Two weeks ago the Stanford Cardinal played their last game, an 83-64 victory over Portland State, before taking the time to go through final exams on the Farm. Stanford has a few more tests in front of it in non-conference play before they take on the Pac-10, starting with tonight's contest versus the UC Davis Aggies. The Cardinal were able to use an opening flurry of steals and offensive rebounding to open up a quick 14-0 advantage en route to a 85-69 win. The Cardinal are now 5-3 on the season, while the Aggies fall to 3-6.
Stanford started off the game energized, looking to pickpocket the Aggies at every corner. Four steals and a plethora of offensive boards helped everyone stake a claim in getting Stanford out to an early 14-0 lead as every player on the floor scored for the home side. Davis continued to try and stymie the offensive rhythm of the Cardinal with an aggressive 2-1-2 defensive scheme, but Stanford would not be dissuaded from taking it to their counterparts, moving the ball slickly around the perimeter before finding the open man for the easy shot.
After the first media timeout, however, the Aggies calmed down and began to play within themselves, getting a couple of easy buckets. After getting the advantage down to 11, 16-5 at the 13:43, the Cardinal unleashed some of their bombers from beyond the arc as Drew Shiller nailed two from the left wing and Fields followed with one of his own, bumping the lead to 18, with 11:14 to go in the first stanza. Jeremy Green got his second trifecta, nailing one from way beyond the right wing, answering the right corner shot of Davis' rifleman Mark Payne, keeping the lead at 17, 28-11.
The Cardinal allowed Davis to get within 14, 30-16 after a Julian Welch three-pointer, before going on an 8-0 run, highlighted by an Andrew Zimmerman dunk off a feed from Landry Fields, to stretch the lead to 38-16 at the 4:24 mark of the first half. Following the last media timeout, Fields continued to assert himself inside as he got three free throws and a dunk off a fast break induced by Shiller's willingness to hit the floor for a steal, getting the Cardinal lead to 47-24 at intermission.
For the half, Stanford shot 55% from the field, including 50% outside the arc, 57% inside the three-point area, and a nice 6-7 from the free throw line. UC Davis finished the first 20 minutes making just 31% of their shots from the floor, including 44% outside the three-point line, 23% within the perimeter, and were 6-10 from the charity stripe. Stanford's hustle was evident on the boards and the open court as they outrebounded Davis 22-11, including 8-4 on the offensive glass, and got seven steals to the Aggies' five. The Cardinal dished out 11 assists to seven turnovers, while UC Davis tallied five assists and turned the ball over 11 times.
Stanford was led by Fields' 14 points on 4-6 shooting (5-6 from the free throw line) and was followed by Jarrett Mann who scored seven and a four-pack of players with six each, including Jack Trotter, who also had nine rebounds (five offensive) in 13 minutes of play. UC Davis was led by center Dominic Calegari's eight points. Calegari was followed by Payne's six points and Welch's four.
As the second half began, most eyes were focused on whether or not Stanford could maintain and extend the 23-point lead they had on UC Davis. The Cardinal's attempt to answer that question was quickly stuffed as Davis came out the aggressors, getting five quick points to put some life into their supporters making the trip. A three-point play by Trotter stemmed the rising Aggies tide, then a wide open left wing three-pointer by Green seemed to stop it cold, giving Stanford a 53-29 edge with 18:08 to go in the game. Davis, though, wouldn't go quietly, getting a Welch jumper to go in before Zimmerman countered with one of his own. Coming into the media timeout, Stanford had gotten their lead back up to 26, seemingly thwarting the Aggies' opening rally versus the home side.
Both squads took turns over the next four minutes to trade buckets before the Aggies put a short run together, netting a Payne layup and two Ryan Sypkens three-pointers to cut down the lead to 20, 66-46, with 11:35 remaining in the game. Head coach Johnny Dawkins had seen enough, taking a timeout to relay a few words to his program having trouble putting away their Big West rival. Stanford responded with an acrobatic inside runner by Green, who finished and was fouled on the made attempt. The free throw was good, giving the Cardinal back their 23-point lead.
UC Davis refused to give up, shaving the lead down to 21 at the 9:36 mark, but Stanford continued to catch the Aggies flat-footed on the defensive end, getting a couple of easy shots and free throw opportunities to extend their lead at the right time. Payne, though, continued to hustle for the Aggies, getting a clean pick at the top of the circle and getting a deuce, but he couldn't get the free thrown down, keeping Stanford up 20 with just eight minutes remaining. Two free throws by Trotter and a flying layup by Mann propelled Stanford back to a 24-point lead with 6:52 left in the game, while Fields finished strong inside to further put away the scrappy Aggies from Davis. A long three-pointer by Calegari, a 6-10 center, stopped the 6-0 run, but UC Davis would get no closer than the final margin of 16 when all was said and done.
After the contest, Dawkins seemed happy with the effort he saw, despite looking like a team that "were off for two weeks at times." Dawkins thought that Davis was a "well-coached, tough team," but that he was also believed he saw some steps forward from his bunch as it was "good to see the growth in some of our guys." Trotter was singled out by his head coach as a man who "gave us a lot" and the center echoed the sentiments as he spent the past two weeks "focusing on [his] aggressiveness."
For the game, Stanford shot 54% from the floor, including 40% from three-point land, 59% inside the arc, and a nifty 72% from the free throw line. UC Davis finished the game strong, making 42% of their shots (including 48% in the second half) from the field, including 43% outside the arc, 41% within the three-point line, and made 67% of their tries from the charity stripe. The Aggies outscored the Cardinal 45-38 in the second half, but it was not enough to win the game. Stanford's completed the contest with a 38-30 edge on the boards, but did not get a single offensive rebound in the second half according to the final stat sheet. The Cardinal dished out 14 assists, but committed 13 turnovers for the evening, while UC Davis finished the game with 13 assists and 16 turnovers. Each team had 10 steals.
Stanford finished the game with five players in double-figures, led by Fields' 21 points on 6-11 shooting (including a solid 8-10 effort from the charity stripe) and was followed by Green's 16 and Trotter's double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Zimmerman put up 11 and seven, while Mann had 10 points and five assists, but did turn the ball over a team-high five times. UC Davis' leading scorer was Payne, who tallied 21 in the losing effort. Sypkens came on strong in the second stanza, getting 16 points on 6-9 shooting (4-5 from long distance), and was followed by Calegari's 13.
Next up for Stanford is a stiff test from the Oklahoma State Cowboys on
Wednesday evening at 8:00pm, a game that is part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood
Series, a series which the Big 12 has dominated so far in 2009, winning eight of
10 games so far with just two remaining on the schedule for the two power
conferences. The 8-1 Cowboys have only left the comforts of their home
twice, winning two games in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend and losing by 21
to Tulsa. Green is "eager to watch film and get ready for them," as is the
crew here at The Bootleg. Stay tuned for further coverage of this game and
all games here as the season progresses!
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