After sitting at home for the Christmas break riding a three-game losing streak that culminated in a 100-87 loss at Texas Tech, the Stanford Cardinal were looking to work out those final kinks before heading into Pacific-10 Conference play versus the CAA's James Madison Dukes. Stanford came out flat, sluggish, and rusty, falling behind 9-0 early, but clawed their way back in the first half, battled back-and-forth until a final run put enough distance between the two schools as Stanford fought their way to a 80-76 victory at Maples Pavilion on Tuesday night. Stanford moves to 6-6, while James Madison drops to 6-5.
The game started off with James Madison opening the game in a weird defensive scheme they would change from time-to-time, alternating between a zone and a Triangle-and-2, forcing a long three-pointer from Mann that was off the mark. Darren White made a long ball from the left wing to open the scoring, then Dazzmond Thornton got a layup after a Mann miss to push the lead to 5-0, prompting a quick 30-second timeout from head coach Johnny Dawkins. An airball by Mann led to another JMU opportunity, where White dunked it home to make it 9-0 out of the gate.. Two free throws by Mann finally put Stanford on the board and a Dukes turnover seemed to calm the home side down. Andrew Zimmerman converted on an offensive rebound and Landry Fields stole the ball and flew in for a one-hand jam to get the Cardinal within three before the first media timeout.
Denzel Bowles followed up a three-pointer by Matt Parker to get the Dukes up 14-6, but two field goals by Fields, the first off a great give-and-go by Zimmerman, cut the lead down to four, 14-10, at the 13:35 mark. Landry was on the mark after a couple of empty possessions, making a left-wing three to bring Stanford within one, before Bowles went inside and got another easy bucket. Emmanuel Igbinosa then hit a corner pocket three-pointer, completing the comeback from being down 9-0, heading into the media break.
Drew Shiller made his presence known, draining a three-pointer from the left wing, completing a 13-2 run for Stanford. However, Bowles made back-to-back hoops, the latter from the free throw line after gobbling up an offensive rebound to put the visitors back in front. Shiller, though, wasn't done, getting a left corner trifecta and a tough layup off a missed alley-oop by James Madison. A floater by Pierre Curtis brought the Dukes within two, 24-22, with 7:31 to go in the first stanza.
Coming out of the break, Stanford changed their defensive scheme, going to a weird looking 2-3 to thwart the big man in the middle, but Bowles was able to grab another rebound off a miss and draw the foul on Jack Trotter. The ensuing free throws knotted the score up again at 24. Both teams couldn't make open shots, with Zimmerman and Trotter each missing from just inside the perimeter, until Bowles got two more charity shots and Julius Wells made a jumper in the paint. Fields, off the bench after resting for a few minutes, countered with a pair at the line, edging the Dukes advantage down to two. An offensive foul by Fields on a beautiful drive thwarted another chance at a tie as the teams went to their benches at the 3:36 mark for a final breather before the halftime buzzer.
Fields' three-pointer was pure off an Elliott Bullock steal, but Wells made a long two to keep the Dukes out in front. Misses by Fields and Jeremy Green hampered Stanford's efforts to tie it back up, while Bowles made another pair of freebies, getting JMU back up by six, 34-28, at the 1:48 mark. Two misses by Shiller led to a long rebound, gobbled up by the Dukes and translated into a breakaway dunk before a Zimmerman baseline jumper stemmed the tide. Fields got a gift from the Dukes on Stanford's next possession as JMU's save opportunity in front of their bench was tossed right to Landry under the bucket, who sent it home for two. After a tie-up and a near turnover, Stanford had 1.3 seconds left to get more points on the board. Shiller made a pass into the paint where Zimmerman was open for the layup at the buzzer, giving Stanford much needed momentum going into halftime as the Cardinal were now down just two, 36-34.
For the half, Stanford shot just 38% from the field, making 50% of their three-pointers, but were a perfect 4-4 at the charity stripe. James Madison started off hot, cooled off, but maintained enough the stretch to shoot an even 50% from the field. The Dukes were just 2-7 (29%) from beyond the arc, but also converted all six of their free throw opportunities. Stanford dished out 10 assists and turned the ball over eight times, while James Madison passed out eight assists, but were in the giving mood, committing 15 turnovers, leading to 18 Stanford points. JMU, however, dominated in the paint, outrebounding Stanford 24-11 at the break.
Stanford was led by Fields' 15 points on 6-10 shooting. Shiller scored eight off the bench, while Zimmerman was next in line with six. JMU was led by Bowles' 14 points and 11 rebounds as the big man was as good as advertised, making all four shots from the field and all six of his free throws. White scored nine off the bench, while Wells was next in line with six.
The second half started off with a Dukes turnover and miss, squeezed around a Green jumper that was long, but Stanford scored on its next possession when Green got an offensive rebound and putback to tie the score at 36. A Ben Louis three-pointer gave the Dukes the advantage back, but Z cut it to one after a goaltending call on Fowles. A turnover by Louis led to a beautiful feed from Fields to a streaking Mann for the one-handed dunk that Jarrett used every inch of his body to make. Wells countered with a jumper in the paint before Stanford missed several shots on a long possession that would have given them back the lead. Green made a sweet looking reverse layup in traffic after a miss by JMU, putting Stanford out in front, 42-41, at the first media timeout of the second stanza.
