Ducks Strike Back

If Oregon was looking to exact some revenge for their 81-57 drubbing at Maples, they did a fine job in Thursday night's 79-64 handling of the Card at Mac Court. The role reversal was best exemplified in the frontcourt play, where the Card came up empty on the boards and on the scoreboard. It was overall a flat effort in a big game for Stanford, continuing a trend of following big wins with disappointment.

As has been the case in losses, the Card came out misfiring early and often, and to make matters worse they were not getting any offensive rebounds. The exact opposite was happening on the other end of the court, where Oregon either sank a tough shot (see Andre Joseph with his unending three's) or they would just get second and third chances until they got it right. The whistles were blown frequently as Luke Ridnour only saw two minutes of first-half action, and the Stanford bigs were riding pine as well. At one point, head coach Mike Montgomery had the odd pairing of Matt Haryasz and Joe Kirchofer at the 4 and 5. Kirchofer did have a couple of nice boards and put-backs to keep Stanford in the game, but they went into the locker room trailing by nine.

The 2nd half saw much of the same trends established in the first half as Justin Davis was one of the victims of the touch-foul happy refs. Josh Childress did his vacuum thing on the glass, but struggled a bit on defense. He also had some trouble with the baseline, where he was twice called for stepping on the inline. The big story on the Oregon side was the return of Ridnour, who avoided going further into foul trouble while simultaneously hitting big three-point baskets (usually of the 2nd chance variety) and squelched the scant comeback attempts for the Cardinal. Probably most disappointing for Stanford was the fact that for the first time this season, Nick Robinson had an off night. Not much is expected offensively from Robinson, but you can usually count on his hustle and smarts to contribute.  The plays just weren't there tonight.

Credit Childress for the one really hard fought night, with 13 rebounds in a game where Stanford was feeble on the glass.  Even for the rising sophomore, there were problems finishing his putbacks and slashing drives.  His 5-for-16 shooting effort (15 points) was emblematic of a collective Cardinal curse, hitting less than 33% for the game.  Julius Barnes led the Stanford squad with 17 points, and Kirchofer and Matt Lottich each chipped in eight.  But the starting frontcourt pair of Robinson and Little totaled just six points and seven rebounds.  This was a frontcourt that had dominated the Ducks less than a month ago at Maples, but fell well short in the rematch.

Ever since Justin Davis went down a month ago, Stanford has been playing without much of a presence in the post. To counter, they have relied on at least one of the guards to be "on," and the combination of Robinson and Childress cleaning up the mess everywhere else has been enough to win games. Tonight, no one was shooting well and the lack of a threat inside is still an issue.  It was compounded by the foul trouble and Davis still working to get back to his peak. Hopefully someone will step up on Sunday versus the Beavers, or else the team will be heading back to Palo Alto with a disappointing goose egg.

Complete game box score

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