Expert Analysis: The Beaten Weenies Edition

The Bootleg's "Expert Analyst - Guards," former lights-out shooting guard "roscoemaynard" (1984-89) offers up to the Stanford Hoops faithful his review and comments on a thrilling, well played victory over Monty's California Golden Bears at Maples Pavilion on Sunday night!

Editorial Caveat From The Author: I apologize for the tone of this missive as I get carried away by the intensity of the Stanford-weenie rivalry and my words are in no way intended to portray, whether they do or not, the Bootleg's editorial staff's thoughts or proclivities in this regard.

(Everyone please turn on your Ipod and listen to Metallica's "Be My B$&%#!" at volume 11 while you read this) Welcome back, not! The return of Coach Montgomery in a blue tie to Maples Pavilion fittingly ended like most of the cal games he coached in while our coach wearing a red tie, a cal loss. Although admittedly when cal was at its peak of pusillanimous ursinity back in the day, they did cheat their way to some games at Maples. But why unnecessarily pile on after such a gratifying and absolutely critical victory by our beloved Cardinal. Well, we pile on because we care. Because a rivalry game is a rivalry game made all the sweeter by vanquishing a foe so well known. Hey, its been five years since Coach Montgomery gave up trying to strangle, I mean wrangle, some players past Dean Mamlet, but some folks thought it was homecoming. But at least some of us in the gym, and likely Coach Montgomery and Coach Dawkins were among them, thought that five years is a lot of water under the Bay Bridge and cal-Stanford games are all about the scoreboard and the metaphysical scoreboard.

Speaking of scoreboards, that was a hell of a game. Lots of execution, lots of good preparation, and thankfully, lots of good shooting by Stanford players. What a difference good shooting can make. Who knew? Balance, balance, balance and getting ready to shoot before the ball gets to you works all the time. Green, Goods, Johnson and, particularly I thought, Hill and Fields, did an excellent job of being aggressive mentally in preparing to catch the ball when open. Very few hesitations, very few quick little foot adjustments, and lots and lots of rhythm, sharp pump fakes, and strong dribbles. Sexy stuff. And it really showed in the shooting percentage.

A lot has already been made of Mitch Johnson's tremendous floor leadership in this game, including his physical presence on defense against the smaller Jerome Randle. But what exactly was Mitch doing? Randle is an excellent off the dribble shooter and has very solid handle. His bread and butter is hesitation and change of direction, yet he is actually a fairly high dribbler. I thought Mitch did a great job of anticipating those change of directions, anticipating those high crossover dribbles, and actually jamming up into Randle when he set up for those crossovers or just slid his feet a bit early and got in front. Mitch wasn't flopping either, he wasn't trying to take charges. He was trying to initiate contact, and dish it out; bounce the little guy around. Mitch must have watched a lot of film or been tipped by a coach who did the same thing, because Mitch did not do any of these types of things either of the last two seasons. Now Randle had 13 points and seven assists, but this tactic stopped him cold eight or nine times during the game and led to most of his six turnovers. And I thought Randle spent too much time in the second half trying to 'take the challenge" Mitch lay before him, instead of distributing the ball to his scorers, like Christopher and Boykin. Most importantly, perhaps, our team seemed to feed of that aggressive, confident attitude, including Mitch. Mitch was looking for his shot, stepping in, and hitting one dribble jumpers several times, which kept Randle honest and kept him from roaming around getting steals.

Anthony Goods won the battle with Patrick Christopher, although Christopher gets the "elevator of the game" award for his first half look in on the rim alley-oop flush. Hey, in Big Game's there aught to be some type of consolation award for pyrrhic victories. Goods was his most aggressive going to the hole in this game. He and Hill led the charge to get the weenies in early second half foul trouble with their attacks on the center of the key. Not all of those fouls put us on the line, but the early one-and-one with about eight and half minutes to go, and with Boykin on the bench in some foul trouble, was huge in our getting out of the gym with the win. Goods shot 50% for the game, which was a welcome change of pace and a couple of his early buckets really kept Maples rocking. In a game that went back and forth like this one, tight almost the whole way, making big shots like Goods, Hill, and even Green did, allowed the gym to stay locked in, and didn't allow the doubt that was palpable in the gym before tip-off to creep in.

Great effort by Goods and Johnson defensively in this one. Steals are steals, but holding Patrick Christopher to only eight shots and he and Randle to a combined 2-8 from three (and one of those was very late in the game) was the ball game. With Randle getting a lot of the hype, Christopher, until this game, was really one of the most impressive players in the conference so far. Keeping him imposed upon for much of the game was a tremendous effort.

Kenny Brown, you slick s.o.b. Perfect four minutes. One offensive rebound which led to a Hill three pointer, one good foul, one assist to Fields for a layin, and one little clock expiring pull-up jumper to end the first half. A nice five point swing in the last 40 seconds, a little double team lucky toe and, bingo, Big Mo jumps on board and Maples rocks out all through half time. Perfect. Coaches have wet dreams about guys coming off the bench and contributing that much in four minutes, or at least I presume they do. Although Kenny has to wonder what else he has to do to get back on the floor.

Finally, a couple of thoughts on Jeremy Green's contribution, which came at the two and the three in this game. Good defense, although I thought he got caught helping too far off on Kamp heading into the paint, which led to a couple of good looks from Robertson in the second half. Still, I don't care about that if you go all Josh Childress on the weakside glass and hit a big three. I don't want to make too much out of this game by Green, but eight rebounds in 22 minutes…can someone else please go do that too!?!

Final thoughts: Yes we needed the win or we were probably toast in conference, but what is really important is that this was the weenie game and we beat them. Put the other stuff aside, and beat Berkeley every time. Particularly with Mike Montgomery on the other sideline in a blue tie. Yes, this was a six-point win, but am I the only person that thinks we should have won by 12-14? Come on guys, make some free throws. You wanna be all-conference, make seven or eight free throws down the stretch instead of five, Mr. Goods. 19 is nice, 22 is deep. 59% from the line is just too close to gagging on the spoon guys. And two too many turnovers. We won by six, but it wasn't that close and shouldn't show up as that close. The scoreboard matters when you are beating the weenies. Lawrence Hill, damn it man. You keep owning the ball like that and someone is going to notice. The Boykin-Hill matchup was just tremendous. Bring on some varmint and some buffleheads and let's go hunting a nice 4-3 in conference. Scoreboard weenies!

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