Stanford, No. 22/23 California Clash Saturday Night At Maples
Jan. 13, 2009
Stanford Cardinal (11-3, 1-3 Pac-10)
No. 22/23 California Golden Bears (15-2, 4-0 Pac-10)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PBP: Ben Spielberg, Color: Mark Friese)
The Opening Tip
For just the second time over the last two seasons, Stanford (11-3, 1-3 Pac-10) has dropped back-to-back games. Now the Cardinal tries to get back in the win column against No. 22/23 California (15-2, 4-0 Pac-10), which enters the week atop the conference standings and ranked in the top-25 for the first time this year.
Saturday'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. KZSU 90.1 FM provides coverage with Ben Spielberg (play-by-play) and Mark Friese (analyst). The game will also be televised on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, with Barry Tompkins (play-by-play) and Dan Belluomini (analyst) providing coverage.
Stanford returns to Maples Pavilion next week to complete its three-game homestand with contests against Oregon (Jan. 22) and Oregon State (Jan. 24).
Scouting No. 22/23 California
Picked to finish eighth in the preseason media poll, California (15-2, 4-0 Pac-10) is riding a nine-game winning streak that has resulted in the Golden Bears' first national ranking since Mar. 10, 2003. California is the nation's top three-point shooting team with a 48.3 percentage and the Golden Bears are averaging 77.6 points per game while shooting 49.2 percent from the field. Unbeaten in 11 home games and 4-1 on the road, California is coming off a season where it finished 17-16 overall, 6-12 in the Pac-10 and reached the second round of the NIT. Keep an eye on: Jerome Randle (19.1 ppg, 52.2 percent from the field, 49.4-percent from three-point territory and 86.9 percent from the foul line, 84 assists), Patrick Christopher (16.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 87.8 percent from the foul line) and Theo Robertson (12.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 59.3 percent from three-point territory). California is led by Mike Montgomery, in his first season as head coach in Berkeley. Montgomery, Stanford's all-time winningest coach at 393-167 in 18 years at the helm, guided the Cardinal to 16 postseason appearances (12 NCAA, four NIT) and a 1998 Final Four berth.
Stanford All-Time vs. California
In a series that dates back to the 1913-14 campaign, California owns a 137-111 edge. However, Stanford has won nine of the last 11 meetings and that includes a sweep of the season series last year when the Cardinal won 82-77 in Berkeley and 79-69 at Maples Pavilion. California's most recent victory came back on Jan. 3, 2007, when the Golden Bears squeaked out a 67-63 win at Maples Pavilion.
Who To Watch Against California
In six career games, Mitch Johnson is shooting 48.5 percent from the field and his 17 baskets and 51 points against California are the most against any Pac-10 club. Lawrence Hill is averaging 8.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest while making 19-44 from the field in six games. Meanwhile, Drew Shiller was 3-4 from the field (all three-pointers) and scored 11 points in two games against California last year.
Unfamiliar Territory, Part 1
Stanford is off to its first 1-3 start in Pac-10 play since the 2004-05 campaign. During that season, the Cardinal was swept on the road against the Washington schools before falling to Arizona State in its first league game at home for an 0-3 start. Stanford stopped the bleeding with an 87-76 win over Arizona in the fourth game of the year. The Cardinal would go on to finish 11-7 in the Pac-10 and qualify for the NCAA Tournament with a 17-13 mark that season. Stanford has not started Pac-10 play at 1-4 since 1992-93.
Unfamiliar Territory, Part 2
Stanford suffered back-to-back hard-fought losses last week on the road against Washington (84-83) and Washington State (55-54), representing the first time since the 1974-75 campaign that the Cardinal had lost consecutive games by one point. Back on Feb. 8, 1974, Stanford dropped a 69-68 decision at Washington and lost by the same score six days later against Washington at home.
Stanford Matches Seventh-Best Start In School History
Stanford reeled off 10 victories in a row to begin the year, matching the seventh-best start to a season in school history and best overall since the 2003-04 club opened the year with 26 consecutive wins. In addition, the 10-game winning streak was Stanford's best since that same 26-0 stretch four years ago.
Dawkins Making Good First Impression
In addition to guiding Stanford to one of its best starts in school history, head coach Johnny Dawkins is off to a quick start in his rookie season at the helm. Of the 21 first-year head coaches in Division 1 with no prior college head coaching experience, Dawkins trails only Drake's Mark Phelps (13-4, 4-1 Missouri Valley) for the distinction of winningest rookie coach.
