"Growing Pains" Continue For Stanford In Loss

Men's Hoops Editor Ray Salloom provides the Bootleg faithful a look at the game flow, stats, and facts after Stanford's final rally ran out of steam as the Cardinal lost a heartbreaker to Oklahoma State, 71-70, at Maples Pavilion on Wednesday night. Read how the Cardinal struggled at the free throw line but did not quit as they fought their way almost all the way back in this contest.

Coming off an 85-69 win over the UC Davis Aggies on Sunday evening, the Cardinal were presented with a much stiffer test on Wednesday night as the Oklahoma State Cowboys came to town, taking part in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, a string of games so far dominated by the former conference thus far in 2009-10.  Stanford, looking for personal and league pride, came out sluggish and struggled to hold onto the ball and make shots from the free throw line.  Down by 15 early in the second half, the Cardinal managed to make a furious rally at the end, but they came up just short, losing 71-70 on Wednesday night to the Oklahoma State Cowboys.  Oklahoma State moves to 9-1 on the season, while Stanford falls to 5-4.

Both teams came out sloppily, committing ticky-tack fouls and giving the ball away, but Stanford was able to get out to a quick 6-2 lead after Andrew Zimmeman ran the length of the court against the Cowboys' press.  However, Oklahoma State used free throws and layups, plus a steal under Stanford's basket off an inbounds play to take a 9-6 advantage before a Landry Fields long two-pointer stopped the OSU run just after the first media break of the contest.  As Stanford continued to pile up the turnovers, the Cowboys continued to make Stanford pay, scoring nine early points off seven Cardinal mistakes (five from point guard Jarrett Mann), helping the visitors from Stillwater push the lead out to seven, 18-11, after a James Anderson three-pointer from the left wing.

While Stanford was compiling a highlight reel full of errors against their athletically fit opponent, the aggressiveness by Oklahoma State was beginning to take its toll on the foul ledger as active Matt Pilgrim picked up three fouls after scoring seven points and four rebounds off the bench, while starting forward Marshall Moses had two of his own just three minutes into the game.  However, the Cardinal weren't able to take advantage of the bonus situation as they missed four of their first five throws.  Two long balls by Keiton Page, squeezed over a three-pointer by Jeremy Green, gave the Cowboys an eight-point lead, 24-16, with 10:17 left in the first half.  A Fields dunk stemmed the tide momentarily, but two jumpers by Anderson and Roger Franklin got the lead to double-digits, 28-18, with more than eight minutes left in the opening stanza.

Zimmerman free throws helped get the Cardinal within eight at one point, but a three-point play by Anderson put the lead back up at an even dozen, 33-21, at the 4:32 mark.  A fast break led to a Mann dunk which was followed by a stepping over the line turnover by OSU, breathing some life into Stanford's game with 3:07 left in the first half.  Mann's inbounds pass after a near turnover on the baseline yielded a Trotter three-point play, cutting the lead down to seven with under three minutes to play.  A tough jumper by Green just outside the paint brought Stanford within five, 37-32, with 52 ticks remaining.  Anderson rimmed out a long three-pointer from the left corner with 30 seconds left, leaving Stanford with one more possession before the half.  Unfortunately, a set play was thwarted by the Cowboys, settling the deficit at five points going into the half.

At the half, Stanford was shooting 40% from the field (48% inside the arc, 14% outside the line), but made just five of 12 free throws, finishing the half at a 42% clip.  Oklahoma State shot 37% from the field (55% inside the three-point line, 17% outside the arc) and was a perfect 4-4 from the line.  The Cowboys outrebounded the Cardinal 26-21 (7-4 on the offensive glass) and turned the ball over eight times to Stanford's nine.  Fields led the Cardinal with 10 points at the break, while Anderson had 14 to lead OSU.

The second half started off with the Cardinal missing an opportunity to cut the lead further and Oklahoma State took advantage hitting two triples to bump the lead back to nine before a Mann layup stopped the momentum for a few seconds.  Oklahoma State, though, started to impose their will on the Cardinal, extending the lead to a dozen after an Anderson three-pointer with 14:25 left in the game and then 14 after a long make by Obi Muonelo, prompting head coach Johnny Dawkins to take a timeout and settle his troops down after missing on consecutive long balls on their side of the court.  Could Stanford muster one more run in front of what had been a semi-raucous crowd so far on the evening?