After misses by both squads, Green took an inbounds pass from Mann at the baseline and drained a right corner three-pointer to push Stanford's lead to four, then Zimmerman converted a rebound into a layup giving the Cardinal their biggest lead of the night so far at six. Bowles stopped the madness briefly with an inside deuce, but Fields was true on a left-wing three, granting Stanford a 50-43 lead and garnering a time out by Dukes head coach Matt Brady. JMI seemed to respond, getting a two-pointer on their next possession, but a Green jumper (he appears to have his shooting hand taped up pretty well, which seems to have hampered his shot a bit) in the lane brought Stanford back in front by seven, at the 11:26 point of the second half.
Stanford's next possession yielded a running dunk by Zimmerman as Bowles could only look on with three personal fouls. However, a Wells three and a simultaneous foul by Trotter gave the Dukes the break they needed as they netted four points on the possession, effectively erasing half of the Cardinal lead. Igbinosa's offensive rebound kept the next possession alive for Stanford and he took advantage by passing inside to Zimmerman for the easy two. Before the Cardinal could breathe a sigh of relief, Wells made another big three-pointer and was fouled in the process. Fortunately, he missed the free throw, keeping the Dukes from getting within a possession of the home team. Stanford, though, couldn't convert and Bowles made an easy bucket inside to get JMU within two. An Igbinosa runner was countered by another Bowles two, and the Dukes tied it up on their next chance down the floor as Wells hit a long two-pointer to tie the game up at 58 with 7:18 to go. Green made a runner in the lane to answer the shot by James Madison and the Cardinal survived two misses by Alioune Diouf at close range to stay up by a basket at the next-to-last media break with 6:26 left in the game.
The Cardinal couldn't make their next shot, but Bowles could as he drove past his defender for the layup, equaling the score at 60 before Green made one of his own. Mann stole the ball from Curtis, drawing the foul from his defender, sending the sophomore to the line where he calmly knocked down two of them, doubling Stanford's advantage to four, 64-60. Bowles had the ball knocked away by Green, giving JMU their 25th turnover of the game. Stanford nearly fumbled the ball away, but got several looks to extend the lead, finally getting an Igbinosa "And 1" opportunity off a nice pass by Mann from the top of the key. He would miss the free throw, but a Fields offensive rebound gave Stanford new life. James Madison was unable to stop Stanford on the boards, as they grabbed miss after miss before Fields was fouled inside by White with 3:13 remaining in the game.
Fields came out of the timeout to make one of two at the line, while Bowles missed a short turnaround jumper in the paint, allowing Stanford to run some clock. Mann was fouled on the next possession, splitting two freebies of his own before Louis stopped the extended run with an offensive board and put back, bringing the Dukes within six, with 2:18 to go in the game. Pressure from James Madison didn't stop Stanford out of the timeout as Green found his way to the hoop for two. Curtis made a layin on the other end with 1:52 left, but Mann made good on one of two free throws to get the advantage back up to three possessions. Igbinosa corralled a steal from Wells, but Fields missed a shot. Not to worry as another offensive rebound came to Mann. However, he would miss both shots this time at the charity stripe, giving JMU one last chance for the comeback win.
Zimmerman committed a foul on Wells inside with 56.3 seconds remaining and the sophomore from Toledo got both of the shots to drop, cutting the edge to 71-66. Shiller was fouled by Bowles as the Cardinal broke the Dukes pressure and he calmly made both of his free throws. Wells missed a jumper and Shiller was fouled on a breakaway attempt by Louis. Shiller made both to give Stanford a 75-66 lead with 35.8 seconds left in the game. Wells drained a top-of-the-key trey to give JMU a glimmer of hope with 26.7 ticks left, but Fields finally put the game out of reach with two points of his own from the free throw line. A Wells three-pointer at the buzzer finished off the scoring.
For the contest, Stanford shot just 40% from the field and three-point line, but did make 18-25 at the line, finishing at 72% from the charity stripe. James Madison finished the game at 52% from the field, making 44% of their three-point attempts and 80% (12-15) of their opportunities from the free throw line. Stanford came out like gangbusters on the boards, losing the battle by just three, 38-35, but they managed to nab an incredible 19 offensive rebounds to 12 for the Dukes. The Cardinal had 18 assists to 12 turnovers for the evening, while JMU had 11 assists and 26 turnovers, a season high by a Stanford opponent.
Leading four players in double-figures, Fields scored 24 (and had a team-high nine rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double) to lead the way on 7-16 shooting from the field and 8-10 from the free throw line. After a slow start, Green found a way to get 15 points for the game, while Zimmerman netted 14 and Shiller finished the game with 12. Wells scored 23 of his 29 points in the second half, leading the Dukes, to go along with nine rebounds on 10-22 shooting. Bowles was next with 22 points on 8-9 shooting, but he did not get a single rebound or free throw attempt in the second half for the visitors. White had 10 to round out the top scorers for JMU.
After the game, coach Dawkins praised the Dukes, calling them "very competitive" as the win was seen as "a great win for our guys." Dawkins said the team has "learned a lot from these experiences" and believes the pre-conference season will only help them in the long run. With the "courage" and "ability to compete," Dawkins believes those two strengths will guide them to sustained success down the stretch,.
Stanford begins Pac-10 play on Saturday afternoon as they head to Berkeley to
take on Mike Montgomery and the California Golden Bears at 4:00pm PST.
Stay tuned to The Bootleg for "And 1" with columnist Kevin
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