The Stanford Cardinal came into Saturday night's game versus the Oregon State Beavers looking to move above .500 in the Pac-10 for the first time in league play. However, the Beavers, fresh off a stunning win in Berkeley on Thursday night, turned that momentum up another notch, starting off fast and never letting Stanford get within a possession in the second half, beating the Cardinal 77-62 at Maples Pavilion. The Beavers finished off their first sweep in the Bay Area since the 1992-93 season.
Oregon State came out of the blocks running their Princeton-style offense and rotating 1-3-1 and 1-2-2 defenses to perfection, bolting out to a 16-2 lead in the first 5:40 of the game. Stanford was settling for long three-pointers, which were open for the most part, but were not successful in slowing down the Beavers who were making a variety of shots inside the paint. The Cardinal, playing without starting point guard Mitch Johnson again due to a strained calf, were able to battle the Beavers evenly over the next five minutes, even getting an 8-2 run shortly after the initial OSU lead, but still looked out of sync for the most part, trailing 24-10 with under 10 minutes left in the first stanza.
From there, Stanford started to find a bit more rhythm on the offensive end and cut the lead in half after an Anthony Goods three-pointer with 7:31 left. After some more back-and-forth between the two squads, Stanford seemed to get a huge boost of momentum after a fast break which culminated in one of the most impressive slam dunks ever seen from a Stanford player as Josh Owens threw one down with authority to cut the lead to 32-26. A turnover on the other end seemed to be the carryover the Cardinal needed, however a turnover and a subsequent jumper by Schaftenaar stemmed the tide and OSU would build maintain a lead of six throughout the rest of the half. The Cardinal did have a chance to get the advantage under six right before the break, by Anthony Goods missed long on a three-pointer as the teams went into the locker rooms with Oregon State ahead, 34-28.
At the intermission, Oregon State had cooled off, but was still shooting an impressive 56% from the field, including 40% from beyond the arc, a scorching 65% inside the three-point line, and was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. After the slow start, the Cardinal finished the half at 44% from the field, including 29% from behind the three-point line, 67% inside the arc (on just nine shots), and was 4-5 from the charity stripe. Stanford outrebounded OSU, 12-11, but had allowed five second-chance points to the Beavers. The Cardinal had nine assists and eight turnovers, while Oregon State had six assists and six turnovers.
Individually, Stanford was led by Josh Owens, who got his first start since the Cardinal played at Washington, who had seven points (including two from the aforementioned thunderous fast break dunk). Kenny Brown had five points at the break, while no other member of the team had more than three. Oregon State was led by Seth Tarver and Calvin Haynes who both had 12 points, the former on a perfect 5-5 from the field. Roeland Schaftenaar was next in line for OSU, netting eight points on 3-6 shooting.
The second half didn't start off well for Stanford as a turnover and subsequent shot by OSU put them down by eight less than a minute in, but Stanford would continue to battle, getting the lead down to six again after a Goods three-pointer with 16:57 to play. Little did the fans know that they had come out to a filming of a "Rocky" movie as the two programs battled toe-to-toe over the next few minutes with Stanford only able to get the lead down to five on two occasions before Oregon State found a way to slowly pull away from Stanford. How did the Beavers do it? By shooting the ball very well while watching the Cardinal take three after three after three that wouldn't go in for the good guys. After a three-pointer by Drew Shiller that cut the lead to six, 56-50, Oregon State would go on a methodical 15-4 run over the next 8:54, punctuated by a Tarver layup putting them up by 17, 71-54, with just 2:39 to go in the game. During that span, Goods would have the Cardinal's only made field goal while watching OSU make six of their own, trying to play catch up by shooting from outside the three-point line, but missing time and time again. Stanford would try one final run at the Beavers, cutting the lead to 11 with 1:33 to go, but Oregon State would finish off Stanford with four free throws and more bad misses from outside by the Cardinal.
For the game, Stanford shot 43% from the field, 24% from three-point land, 71% from inside the arc, and 8-11 from the free throw line. The Cardinal shot just 21 two-pointers, compared to 33 three-pointers, a fact not lost on this Bootleg writer, something I don't believe I have ever seen in almost 15 years of watching Stanford basketball! Meanwhile, Oregon State shot 62% for the contest (68% in the second half!), 50% from the three-point line, 65% inside the arc, and made 10 of 15 from the charity stripe. The Cardinal and Beavers tied it up on the boards at 26, but Stanford had 11 offensive rebounds. Unfortunately, they turned those into just nine second-chance points. Stanford turned the ball over 16 times, while Oregon State gave up the ball just 12. The Cardinal did have 17 assists to OSU's 14, but the hot shooting Beavers were too much to handle when all was said and done.
Individually, Stanford was led by Goods who had 15 points, but he got those points on 5-15 shooting, including just 3-12 from outside. Landry Fields had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Owens had nine for Stanford on a perfect 4-4 night, but did not see much time in the second half after making a key turnover. Lawrence Hill was frustrated inside the paint and finished with just eight on seven shots. Oregon State was led by Haynes who had 25 for the Beavers on 10-15 shooting. Tarver finished the evening with 19 points on 8 of 10 from the field, while the Dutchman Schaftenaar had 18 points on 8-11 from the floor, including a number of hooks and banks off the kind glass for the Beavers.
Stanford now heads to Los Angeles to battle USC and UCLA to finish off the first half of the Pac-10 season. The Cardinal can do no better than 5-4 through the first half of league play, but getting swept in LA would leave Stanford at 3-6 with road trips to Oregon and Arizona remaining. How will Johnny Dawkins and the Stanford Cardinal respond to another disappointing and frustrating home loss to a team most thought they would handle? The answer comes soon when the Cardinal battle the Trojans at the Galen Center at 7:30pm on Thursday. USC is 13-6 on the year and 4-3 in league play, but brings to the court just one loss in their facility and a lineup featuring a dominating big man in Taj Gibson, talented freshman forward DeMar DeRozan, and a tall backcourt of Daniel Hackett and Dwight Lewis. Stanford will need to play top-level basketball to beat the Bruins before heading to Pauley Pavilion for a Saturday afternoon tilt with the Bruins. Will Stanford be able to steal one in Los Angeles? If they don't, they'll need to be as close to perfect as possible to make a final stretch run to make the NCAA Tournament.
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