Coming off a thrilling 54-53 win versus the USC Trojans on Wednesday evening, the Stanford Cardinal were looking to complete a what has become rare sweep at home versus the UCLA Bruins, surprise winners of a 76-75 OT tilt in Berkeley against the California Golden Bears. With a near capacity crowd on-hand for the festivities, Stanford started and ended the game playing at a high level, defeating the Bruins 70-59 late Saturday afternoon. Stanford moves to 8-7, 2-1 in Pac-10 play while UCLA falls to 7-9, 2-2 in the conference.
Landry Fields was the man with the ball for the opening two minutes for Stanford; however he wasn't completely successful in his efforts. After opening the game with a long two-pointer from the left wing, Fields missed three shots, including a layup and a dunk, but UCLA was equally unsuccessful on their end of the floor, committing a couple of turnovers and missing a couple of shots. An offensive rebound and stick-back jam and an open right-side two by Jeremy Green caused Bruins head coach to call his first timeout of the game with his squad down 6-2 at the 16:12 mark of the first half.
After a Michael Roll three-pointer cut the Cardinal lead in half, the Bruins came out in a zone defense which they used effectively versus the Bears. Green launched a three-pointer that was long, but James Keefe fouled him, sending the sophomore to the line where he made two of three. After a long Roll miss, Green hit a long step-back trifecta from near the right corner, giving Stanford a 13-5 lead and prompting Howland to call another timeout with 12:51 left in the first half.
Out of the 30-second break, Jerime Anderson went to work for the Bruins, hitting a driving layup and a rainbow baseline jumper to cut the lead in half before the media timeout. UCLA continued to use their zone defense, which the Cardinal seemed to have moderate success breaking on occasion, including a nice pass from Da'Veed Dildy to Jarrett Mann for a layin. Other times, Stanford played confused and tentative, opting to pass around the perimeter and try a long shot. The Bruins took advantage, chipping away at the lead, getting it down to one, 17-16, on a high difficulty layup by Malcolm Lee, but a Green right baseline jumper propped the lead back up to three before the next media break.
The Cardinal continued to miss layup opportunities while the Bruins finally knotted the score, tying it at 21 after a Nikola Dragovic three-pointer. Dragovic put UCLA ahead after another jumper near the right baseline, but Jack Trotter slammed one home to tie the score back up. Roll and Green exchanged jumpers to keep the score all even going into the last timeout of the half. Trotter made two free throws out of the break, but Dragovic nailed a long three-pointer from nearly straight on to give the Bruins a one-point advantage. Neither team could run away from the other in the final three minutes of the half as a Green three-pointer from Casey Jacobsen distance was answered by Roll twice, with his last being a three-pointer from the right corner with nine seconds left in the half. However, Green had the final word of the opening 20 minutes, banking in a 30-footer from the sideline in front of the stunned Bruins, bringing Stanford back in front 34-33 at the half.
For the first half, Stanford shot 41% from the floor, 38% outside the three-point line, and hit on 7 of 11 free throws (64%). UCLA was en fuego during the first half, netting 57% of their shots from the field, 50% from long distance, and 3-4 at the charity stripe. The Bruins outrebounded the Cardinal 18-13, but Stanford managed to get more offensive rebounds (5-2) than UCLA. UCLA passed out eight assists and committed a 12 turnovers (helping Stanford stay in the game as they took advantage on several occasions), while Stanford had just five assists and seven turnovers at the break.
Stanford was led by Green's 17 points on 6-10 shooting (3-5 from deep). Trotter was next in line with six, while Mann had five and Fields had four on just 2-10 from the floor. Roll led's UCLA with 10 points on 4-7 shooting, Dragovic scored eight, and three players (Anderson, Lee, and Reeves Nelson) had four each.
The second half opened up with three turnovers, before Lee got an outlet pass and scored over Zimmerman on the fast break to give UCLA back the lead they had fought so hard to get in the first half. Fields got it right back for Stanford on the next possession, but a three-point play by Lee off a series of passes around the Cardinal defense seemed to get the momentum firmly onto the Bruins' side. Fields would have no part of that assumption, though, as he drained left elbow jumper to tie the game up at 38. Green answered after another Bruins turnover, hitting a long, top-of-the key three to put Stanford back on top. Howland called a quick timeout to settle his players down, in hopes of regaining the edge they seemed to get just a few moments before the 5-0 Stanford run.Trotter got an easy layup after another well-designed out of bounds play, making the streak 7-0 for Stanford and giving the Cardinal their first multi-possession lead since the middle of the first half of play. Nelson stopped the run after gobbling up a long Roll miss. Green got the lead up to 48-42 on another long ball from the right wing, but a three-pointer by Honeycutt quickly zapped the advantage in half as the Cardinal could not get the lead to get any larger before the next media timeout.
