Widgets Magazine
Men’s basketball kicks off season with pair of wins
Senior guard Christian Sanders (center) had a career-best game against Wisconsin-Green Bay, notching 23 points and 6 rebounds. Sanders, a shooting guard, played at the point guard position for the first time due to Robert Cartwright's season-ending injury (LAUREN DYER/The Stanford Daily).

Men’s basketball kicks off season with pair of wins

Stanford men’s basketball (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) enjoyed a perfect start to its season against two fellow 2015 NIT participants, recording a nervous 93-89 overtime win over Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday and a 93-59 smack-down of Charleston Southern Sunday evening.

The Cardinal started slow against Green Bay on Friday, getting heavily outplayed on both sides of the ball as the Phoenix built a lead that stretched as high as 14. It wasn’t until late in the second half that the Stanford offense finally started clicking, as the team went on a 19-6 run that brought it level with just over seven minutes to play.

The Cardinal looked like they might win in regulation, but a foul by sophomore Reid Travis on what looked to be a consolation layup allowed Green Bay’s Charles Cooper to level the score with a three-point play. Stanford managed to preserve its previous momentum in overtime, however, and the team led for the entirety of the period to secure its sixth straight season-opening victory.

Senior Christian Sanders led the Cardinal with 23 points – 8 of which came in overtime ­– and sophomore Michael Humphrey added 13 points, 11 rebounds and an astounding 7 blocks on defense to keep Stanford in the game during regulation.

“I thought it was a big test for us,” head coach Johnny Dawkins remarked after the game. “Being down 14 at one point, being down late in the game by 10, and our guys just finding a way to pull out the win says a lot about them…The one thing we did learn is that we do have heart and we have an amazing will to win.”

Stanford’s victory over Charleston Southern on Sunday was less dramatic, with the squad taking a 10-point lead within six minutes of play from which the Buccaneers were never able to claw their way back. The Cardinal heavily exploited their size advantage over Charleston Southern, allowing just 14 points in the paint and forcing the Buccaneers to shoot 28 of their 49 field goals from behind the arc.

“That first game for us was obviously much tighter than we wanted,” sophomore Dorian Pickens said. “Tonight we wanted to focus on coming out with a ton of energy right from the jump. And really focusing on what we call having a defensive masterpiece… because we know that offense will come.”

Pickens led a balanced Stanford attack this time with 20 points and 8 assists. Senior Rosco Allen added another 19 points, and Humphrey contributed another double-double as the Cardinal shot nearly 60 percent in a vast improvement from their effort two nights prior.

Free-throw shooting was a bit of a low point for Stanford across both competitions, with the team shooting just 59.5 percent from the charity stripe against Green Bay and 60 percent against Charleston Southern. Stanford will have to improve considerably in this manner if it wishes to remain competitive against a quickly toughening schedule.

The Cardinal will return to action this Thursday in a nationally-televised game against the SMU Mustangs.


Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Andrew Mather

Andrew Mather served as a sports editor and as the Chief Operating Officer of The Daily. Growing up a devout Clippers and Iowa Hawkeyes fan in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Mather grew accustomed to watching his favorite programs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He brings this nihilistic pessimism to The Daily, where he occasionally feels a strong sense of déjà vu while covering basketball, football and golf.
  • jimidavis.com (soulful indie)

    Coach Dawkins is holding every Cardinal action accountable in terms of focus, decisions
    fundamentals, and teamwork, but the key to Cardinal victory will not be Zone defense.
    Zone “D” is fundamentally flawed because defenders are trained to respond to the ball.
    When a dribbler attacks a gap, two zone defenders shuffle next to each other to stop ball penetration, thus creating space for an open cutter to receive the pass and manipulate
    defenders further with a floater, low-hole dump or kick to the corner. Passing to the wing,
    pulls the outside-low defender up to the ball, leaving space in the corner for an easy shot.
    Sliding a wing under the free throw line either collapes paint defenders for dumps/kicks or provides the shooter with space for a high percentage shot. Over-loading, shifts the zone to the strong-side, which provides hidden screens by uncovered players on the weak-side.

    The zone is great for slowing down “rackers” and forcing poor shooting teams outside.
    But it is more of a means to an end and not an end in itself. Syracuse players look so frustrated when guarding Pittsburg, because the Orange`s athletism and long wing span
    cannot stop Pittsburg coach Jamie Dixon`s creative clearing and attacking zone space!