The Stanford Cardinal entered today's game versus the Arizona Wildcats on a two-game winning streak, having beaten USC on Senior Day at Maples and surprising Arizona State on Thursday night at Tempe, and were looking for a third straight win to gain even more momentum heading into the Pac-10 Tournament. After a disappointing first half of defense by the Cardinal, the second half was virtually the same story as Arizona shot as astounding 70% from the field, giving the Wildcats a critical win in their hopes of making the NCAA tournament, beating Stanford by a final score of 101-87. It was the first time Stanford allowed over 100 points to an opponent since USC scored 103 against the Cardinal in the opening round of the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament. The loss dropped Stanford to 17-12 on the season, 6-12 in the league, while Arizona moved to 19-12, finishing 9-9 in conference play.
Both teams netted two field goals each early in the game before Arizona scored 10 in a row in a 1:58 span, giving them an early 14-4 advantage. The Wildcats would hold a lead of between six and nine for the next nine minutes as they continued to hit shot after shot against a Stanford defense which had come off a game where Arizona State shot just 36% against their varying schemes. A Chase Budinger dunk gave the Wildcats 29-21 lead with 7:42 remaining, but the Cardinal's Jeremy Green hit back-to-back long balls to cut the Arizona lead to two just 48 seconds later. Jordan Hill countered with a three-point play, then Budinger hit a long three-pointer to bump the lead back to eight for the Wildcats. Stanford would get the lead back down to five after a Lawrence Hill jumper with 2:59 left, but Arizona would finish the half on an 8-2 run to go into the break up 11, 50-39.
For the half, Stanford shot 56% from the field, made 58% of their three-pointers, and was 2-2 from the line. Usually, numbers like these should have you leading by a comfortable margin, however, Arizona was that much more effective, making 71% of their field goals, 64% of their shots from beyond the arc, and made 3-5 free throws. Stanford outrebounded Arizona 11-9, but had seven turnovers to Arizona's four. Arizona also dished out 15 assists on their 20 field goals, while Stanford passed out 12 assists on 15 made shots.
Individually, the Cardinal were led by Green's 12 points off the bench on 4-5 shooting from deep. Hill had 10 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Kenny Brown also had six points off the bench. Arizona was led by Budinger and Hill who had 14 points a piece on a combined 11-14 from the floor. Hill had 11 and Fogg tallied 6 for the Wildcats.
In the second half, Stanford got off to another rough start, allowing Budinger to hit a long three, then a steal by the junior leading to an easy shot by Nic Wise, extending the Wildcats lead to 16, 55-39, just 43 seconds into the period. Stanford, however, came right back, reeling off 10 straight points, capped off by a transition three-pointer by Goods to cut the lead to 55-49 with over 16 minutes to go. After an Arizona timeout, though, the Wildcats settled down on defense and got six quick points to push the edge back to 12. From then on, Stanford tried multiple times to get any sort of run going, but Arizona's shooting, mostly from inside the arc, was just too hot to handle when all was said and done. The lead fluctuated between nine and 16 for the rest of the half until the final minute of play when Stanford got within eight, then got a steal at midcourt. However, Green's shot was blocked by Budinger, shutting the door on the Cardinal's faint hopes. The final nail in the coffin came on a three-pointer by little used David Bagga that pushed the Wildcats over the 100-point mark with 12 seconds remaining.
For the contest, Stanford shot 49% from the field, hit 45% from outside of the arc (on 15-33 shooting), and sunk eight of 12 free throws. Arizona was hotter than a pistol the entire game, making 70% of their shots (35-50), 63% of their three-pointers (10-16), and 72% from the charity stripe (21-29). The Wildcats outrebounded Stanford 26-24, but the Cardinal was able to grab 12 offensive rebounds to Arizona's four. The Cardinal recorded 21 assists and 12 turnovers, while Arizona dished out 26 assists while turning over the ball 13 times.
Individually, Stanford was led by Green's 22 points on 8-15 shooting in just 23 minutes of action. Hill recorded a double-double, getting 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Fields and Goods both had 10 points, the former dishing out a team high six assists while not turning the ball over in 24 minutes of foul-plagued play for Stanford. Arizona was led by Budinger's 28 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Wise had 27 on 9-9 shooting from the floor and Hill scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. No other Arizona play had more than nine points.
Stanford will next take to the floor against the Oregon State Beavers, a team
which has handled the Cardinal rather easily twice this season, in the opening
round of the Pac-10 Conference Tournament at the Staples Center in Los Angeles
on Wednesday at 6:00pm. The winner of that game will take on the Washington Huskies on Thursday at 2:30pm. What will head coach Johnny Dawkins do to
try to turn the tide versus the Beavers? How will they react after a rough
loss on the road to end the season after seemingly grabbing much needed momentum
after stunning Arizona State and USC? Can Stanford find that consistency
which is needed on both sides of the court, a trait they seemed to exemplify at
times during the non-conference portion of their schedule? Hopefully, the
Stanford faithful will see all the answers they need and want on the court in
just four days from now.
Stanford at Arizona - Box Score and Play-by-Play
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