A Fields three-pointer from the left wing as his defender sagged off of him doubled the lead again to six, but Roll drove to the hoop and got the foul, giving him two free throws he would make at just over 10 minutes left in the game. Keefe then drained an open three to cut the lead down to one and caused a turnover on the Cardinal end. However, UCLA botched the opportunity and Green hit a fadeaway, rainbow, baseline two to give Stanford back a bit of a breathing room at 53-50 with 8:36 left in the game. After Howland called his second-to-last timeout of the half, Dragovic made a tough jumper of his own before the teams headed to their benches for some much needed rest after a timeout for the media.
Stanford came out of the timeout a little shaky, but they played some good hoops leading up to Howland's last timeout with 6:10 to go in the game. A Zimmerman free throw, a drive by Green on Roll for an easy two, then a steal by Fields led to another layup for the senior after a pass back out to Drew Shiller, giving the Cardinal back a six-point lead and forcing the UCLA head coach to stop the bleeding. Dragovic stopped the run with a free throw, but a Fields soft dunk down the lane and an offensive foul by Anderson on a drive gave the Cardinal an opportunity to put away the Bruins. Green pump-faked his way to the line, drawing Roll's fourth foul, where he made one of two freebies, giving Stanford a 61-53 lead with just over five minutes left in the game. The Bruins, though, were not done fighting as they turned a block and save by Dragovic into a Lee layup over Zimmerman. Another miss by the Cardinal put some more life into the Bruins, but Lee was called for an offensive foul as he extended his arm into Zimmerman, placing the lead at six with 3:21 to go in the game.
Zimmerman came back on the next possession and put back his own miss and Roll had a pass go off his shoulders as he was calling for the ball. A Mann miss and a Dragovic layup brought the Bruins back within six, but Mann was fouled as he tried to make a shot after a pass inside the lane. The sophomore made one of two, but the Cardinal corralled the offensive rebound after Z hit it back out in a struggle for the ball. Green then made the play of the game, making an acrobatic layup to give him 30 for the afternoon, putting Stanford up nine with under 90 seconds to go in the contest. The only remaining excitement was when Nelson was called for a technical foul as he appeared to elbow Zimmerman after getting called for his fifth foul of the game. A long delay ensued before the call was ultimately made, but the end result were the sealing free throws for the Cardinal in their win, finishing off their first sweep in Pac-10 play at home since beating Washington and Washington State to close out their home slate at the end of the 2007-2008 season.
After the contest, head coach Johnny Dawkins was pleased with the team's performance, but noted that this team needs to "continue to get better in every area" as they come down the stretch of the 2009-10 season. Dawkins noted how he was proud of Fields as "he was able to bounce back in a half" after having a poor opening 20 minutes. Jeremy Green noted his injuries to the gathered media, including his ever sore ankle which occurred before the season started, a bone bruise on his shooting hand after being fouled and landing on it at Northwestern, and a pulled lat which happened in the USC game on Wednesday. That he was able to do what he did tonight shows what a tough competitor the Texan is for Stanford.
For the contest, Stanford shot 47% from the field (54% in the second half), hit 43% of their long balls, and were a decent 61% (14-23) at the free throw line. UCLA closed the game shooting 55% from the field, 38% at the three-point arc, and 70% from the charity stripe. The Bruins outrebounded Stanford 30-25, but the Cardinal doubled up UCLA on the offensive glass, 10-5. Stanford dished out 12 assists and turned the ball over 13 times, while UCLA got 13 assists, but tallied 23 turnovers with a good helping of those being unforced in nature. The Cardinal outscored the Bruins 25-16 as a result of the giveaways.
Stanford was led by Green's career high 30 points on 11-18 shooting, including 5-8 from the three-point stripe. Fields finished with 16 points and seven rebounds on 7-16 shooting from the field, while big man Trotter had 10 for Stanford. Mann led the team with eight assists while only turning the ball over twice. UCLA was led by Dragovic's 13 points, while Roll had 12 and Lee scored 11 for the Bruins.
Stanford goes on the road to face Lorenzo Romar and the Washington Huskies on Thursday evening at 7:30pm in Seattle. Stay tuned to The Bootleg for "And 1" with Kevin "Kevo" Danna!
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