Stanford Unable to Complete Zona Sweep

Stanford faced #1 Arizona for the second time this season Saturday, but this time came up just short 72-69. On the one hand, it was a disappointing game for the Card to have shot so poorly. But considering how tight this game was against the best team in the country, you can come away pleased with a very tough defensive and rebounding effort from Stanford.

Stanford was attempting to knock off a number one ranked team for the second time in one season, a feat never accomplished according to NCAA records.  However, history was not to be made as Stanford dropped a 72-69 decision to the University of Arizona.  Stanford loomed close to the lead in the second half but failed to ever get by the Wildcats, who had led at halftime 33-30.  By virtue of their win, Arizona has now clinched the Pac-10 regular season title.

In the first half, Stanford benefited from Julius Barnes' ability to penetrate the Wildcat man to man defense.  Meanwhile, Stanford was not getting the same superb outside shooting performance they enjoyed when Stanford defeated Arizona at the McKale Center.  The rim was not friendly to the Cardinal as all they could manage was 35.4% from the floor and 18.2% from three point territory for the game.

The turning point of the first half came with 1:55 left.  Stanford led 26-25 when Luke Walton scored a field goal while coach Mike Montgomery was simultaneously called for a technical foul.  After Salim Stoudamire added one free throw from two attempts, Arizona led 28-26.  Stanford battled back to reclaim a 30-28 lead before Arizona went on a rampage inside the final minute.  Hassan Adams hit two free throws and Rick Anderson hit a three pointer right before the buzzer to send the Wildcats into the locker room leading 33-30 off a 5-0 run.

Every time Stanford attempted to reclaim the lead in the second half, Arizona quickly rebuffed the Cardinal's effort.  Seven minutes into the final period, Stanford tied the game at 49 off a 6-0 run.  The rally was capped by jumper from Nick Robinson, assisted by Julius Barnes.  Every time Stanford threatened to pass their opponent, Arizona found a way to respond immediately. 

Trailing by two with 1:21 left in the game, Justin Davis was called for a very mysterious fifth foul, allowing Channing Frye to shoot two free throws.  Frye coolly hit both shots, giving the Wild Cats a 68-64 lead.  Desperately needing a score, Josh Childress nailed a three pointer to bring the home team within one.  Again, Arizona would not let the Cardinal any closer as Stoudamire answered back with a field goal despite being tightly defended by Robinson.  Stanford came up empty on their next possession and was forced to foul Stoudamire.  Stoudamire proved why he is the number two foul shooter in the Pac-10 as he drained both of his attempts. On the next possession, a Rob Little short shot off the glass brought Stanford within three points. 

Stanford was again forced to foul, but Anderson came up well short on the front end of a one-on-one.  The Card had a chance to force overtime with a three point play with less than 20 seconds to go.  Childress released a three point attempt but it was off the mark.  Robinson grabbed the rebound and found an open Barnes in the corner.  Barnes released a good-looking shot that to many in Maples looked like it would go down, but the ball rattled out and time expired.  Stanford came up short 72-69.

In his forty minutes of play, Josh Childress scored 20 points and pull down 10 rebounds in the losing effort.  Justin Davis' 12 points and 10 rebounds was overshadowed by his poor afternoon at the free throw line where he was 4-10.  Wildcat Salim Stoudamire hurt the Card with tough shot after tough shot throughout the game, fiinishing with 18 points, three rebounds and an assist.  Stanford had no response for his clutch and decisive play down the stretch.  Besides the three pointer from Childress which drew Stanford within one inside the final minute, Stanford never made the clutch plays, unlike in their win at McKale.

Complete game box score

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