The opening possession coming out of the timeout seemed promising enough as Fields went inside for an acrobatic two, but Muonelo drew the fourth foul on Fields with 12:58 to go while making a shot.  The ensuing free throw got the lead up to 15.  Stanford cut the lead to 12 right before the media timeout on a Mann free throw, yet Oklahoma State continued their hot shooting in the second half, making a long three after a Green three-pointer.  Green, though answered with another one from the right corner to cut the lead to nine, only to see Anderson convert a three-point play with 10:43 left, bringing a groan from the crowd.

Stanford wouldn't quit, though, continuing to attempt runs at the Cowboys.  Another hard three-pointer by Green at 7:26 left in the half got the advantage down to seven, 59-52, but Franklin hit a shot that bounced off the rim several times before going in for the visitors, bumping the lead back up to nine at the second-to-last media break.  Both teams traded baskets for the next few possessions, but OSU's were of the three-point variety, assisting them to an 11-point edge with 5:35 remaining in the contest.  A Zimmerman steal and Fields streaking layin brought Stanford within nine, then Landry followed that shot up with a tough move inside versus Muonelo to get Stanford with seven, 67-60, with 3:36 left in the game.

After Green missed a wide open three-pointer after an Anderson miss that would have cut the lead down to four for the first time in ages, Fields drove inside for a tough shot which brought Stanford to within five with 2:41 left in the game.  Muonelo drove inside on Fields, stopping in the paint to hit a tough jumper, but Fields found Zimmerman for the easy deuce with under 120 seconds left.  After some minor pressure, Ray Penn forced a bad pass to a Cowboy who wasn't looking for one, giving the Cardinal a break that had to seize.  Unfortunately, Green missed an open three-pointer from the top of the key and Fields' pass to Zimmerman's was off the big man's hands. 

Stanford fouled on the next possession and got another chance as OSU missed the front-end of the one-and-one.  This time, the Cardinal found Zimmerman inside for the quick deuce.  On the next possession, Anderson laid an elbow into Zimmerman at the top of the circle, drawing the offensive foul on the star.  Zimmerman was found again by Mann inside for two, cutting the lead down incredibly to one, 69-68 with 37 seconds left in the suddenly close game.  Penn was fouled by Shiller with 18 seconds left and the guard hit both.  Fields was fouled next to the Stanford sideline with 12 seconds remaining and he calmed drained both charity stripe efforts, bringing the Cowboys lead down to one, 71-70.  The Cardinal looked to foul right away and got what they wished for as Page, an 82% free throw shooter, missed the front end of the one-and-one opportunity.  Green dribbled up to past midcourt and called Stanford's last timeout of the game with 6.4 ticks left.  A pass to Zimmerman at the right wing was drawn up and the big man drove down the lane for the attempt off the glass.  Unfortunately, the shot was too hard off the boards and the Cardinal were left wanting again after suffering their third tough defeat of the season.

After the game, Dawkins said that the last play was drawn up for Fields to get the ball from Zimmerman, but OSU "defended it well" even as Zimmerman attempted what the head coach called "a courageous play." 

For the contest, Stanford shot 47% from the field (54% in the second half), but were just 4-16 (25%) from beyond the arc and 12-24 (50%) from the free throw line.  Oklahoma State made 44% of their shots from the field, but hit on 57% in the second stanza, to propel them to the win.  The Cowboys were 9-30 (30%) from the three-point line and shot 8-11 (73%) from the charity stripe.  OSU outrebounded Stanford by just one, 38-37, as both teams finished the night with nine offensive rebounds.  The Cardinal dished out 15 assists while turning the ball over 14 times, while the Cowboys had 13 assists and 17 turnovers.

Fields led the Cardinal with 22 points and 12 rebounds on 10-17 shooting in 34 minutes of play.  He was hampered with four fouls for most of the second half, but continued to be aggressive, something he wanted to continue doing despite the possibility of fouling out.  Green scored 19 and had six rebounds, Zimmerman finished with 14, and Mann had the most interesting line of the night, scoring 10 points on 3-7 shooting from the floor and 4-10 at the free throw line, dishing our seven assists, but committing nine turnovers.  To his credit, Mann had seven of those in the first 10 minutes, playing his way out of what was a terrible start to an evening at home.  Oklahoma State was led by Anderson's 28 on 10-19 shooting.  Muonelo was next in line for the winning side with 20 points and eight rebounds.

Stanford will head on the road tomorrow and face the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday, the 19th, at 11:00am PST in Evanston, Illinois.  Stay tuned to The Bootleg as Kevin Danna's "And 1" will be coming up soon, along with a special game-time blog of the evening's events from Daniel Novinson.

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