And 1:Stanford 70, UCLA 59

Men's Basketball Writer Kevin "Kevo" Danna provides the Bootleg faithful a look at the game flow, stats, facts, and his keen observations after Stanford completed a sweep of the Southern California schools with a 70-59 win over the UCLA Bruins Saturday afternoon at Maples Pavilion.

Let me first put a disclaimer on this article: I missed pretty much the whole first half because I was over in Burnham Pavilion broadcasting wrestling (shout out to Coach Jason Borrelli and his program - Lucas Espericueta, Zack Giesen and Nick Amuchastegui are flat-out beasts, and Ryan Mango is going to be an NCAA Champion as a senior at 125.  Believe the hype).  I walked in to Maples right before Jeremy Green hit a three-pointer to end the first half, so I suppose I was the lucky charm.

With that out of the way, it was just another Cardinal victory on Saturday afternoon, as Stanford knocked off the UCLA Bruins 70-59 (rest in peace to the late USC and Anaheim (yes, Anaheim) Angels broadcaster Rory Markas - he truly was a great).  All sorts of walls came down on Saturday.  The win against UCLA was Stanford's first in seven tries (the last win for Stanford against the Bru Cru was January 29, 2007 at Maples when the Bruins were ranked 2nd in the nation).  Also, for the first time in the Johnny Dawkins era, Stanford recorded a home Thursday-Saturday sweep in conference play, as their lone previous undefeated weekend in conference came last season when Stanford knocked off Cal 75-69 to improve to 2-3.  What's even more, at 2-1, Stanford is above .500 in Pac-10 play since the 2007-2008 season, which makes it another first for Johnny Dawkins and staff.

And then, of course, there was that career-high 30 for Jeremy Green.   He could not miss from the floor - ok, he missed seven of 18 shot attempts, but you know what I mean.  It was one of those days for Jeremy where you just felt like everything he threw up was going in.  Every time UCLA would get too close for comfort, it would be Sir Jeremy providing the answer.  Remember that ridiculous step-back he hit over Michael Roll right after UCLA cut it to 51-50? I'm guessing you do; how could you not?  The step-back has become one of Jeremy's go-to moves and he has really developed it nicely.  Last year, Jeremy was more of a spot-up shooter, but he has really diversified his game for 2009-2010.  Not only does he have the step-back, but he has shown a very nice mid-range jumper as well as an ability to get to the hoop, as he showed late in the second half to give Stanford a solid three possession lead.  I have also been impressed by his rebounding capabilities.  His aggressiveness definitely hints towards him being a good rebounder, but he is averaging close to four boards per game and can really sky for the missed shot.

You also have to love the play of Landry Fields on Saturday.  He only scored four in the first half, but got it going in the second with 12 to finish with 16.  He had a really good shot selection and did a great job of finding the soft spot in the defense.  While his scoring might be down a tad in conference play (16.7 ppg through three games), he is still finding other ways to be a serious contributor when his scoring is down.  He also leads the team in rebounds, steals, and blocks and had seven boards and three swipes against the Bruins.

Another star for the team was Jarrett Mann.  Coming off a game in which he made the biggest free throw of his life, Jarrett shone with dishing out eight assists and only turning the ball over twice.  He also had six points, four rebounds, and a steal.  Mann was only 4-8 from the free throw line, but his stroke continues to improve and it is just a matter of time before he becomes a more accurate charity stripe attempter.   And he will get plenty of practice from the line during the games with his ability to slash and drive to the hoop.   Once he becomes a better finisher and free-throw shooter, Jarrett can really be a 12 and six kind of guy at the "1" for Johnny Dawkins.

Bigs Jack Trotter and Andrew Zimmermann also get big love from Kevo for their work on Saturday.  I missed the first half, so supposedly I missed a couple of nice wam-bam-thank-you-slams from the Moraga native.  Other than the fact that he reached double-figures, I am most impressed by the fact that he completely neutralized one of the best post players in the conference in Reeves Nelson.  The Bruin frosh had only eight points and five rebounds despite the fact that he has a pretty significant size advantage, weight-wise, on Trotter.  Andrew Zimmermann also deserves some credit for that work as well being the other Stanford "big" to get significant minutes.  He really seemed to get underneath Nelson's skin, especially at the end of the game when he drew a couple of elbows and made three of four free throw attempts after a three-hour referee conference in which they discussed what happened on the play, whether they had heard about the recent earthquake, who they thought was going to advance to the second round of the NFL playoffs, and what time they should all meet up to go to the Hanky Panky later that night.  AZ was 4-6 from the charity stripe on the night, but those three of four really sealed the deal three nights after having troubles making free throws down the stretch.  Not the same situation, but it is still nice to see that improvement.

And last but not least, there's my boy Veed.  It doesn't matter whether he scores or not, it is just great that this guy comes in for about 10-12 minutes per game and totally steadies the team.  There is no such thing as a bad possession when Da'Veed is your play caller.  He rarely turns the ball over (just one giveaway on Saturday) and always works a lot of clock when necessary.  Oh, and he also had three steals against UCLA, which tied Landry for a team-high in that department.  Every team needs a veteran back-up point guard that can give smart minutes and play tough defense, and that's what Stanford has in Da'Veed.

This conference is wide-open.  With losses from Washington State and Oregon on Sunday, the Farm Boys are now in a tie for first place with the Ducks and Bears, the only two other teams that are above .500 in conference play.   And powerhouse Washington?  They're currently 1-3 and in last place!  Throw the pre-season predictions away - the Pac is completely up for grabs!

But the conference slate is only one-sixth finished for Stanford, and up next lies perhaps the toughest road trip of the season with tilts against the Washington schools.  The Card will take on the Huskies in Seattle on Thursday night (tip-off 7:30pm), and will probably face a very frustrated and angered UW squad coming off a tough road trip to the ‘Zonas.  Can the Dawkins Gang get to two games above .500 for the second time this season?  Fly up to Seattle, watch hopefully a Steve Physioc and Marcus Johnson broadcast, tune into 860 AM for the "color-rich tandem" of Dave Flemming and John Platz, or listen in online at (click on KZSU-2) to hear yours truly.  However you're able to watch or listen to the game, make sure you do so, and then check back on for another superb post-game wrap-up from "Boom Boom" Salloom!

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