Unbeaten Stanford Hosts Northern Arizona Wednesday Night
Dec. 16, 2008
Stanford Cardinal (5-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (3-5, 0-0 Big Sky)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PBP: Mark Friese, Color: Chris Fitzgerald)
The Opening Tip
Stanford (5-0) puts it undefeated record on the line against Northern Arizona (3-5) at Maples Pavilion on Wednesday night. The Cardinal enters an NBA-like stretch that includes seven games to be played over 19 days. Stanford displayed little rust from its 14-day break, winning 74-63 at Colorado State on Dec. 14.
Wednesday's game can be heard live on KTRB AM 860 and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com. Dave Flemming handles play-by-play duties while John Platz offers color commentary. The game will also be televised on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, with Ted Robinson (play-by-play) and Dan Belluomini (color) handling the broadcast chores.
Time for some home-cooking. Stanford will play five of its next six games at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal is 3-0 on its home court so far.
Scouting Northern Arizona
After dropping four of its first five contests to open the year, Northern Arizona (3-5, 0-0 Big Sky) enters Wednesday night riding a two-game winning streak. The Lumberjacks, 3-1 at home and 0-4 on the road, are coming off an 80-39 rout of Northern New Mexico over the weekend. Stanford and Northern Arizona have only one common opponent, with the Lumberjacks suffering a 74-57 loss at Arizona back on Nov. 30. Northern Arizona finished 21-11 last year and 11-5 in the Big Sky, good for second place. The Lumberjacks are averging 70.4 points per game but are shooting only 56.9 percent from the charity stripe and 32.7 percent from three-point territory. Look out for: Matt Johnson (12.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, team-best 13 three-pointers) and Zarko Comagic (10.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Josh Wilson (9.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 33 assists). Head coach Mike Adras is in his 10th year.
Stanford All-Time vs. Northern Arizona
Stanford and Northern Arizona will be meeting for the first time on the hardwood.
Cardinal Looks To Stay Perfect
Stanford is off to its best start since winning 26 straight games to open the 2003-04 campaign. One of 13 remaining undefeated teams in Division 1 competition as of Dec. 16, Stanford sits atop the Pac-10 standings as the conference's lone unbeaten squad.
We're Catching Up...Slowly
Entering Wednesday's game against Northern Arizona, Stanford (5-0) and Drexel (2-3) will have played the fewest games so far (5) of any team in Division 1. Drexel's next contest is scheduled for Dec. 18 at home against Niagara.
Finding Scoring Balance
Four Stanford players (Anthony Goods, Landry Fields, Lawrence Hill and Josh Owens)scored in double-figures during a 74-63 victory at Colorado State on Dec. 14, representing the third time that has happened this year. Those same four players also reached double-digits against Colorado on Nov. 29 and Cal State Northridge on Nov. 18. Mitch Johnson also chipped in with 14 points against the Matadors.
Stanford Opening Up On Offense
Coming into this year, head coach Johnny Dawkins promised a more up-tempo offensive attack due to increased team speed and experienced guard play. And so far, he's been right on. Stanford leads the Pac-10 in scoring 80.8 points per game and ranks 27th in the nation in that same category. Stanford has scored at least 70 points in five straight games, representing the first time that has happened since a five-game stretch at the end of the 2001-02 campaign.
Dialing Long Distance, Opponents Not So Much
Stanford is averaging 7.8 three-pointers per game and shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc, totals that rank third in the Pac-10. Anthony Goods has been the leading sharpshooter so far, connecting on 17-36 attempts. Meanwhile, opponents have made just 30.6 percent from three-point territory. Stanford has now made at least one triple in 225 consecutive games.
Cashing In At The Charity Stripe
Getting to the line is one thing, but for the most part the Cardinal has converted on its free throw opportunities with a 76.0 percent clip. In fact, Stanford is 95-125 from the charity stripe and has attempted 52 more freebies then its opponents (44-73). Landry Fields (13-20), Anthony Goods (25-29), Mitch Johnson (11-14) and Lawrence Hill (16-23) are all above 65 percent while Josh Owens has been impressive at 19-23 and was perfect in his first 15 chances to begin the year.
Share The Ball, Force Mistakes
Two of Stanford's trademarks have been the ability to share the basketball and force opponents into making mistakes. The Cardinal has tallied more assists than its opponent in all but one game. Even more impressively, Stanford leads the Pac-10 and ranks 10th in the country in turnover margin with a +6.2 clip. It's been a different story for opponents, as Stanford has forced at least 15 turnovers in every game.
Battle Of The Boards
One of the top rebounding teams in the nation last year with nearly 40 boards per game, Stanford is averaging only 33.4 rebounds in four contests. Not that there have been many shots to clean up, as Stanford is shooting 45.8 percent from the field while opponents are connecting at a 49.1 percent rate. Prior to a 37-rebound effort at Colorado State on Dec. 14, Stanford had been held to under 35 rebounds for four consecutive games for the first time since a stretch in February of 2006.
Paul Back In The Mix
Will Paul played 10 minutes off the bench against Colorado State on Dec. 14, returning to the hardwood for the first time since Stanford's NCAA Tournament loss to Louisville back on Mar. 15, 2007. Paul, who redshirted last year and missed the first four games of this season with a stress reaction, missed his only shot attempt (a three-pointer), grabbed one rebound and committed four fouls in Sunday's contest against the Rams. As he becomes more comfortable with the offense, he will provide the Cardinal with added depth on the frontline.
Delivering The Goods
Anthony Goods has emerged as Stanford's top scoring threat, averaging a team-best 20.4 points per game in five starts. He is shooting 46.2 percent overall but has been even more impressive with team-high marks from three-point territory (17-36, 47.2 percent) and the free throw line (25-29, 86.2 percent). Goods led all scorers with 23 points in a win at Colorado State on Dec. 14 for his third 20-point game of the year. Entering this season, Goods had recorded only five 20-point games in his career.
Hill Returning To All-League Form
Another early-season positive has been the performance of Lawrence Hill, an All-Pac-10 selection two years ago as a sophomore when he averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Hill ranks second on the club in scoring (16.0 ppg) and leads the team in rebounding (7.2 rpg). In the season opener at Yale, Hill notched a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds and his production has been a major plus for Stanford. He has scored in double-figures in all five games so far.
Fields, Owens Excelling In Starting Roles
Landry Fields and Josh Owens have been penciled into the starting lineup for the first time in their careers and the results have been solid so far. After coming off the bench in his first 63 games, Fields is averaging 10.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game so far while shooting 46.2 percent overall. Fields matched a career-high with 18 points against Air Force on Nov. 26. After averaging just 5.8 minutes of playing time last year, Owens has emerged as a force for the Cardinal in the paint. He is averaging 14.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while establishing career-high totals in points (21), rebounds (8), field goals (8) and minutes (33) in a win over Colorado on Nov. 29.
Senior Starters Pace Offense
A total of 97 games passed before Stanford received at least 10 points apiece from Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods and Lawrence Hill in the same game. The senior trio finally accomplished the feat in a 75-67 season-opening win at Yale, with Hill leading all scorers with 22, Goods adding 19 and Johnson chipping in with 11. In the Cardinal's next game against Cal State Northridge, the group was at it again with Goods scoring a game-high 25 points while Hill and Johnson added 14 each. Through five games, Goods is Stanford's leading scorer at 20.4 ppg, Hill ranks second at 16.0 ppg while Johnson is fifth at 5.8 ppg.