The Stanford Cardinal made the long trip to Kansas to face their Missouri Valley Conference opponent, the Wichita State Shockers, looking to continue on their postseason journey in the College Basketball Invitational. Playing in front of a near sellout crowd (8,816) at the Charles Koch Arena, the Cardinal bolted out to a 20-point lead in the first half, withstood a spirited Wichita State rally in the second half, before ultimately prevailing by a final score of 70-56. Stanford moves to 20-13 on the season while Wichita State ends the year at 17-17. The Cardinal move on to the CBI Semifinals to be played on Wednesday evening as they'll head to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers, 71-70 overtime winners at home over Vermont.
The Cardinal got off to a hot start, running out to a 15-4 lead with 12:38 to go in the first half, getting shots from Lawrence Hill, Landry Fields, and Anthony Goods, two of those from deep, quickly quieting the home crowd who were loud to start off the contest. After a couple of traded baskets, Jeremy Green came into the game and made his presence known immediately, hitting two big three-pointers to push the advantage to 15, 25-10, with 8:45 left in the half. Four more points in a row for Stanford made is 29-10, but Wichita State calmed down a bit, cutting the lead down to 32-18 after a free throw by Toure' Murry with 3:47 to go in the half. Stanford, though, would not the Shockers get any closer, closing out the half with a Mitch Johnson layup in the lane, giving the Cardinal a 42-26 lead going into the locker room.
At the half, Stanford shot 61% from the floor, made 4-7 of their three-pointers, and was also 4-7 from the free throw line. Wichita State converted on 32% of their attempts from the field, was 2-9 from beyond the arc, and made 6-10 from the charity stripe. The Cardinal narrowly outrebounded the Shockers, 17-16, although Wichita State got six offensive rebounds to Stanford's two. Meanwhile, the Cardinal did a tremendous job holding into the ball against a pressing and zoning Shockers squad, committing just two turnovers while dishing out 10 assists. Wichita State logged only three assists, but did turn the ball over just four times. Stanford outscored Wichita State 12-10 in the paint.
Individually, Stanford was led by Hill who had 11 points on 5-7 shooting. Goods had nine on four of his eight shots, while Green and Fields tallied six and five, respectively. The Shockers were led by their outstanding freshman, Murry, who scored six on 2-6 shooting from the field. Clevin Hannah had five, while big man Garrett Stutz and David Kyles each scored four off the bench.
Could the Cardinal continue their winning ways in the second half? From the outset, Wichita State made a concerted effort to apply more pressure to the Cardinal ballhandlers, causing three turnovers in the first five minutes. However, the Shockers continued to try and shoot from the outside and saw several looks go long. Despite a Fields missed dunk, the Cardinal went inside on several possessions, getting makes from Goods, Fields, and Josh Owens, to go up 51-34 with under 15 minutes remaining in the game. After a free throw from Hill following a media timeout, Wichita State started to chip away at the lead as their defense turned it up another notch and their shots began to drop, running off six in a row to get within 12 with under 13 minutes left in the game.
Two Goods free throws after a timeout calmed things for a bit, but a dunk by JT Durley electrified the crowd, getting WSU within 11, 57-46, with 8:33 remaining in the contest. Stanford, though, tightened up on defense and the Shockers continued to try shots from long range rather than attacking the paint versus their Pac-10 opponent. As the minutes wound down, the crowd got quieter and quieter and a Hill dunk off a beautiful feed by Johnson bumped the lead back up to 16, 64-48, with just 4:33 to go. A couple of rushed layups by Kenny Brown and Johnson didn't fall, giving the Shockers one last chance at making a run at the Cardinal. One free throw by Durley cut the margin to 13 with 3:09 to go, but layups by Goods and Hill finally put the Shockers away.
For the game, Stanford shot 51% from the field, although they did cool off the second stanza, making just 40% of their field goals, hit 46% from beyond the arc, and made 10-15 at the charity stripe. Wichita State finished the contest converting on just 34% of their field goal attempts, made just four of 17 from outside the three-point line, and shot 16-24 at the free throw line. The second stanza saw the Cardinal finish up six boards on the Shockers, 37-31, as both teams got 12 offensive rebounds on the evening. The Cardinal dished out 13 assists and turned the ball over just nine times, while Wichita State passed out just six assists, but only notched seven turnovers. Stanford had 24 points in the paint to 20 for the Shockers.
Stanford was led by Hill's 21 points (8-13 shooting) and six rebounds, followed by Goods' 18 points and five boards. Green and Fields both scored nine, the latter also grabbing seven rebounds. Johnson had just the two points at the end of the first half, but he led the squad with eight assists against just one turnover. Wichita State's leading scorer was Hannah, who got 13 for the Shockers on 4-7 from the field. Next in line was Durley who nearly notched a double-double, getting 11 points and eight rebounds. Forward Ramon Clemente was third in scoring with seven.
Head coach Johnny Dawkins and the Stanford Cardinal will go back west and face the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis in the College
Basketball Invitation Semifinals on Wednesday evening. The contest will be
televised on HDNet with a start time of 7:00 pm PST. This will be the fourth time these teams have faced each other with Oregon State winning two of the three, but with the Cardinal winning their last matchup in the Pac-10 Tournament Opening Round, 62-54. It is the first time Stanford will face a team four times in a season since they faced both the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins on four occasions in the 1962-1963 season.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!