Cardinal In The Pac-10, National Statistics
Stanford is the Pac-10 leader in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.4) and turnover margin (+5.0). The Cardinal also ranks 13th and 14th in the nation, respectively, in those same categories. Prior to its 55-point output against Washington State last weekend, Stanford was leading the conference in scoring but now ranks fourth (76.1). The Cardinal also ranks third in the Pac-10 in steals per game (8.1), assist/turnover ratio (1.2) and assists (15.2). Anthony Goods checks in as the Pac-10's fifth-best scorer (17.1 ppg) and ranks second in threes made per game (2.4) while Landry Fields (6.5) and Lawrence Hill (6.3) rank sixth and seventh in rebounding, respectively.
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 as Stanford ranks fourth in the Pac-10 at 76.1 points per game. Stanford scored at least 70 points in five straight games to begin the year, representing the first time that has happened since a five-game stretch at the end of the 2001-02 campaign.
Finding Scoring Balance
Stanford has placed at least four players in double-figure scoring on nine different occasions, surpassing last year's total of eight.
Last Time Out: Washington State 55, Stanford 54 (Jan. 10, 2009 at Pullman, WA)
Taylor Rochestie hit a running 10-footer with 17 seconds left and DeAngelo Casto stuffed Anthony Goods' layup attempt with seven seconds left as Washington State snapped a three-game losing streak with a 55-54 win over Stanford on Jan. 10. Down 11 late in the first half, Washington State charged into the lead early in the second half and held on to secure the win. Lawrence Hill and Anthony Goods each scored 15 points for Stanford, which shot 37 percent overall and led 30-22 at halftime. The Cardinal held a 34-31 rebounding edge, dished out 13 assists on 17 baskets and made 16-24 from the foul line.
Dialing Long Distance, Opponents Not So Much
Stanford is averaging 6.8 three-pointers per game and shooting 36 percent from beyond the arc, totals that rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Pac-10. Anthony Goods has been the leading sharpshooter so far, connecting on 34-85 attempts. Meanwhile, opponents have made just 28.4 percent from three-point territory thanks to a stingy perimeter defense that ranks 13th nationally. Stanford has made at least one triple in 234 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 71.7 percent clip. In fact, Stanford is 230-321 from the charity stripe and has attempted 75 more freebies than its opponents (164-246). Anthony Goods is leading the charge (66-81, 81.5 percent) and has already surpassed last year's performance from the foul line when he went 53-71 (74.6 percent).
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 two games. Even more impressively, Stanford leads the Pac-10 and ranks 14th in the country in turnover margin with a +5.0 clip. It's been a different story for opponents, as Stanford has forced at least 15 turnovers in all but three games.
Milestone In The Making
With five assists against Washington on Jan. 8, Mitch Johnson increased his career total to 453 and ranks fifth on the all-time list. He is one of five players to reach the 400-assist plateau, joining Brevin Knight (780), Keith Ramee (513), Terry Taylor (490) and Marcus Lollie (474). Meanwhile, Anthony Goods is attempting to join Lawrence Hill as Stanford's only active 1000-point scorers. Goods now stands at 968 points for his career.
Delivering The Goods
Anthony Goods has emerged as Stanford's top scoring threat, averaging a team-best 17.1 points per game. He is shooting 39.3 percent overall but has been even more impressive with team-high marks from three-point territory (34-85, 40 percent) and the free throw line (66-81, 81.5 percent). Goods led all scorers with 21 points in 25 minutes during a win over Texas Tech on Dec. 28 for his fifth 20-point game of the year. Entering this year, Goods had recorded only five 20-point games in his first three seasons combined.
Hill Returning To All-League Form
Another 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 (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg), and he has scored in double-figures 12 times. Hill notched Stanford's first double-double of the year with 22 points and 11 rebounds at Yale on Nov. 14.
Fields Excelling In Starting Role
After coming off the bench in his first 63 career games, Fields is averaging 11.4 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting 50 percent in 14 starts. Fields notched his first career double-double with 19 points and 12 boards against Arizona on Jan. 4. He has led the Cardinal in rebounding six times and is tied for the team lead with 22 steals.
Owens Productive In The Paint
After averaging just 5.8 minutes of playing time last year, Josh Owens has emerged as a force for the Cardinal in the paint. He is averaging 10.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, shooting 56.1 percent from the field and has scored in double-figures seven times. Known best for his tremendous athleticism and rim-rattling dunks, Owens has established career-highs in almost every offensive category so far this year.
Johnson Leads Cardinal In The Backcourt
Mitch Johnson enjoyed an impressive season in 2007-08, earning All Pac-10 Honorable Mention honors while serving as one of the Cardinal's most consistent performers. Stanford's floor general and leader off the court, Johnson is averaging 7.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game while leading the club with 64 assists. Johnson's play has also garnered national attention, as he is a candidate for this year's Bob Cousy Award. The honor is given to the top collegiate basketball point guard annually and selection criteria emphasizes leadership, team work, success and fundamentals as being critical parts for the game of basketball as a point guard.