spin moves as he uses another one to get out of a double-team along the baseline, then elevates to dunk it with one hand over a defender!
5:49: Goods finds his way back to his favorite spot against the zone, the left corner, for another three-pointer versus the zone.
2:54: Lopez blocks another shot, keeping this one on the court for Goods to grab. Goods then finds Washington who streaks in for the two-hand jam.
0:27: Drew Shiller and Brown end the scoring for the Cardinal, hitting a right-wing three and a top of the key long two, respectively.
Postgame: Stanford wins 84-58, shooting 56.7% from the field, including a scorching 60.7% in the second half. Sacramento State shot 36.7% for the game, but their first half percentage of 28.1% dug too big of a hole for the Hornets to climb out of in the second stanza.
Postgame: With a more aggressive defense in their face, the Cardinal did commit 16 turnovers, but had 20 assists. Stanford also only out-rebounded the smaller Hornets by nine (40-31), which give them two areas to work on as the competition stiffens up in the coming weeks and months.
Postgame: In the end, the Cardinal had far too much talent, despite all the defenses thrown their way, and should learn a couple of things heading down the stretch of the non-conference schedule. Stanford's next game is Sunday at 1:00pm against the University of Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder, Colorado. This game is part of the newly created, and hopefully continuing past 2007-08, Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
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