Stanford, No. 5/5 Kentucky Clash Wednesday Night In Cancun Challenge Final
Nov. 25, 2009
Stanford Cardinal (3-2, 0-0 Pac-10)
No. 5/5 Kentucky Wildcats (5-0, 0-0 SEC)
Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009 6:30 p.m. PT
Moon Palace Resort Cancun, Mexico
Series History: Kentucky leads 2-0
Last Meeting: Kentucky 86, Stanford 85- OT (Mar. 28, 1998)
Radio: XTRA Sports 860 AM (PBP: John Platz)
TV: CBS College Sports (PBP: Thad Anderson, Analyst: Rich Zvosec)
The Opening Tip
Stanford (3-2, 0-0 Pac-10) climbed above the .500 mark for the first time this year thanks to a 57-52 win over Virginia on Tuesday night at the Cancun Challenge. The reward: a date with No. 5/5 Kentucky (5-0, 0-0 SEC) in Wednesday's title game. Stanford and Kentucky will be meeting for the first time since the 1998 Final Four.
Wednesday's game can be heard live on XTRA Sports 860 AM and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com, with veteran broadcaster John Platz handling the duties. The contest will also be televised nationally on CBS College Sports, with Thad Anderson (play-by-play) and Rich Zvosec (analyst) describing the action.
About The 2009 Cancun Challenge
The Cancun Challenge features eight teams and includes eight games played in the U.S., along with eight games played at the all-inclusive Moon Palace resort in Cancun, Mexico. Joining Stanford in the field are Kentucky, Cleveland State, Florida A&M, Oral Roberts, Rider, Sam Houston State and Virginia. Stanford is in the Riviera Division, posting a 2-1 mark so far with wins over Florida A&M and Virginia following a loss to Oral Roberts.
Scouting No. 5/5 Kentucky
Kentucky has been picked to win the SEC and is a legitimate threat to win the national title. The Wildcats have won 1,993 games in their history- the most of any NCAA program.
Through five games, the Wildcats are averaging 82.8 points per game, shooting 52.7 percent from the field overall and sporting a +14.2 mark in rebounding margin.
Five players are averaging double-digit scoring totals, including national Player of the Year candidate Patrick Patterson (17.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 72.3 percent FG).
Kentucky's No. 1-ranked recruiting class is producing: John Wall (19.0 ppg, 56.4 percent FG), DeMarcus Cousins (15.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and Eric Bledsoe (12.6 ppg, 10-20 3FG).
Head coach John Calipari is in his first season at the helm.
Stanford All-Time vs. Kentucky
Kentucky owns a 2-0 edge in the all-time series. Wednesday's matchup will be the first between the two storied programs since Mar. 28, 1998, when the Wildcats edged Stanford 86-85 in an overtime thriller at the NCAA Final Four. Kentucky won the only other meeting back on Dec. 22, 1973, squeaking out a 78-77 win at the Kentucky Classic in Lexington. Stanford is 14-9 all-time against schools from the SEC.
Fields' Double-Double Paces 57-52 Win Over Virginia
Landry Fields scored 25 points and grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds to lead Stanford past Virginia 57-52 in the Cancun Challenge. Both teams shot poorly as Stanford made 38.9 percent from floor compared to Virginia's 37.8 percent clip. The Cardinal used solid 3-point shooting, making 8-16 attempts. The game featured six ties and 13 lead changes. The Cardinal trailed 47-46 with 4:52 left in the second half after Virginia's Mustapha Farrakhan hit two free throws. That's the last time the Cavaliers would lead, as Stanford answered with nine straight points to take a 55-47 lead with 2:46 remaining, capped by a key three-pointer from Jeremy Green. Virginia cut the lead to three points with 12 seconds left to play. But Fields, who went 9-for-16 from the floor, made two free throws to ice the victory.
Takeaways From The Virginia Game
Landry Fields posted his second straight double-double and the seventh of his career. He was 5-8 from the foul line, with three assists and three steals in 37 minutes.
Stanford has produced a 20-point scorer in all five games this year.
Drew Shiller nailed three triples in the first half, finishing with nine points to help Stanford jet out to an early lead. Shiller is now 12-24 from beyond the arc.
Virginia finished 14-24 from the charity stripe, compared to Stanford's 7-15 performance.
Jarrett Mann has dished out at least five assists in every game this season. He leads Stanford with 30 assists against only 11 turnovers. Mann is settling in as the team's primary floor general and has shown an ability to score and get to the free throw line.
Stanford won despite trailing at halftime for the first time since Mar. 11, 2009 against Oregon State. The Cardinal trailed 28-21 at the break and won 62-54.
Recruiting Class Ranked Among Nation's Top-10
Head coach Johnny Dawkins announced the signing of five incoming student-athletes to national letters of intent for the 2010-11 campaign. The class is recognized as one of the best in the country, currently ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 13 by Scout.com. According to Rivals.com, Stanford's recruiting class ranks as the best in the Pac-10. The class includes: Aaron Bright (5-11, 175, guard, Bellevue, Wash.), Anthony Brown (6-7, 190, guard/forward, Huntington Beach, Calif.), John Gage (6-10, 210, forward/center, Vashon Island, Wash.), Josh Huestis (6-8, 210, Great Falls, Mont.) and Dwight Powell (6-10, 215, forward, Bradenton, Fla.).
Fields' All-Around Game Impressive So Far
Landry Fields opened the year with three consecutive 20-point games before pouring in 15 points against Florida A&M over the weekend. Fields was bidding to become the first Cardinal player to score at least 20 points in four straight games since Brook Lopez during the 2006-07 campaign. He was back at it again versus Virginia, leading all players with 25 points. Stanford's lone team captain, Fields will be counted on for the bulk of the scoring this year. His all-around game has not disappointed so far, leading the club with 23.0 ppg and 9.2 rpg, while shooting 46.7 percent from long range, dishing out 15 assists and racking up a team-high 10 steals.
Getting Their Start
After losing seniors Kenny Brown, Anthony Goods, Mitch Johnson and Lawrence Hill to graduation, it was a given this year's club would look different. Through the first five games, head coach Johnny Dawkins has experimented with his starting lineup as five players have made their first start in a Stanford uniform. Da'Veed Dildy, Jarrett Mann, Jack Trotter and Andrew Zimmermann started the opener at San Diego while Drew Shiller has earned a starting nod twice. It marked the first career start for all five players with the exception of Zimmermann, who started one game as a freshman at Santa Clara.
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