The Stanford Cardinal came back home to the friendly confines of Maples Pavilion on Sunday night to open up their home slate of games in the 2009-10 campaign versus the Cal Poly Mustangs. After a disappointing effort in their opening night 77-64 loss on the road versus the University of San Diego, Stanford was looking to up the defensive pressure that was missing on Friday evening and stick to that game plan throughout the contest. Stanford took an early double-digit lead and never let Cal Poly get within a possession the rest of the way as the Cardinal won their first game of the season by a final score of 70-53 over the Mustangs.
Stanford used some stifling defense, along with some hot shooting, to open up the contest on a 10-1 run in the first 3:55 of play. Two nice shots by Jack Trotter and three-pointers from Landry Fields and Drew Shiller highlighted the offense, but solid perimeter defense got things started for Stanford on half of those points, including a shot clock violation against the Mustangs. A Jarrett Mann steal and breakaway dunk pushed the lead up to double-digits before Cal Poly settled down and started to trade baskets with Stanford.
After a three-point play by the Mustangs cut the lead back down to 10, 19-9, Emmanuel Igbinosa grabbed an impressive offensive rebound under the basket and put it right back in for two, bumping the lead back to a dozen with just under 10 minutes remaining in the half. Lorenzo Keeler hit a long three from just left of the top of the key to keep the Mustangs in the game, cutting the lead back to 10 with just over eight minutes remaining.
Both squads went cold from the field, missing shots from near and far before a three-pointer from Jeremy Green out of the right wing gave Stanford a 30-17 lead going into the final media timeout of the half. However, Cal Poly would not go quietly as they turned up the defensive pressure and forced a couple of hurried shots from the Cardinal. Booker hit a long jumper that had a high degree of difficulty over Shiller, cutting the Stanford lead to nine, 32-23, with 1:57 left in the half. A couple of turnovers by Stanford, though, didn't further dent their lead as the Mustangs missed a couple of chances from the field, leaving the lead at nine for the home side heading into halftime.
At the half, Stanford's shooting took a tumble in the last 10 minutes as they made just 35% from the floor, including 31% from outside, but did make all four of their free throw attempts. Cal Poly finished the half at 36% overall, made just one three-pointer in five attempts, but went to the charity stripe more off than Stanford, netting six of their 10 tries. The Cardinal held a slim rebounding advantage, 20-19, but had just three turnovers to the Mustangs' eight.
Stanford was led by Shiller, who had eight, including two long balls, followed by Fields with seven and Elliott Bullock with five off the bench. Keeler led the way for Cal Poly getting eight points. He was followed by Will Donahue who netted six.
The second half of the game started off with Cal Poly turning up their intensity once again, but this time around, making a couple of shots to cut the lead to six, 33-27, just over a minute into the final 20 minutes. A Da'Veed Dildy lay-in helped extend the advantage up to nine, prompting Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero to use third timeout of the game before the Cardinal could push the lead any further. His pep talk seemed to work on his team as they aggressively went to the basket against Stanford, getting a couple of baskets inside, but Fields and Jack Trotter made their own shots to keep the Mustangs at bay, bumping the edge to 11 at the first media timeout of the second half of play.
Fields continued to take his shots at the Cal Poly defense and got a long one to fall from the left wing, kicking the lead up to 12. As the game seemed to start to tilt heavily to Stanford, Justin Brown hit a three-pointer over a defender to get the Mustangs within striking distance at 11, but a Trotter dunk slowed down the Mustangs' momentum and gave Stanford back a 13-point lead, 51-38, at the 11:16 mark of the second half.
After a Mustangs free throw, Shiller drained a three-pointer from the corner, giving Stanford their biggest advantage of the night, 15, at 54-39. Stanford began to assert itself further over the next four minutes, getting timely shots from Jarrett Mann from long distance and Bullock from near three-point land to push their lead up to 18, 61-43, with 7:54 left in the contest.
Every time the Mustangs tried to shoot themselves back into the game, the Cardinal would make a key basket or a defensive stop to stem the tide, keeping the lead above 15 the rest of the way. The remaining minutes were highlighted by a Dildy breakaway dunk, a tough layup by Fields in the paint, and freshman point guard Gabriel Harris seeing his first action (and getting his first steal) of the season for the Cardinal.
For the contest, Stanford's shooting in the second half (50%) helped them finish the night making 42% of their shots from the floor, including 33% from outside. The Cardinal also made 11 out of 19 (58%) from the free throw line. Cal Poly's shooting percentage stayed consistent as they finished the game at 39% overall, hitting two three-pointers out of eight attempts, and shot 63% from the charity stripe. The shorter Mustangs outrebounded the Cardinal by two, 38-36. While Stanford did get 12 offensive rebounds to Cal Poly's eight, they lost the second chance points battle by a 12-5 margin. The most stunning statistic, however, was that Cal Poly finished the evening with just two assists (Stanford had 13), while turning the ball over 19 times (Stanford had nine) on the evening.
Stanford was led by Fields who had 22 points and seven rebounds on 7-16 shooting, followed by Shiller who tallied 11, and Mann and Trotter who scored 10 each. Keeler led Cal Poly with 15 points, while Brown had 11 and Donahue posted a double-double for the Mustangs with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
After the game, head coach Johnny Dawkins was somewhat pleased with his team's efforts tonight, saying they "played real well defensively" and their "communication is getting better" after Cal Poly threw some sets at his team that they had not seen before. Dawkins believes that for his team to be successful this season, they have "to be a close knit group," and tonight appeared to be a step in the right direction, although they were not able to completely pull away from the Mustangs until the closing minutes of the game.
Stanford will play their next game on Wednesday night as they take on the
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at 7:00pm at Maples Pavilion.
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