Inside the Locker Room: Washington

Staff writer Daniel Novinson offers up in this wrap some statistical notes, along with gathered quotes from Trent Johnson, Brook Lopez, Mitch Johnson and Anthony Goods as they reacted to Stanford's come-from-ahead 82-79 victory over Washington Thursday night.

Fun with Numbers:

Washington scored 16 points over the last 2:20. Do the math and that's a 274-point pace over a 40-minute game.

Washington scored on its last seven possessions.

Stanford made 15 straight free throws over a 17-minute stretch of the second half to ice the game.

Stanford improves to 15-1 at home. The 15 home wins set a program record.

Stanford's won its last 15 straight over Washington at home.

Stanford's won 10 of its last 11.

Stanford's RPI leapt up from 20th to 19th. (http://warrennolan.com)

Stanford is projected as a three seed in over half the mock brackets out there, with no one slotting them higher than a four or lower than a two. (http://bracketproject.atspace.com/comparison.htm) UCLA's a two, Washington State a six, USC an eight, Arizona an eight, and Arizona State an 11. The top four seeds are protected with close-to-home placements in the first two rounds (for Stanford, almost surely Anaheim), so staying in the top-four seeds is really important. Beating Washington State and grabbing a win next week should assure that.

Not a number, but Pat Forde was on-site to dance around in the Tree.

For the second straight game, a Sixth Man member made the $500 putt, courtesy Jimmy V's café.

Here's the presser…

Trent Johnson

Opening statement:

It was nice to win, but boy we weren't very good defensively, and I guess I've got to take responsibility. This is the third game in a row where we've been out-physicaled, and our rebounding took a step back. I don't want to take anything away from Washington, they were the aggressors from start to finish, but we're a lot better than that in rebounding and finishing and the kids understand that.

On Stanford's play:

The same I thought as in Seattle, real aggressive to start, but we set a tone going inside-outside. We were just more active, not reacting to ball. The fundamental issue was putting a body on ball, the breakdown of a guy. It'll get corrected. Make no mistake, I'm excited we won, but we know we need to play better this time of year: our ability to take care of the ball and rebound. So yes, we have offensive efficiency and are shooting the ball well, but 79 points, that's not us.

On Taj Finger:

Taj is Taj. He's been big, consistent in his effort and what he brings to the game. His effort is not a surprise to me and what I expect from him, just like Brook in the post and on the free-throw line.

On whether this is the time of year where bodies begin to wear down.

I would agree with that. Quite frankly, I think you're right on probably doing too much to let them be fresh. We've got to get back to 4-on-4, 5-on-5, being physical. This time of year you worry taking guys legs away, and yes, Anthony's banged up a little, Brook's banged up a little, but you play like you practice.

Most incisive quote of the night. I'll ask about the team's health Saturday.

On injuries:

We've got guys injured. I've got to stop worrying about it. One thing this team is balanced, no question.

I ask whether fatigue might explain the defensive lapse:

Not fatigue. We're playing too many guys to get fatigued.

On whether Cal and Washington have improved and presented particular defensive challenges:

I don't look at that as much as usual. I'm more worried about evaluating us.

On whether Peter, Taj, Kenny and Fred would start because of Senior Day:

I usually start the same guys that have been starting.

Brook Lopez:

On what contributed to the poor defense:

In the first-half possessions where I took poor care of the ball, and that led to assists with fast-break layups and defensively, there were points where didn't o board and wore shot clock down to 10, but they'd grab two o-boards in a row.

Jim Rutter, Chief Bootie extraordinaire, asks about facing former high-school teammate Quincy Poindexter:

Honestly, we really enjoy going at each other. It's just another chance to do that. It's always good to have a little fun.

I ask whether the hot outside shooting opened up his looks:

That always helps. They can't sag down and when they do, I have confidence, you saw it in the second half, I just kicked it back out. We swung around and got great open looks.

For all the talk about two of the team's biggest offensive Achilles heels: poor outside shooting and the twins' difficulties passing out of the double, this is the first time they're implicitly linked. The idea that Brook would be quicker to look for his teammates on the arc when they're 6-of-12 and not 2-of-12 is perfectly logical, and I think fans would be wise to consider that when evaluating his passing.

Anthony Goods:

On staying in contention for the Pac-10 regular season title:

We've got Washington State on Saturday. [The press cracks up, because that's verbatim what Trent Johnson playfully told Goods to say to the same question after a previous game, I think Cal. Goods smiles and goes on...] In all honesty, without Saturday, we can't think about next week or anything like that. That's coming from my heart...This one's important to our team, but we have a tough task ahead of us.

On his strong shooting:

I feel like I've got my touch back. I'm getting extra shots in practice. That's what happens with hard work.

Mitch Johnson

On the late-game stretch:

Any game in the conference is a test, to get into the NCAAs or play for seeding. We kept matching their intensity. They kept coming down and Coach kept saying it's on the five guys out there to match them, we can't depend on the crowd, and we can't worry about the refs, which we honestly had been doing a little…We kind of had that bend but don't break defense. We made big plays when we needed to.

I looked at my fellow scribes and we did a ‘whoa, where did that come from?' double-take. Like his coach, Stanford's point guard is typically pretty even-keel and understated, but perhaps playing his hometown school brings out the fire in him.


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