Oregon St. (11-9, 1-6 ?) at Stanford (13-8, 4-4) / Maples Pavilion / 12 NOON PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. concludes their trip to the Bay Area with a mid-day game against Stanford. It's the only Pac-12 game of the day, and another real head scratcher as far as scheduling goes by the Pac-12, especially given that the local pro team is in the Super Bowl. At least the game should be over over an hour before kickoff, but this has to be an audience killer, both in person and on tv. (Something the Pac-12 offices have proven themselves quite capable of over and over.)
The Cardinal are coming in off the biggest upset of the Pac-12 season, having dominated wire to wire in whipping #10 Oregon 76-52 Wednesday night (in front of a crowd of only 4,816 - another successful late Wednesday night game). Stanford stormed to a 10 point lead less than 7 minutes into the game, and never by less than 10 in the second half. The lead was 19 or more for the last 15 minutes of the game, and by as much as 25 points on multiple occasions.
Chasson Randle led everyone, with 17 points, including shooting 3 for 3 on 3 pointers, and both Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell posted double doubles, both with 13 rebounds. Huestis had 14 points, and both Powell, the Cardinal's season leading scorer, and Aaron Bright, who was also 3 of 3 on 3 pointers, had 12 point nights.
All of those numbers exceeded season averages by a considerable margin, as Stanford easily played their best game of the season.
Overall, Stanford shot 52%, and 57% from 3 point range. This while holding Oregon, which entered the game having had their best start to a season in 87 years, to under 35% shooting, and just 25% on 3s.
This from the same Cardinal club that was blown out of Boulder 75-54 by the Buffs just 6 days earlier. (Colorado, as it happens, will be in Corvallis to pay Oregon St. a visit next Sunday.)
The Beavers on the other hand didn't get a win out of a great start to the game, where they shot 60% in the first half, overall and from 3 point range. Despite building leads as large as 12 points in both halves, and getting a game high 25 points from Roberto Nelson, as well as 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists from Joe Burton, Oregon St. saw the game slip away late Thursday in Berkeley, with California winning 71-68.
The Golden Bears got a lot points from their shooting guards, Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs, who had 15 and 14 points respectively. But the pair only shot 30%. Where the Beavers really lost the game was against the California forwards. Richard Soloman, David Kravish, and Robert Thurman combined for 32 points, but the telling stat is that they made 16 of 21 shots, 76%.
If Huestis and Powell, who combine to average 17 rebounds per game, are as effective as they were against Oregon, the Cardinal are likely to be able to take control of the game at a commanding level.
Last year, Stanford swept Oregon St., starting with the memorable 103-101 4 overtime game in Corvallis in early January, and concluding with an 87-82 win in the rematch in Palo Alto in mid-February. The Cardinal would ultimately go on to win the NIT Tournament.
The 4 overtime affair was truly one that not only got away from the Beavers, it escaped time and again. Oregon St. squandered large leads in both halves, then messed up 5 end of game situations. Randle had a game high 24 points, and Jared Cunningham and Roberto Nelson co-led Oregon St., both with 19. But down only 2 points, after Huestis had made only 1 of 2 free throws, and with 3 Stanford starters already disqualified, plus Powell having 4 fouls, Oregon St. coach Craig Robinson gambled on a long 3 pointer by Nelson rather than playing to extend the game.
Randle was again a major thorn in Oregon St.'s side in the second meeting, posting a game high 24 points to exceed Jared Cunningham's 22 for the Beavers. The Cardinal made 9 of 11 free throws in about the last minute of the game to make the difference.
Clearly, keeping Randle under control will be a requirement to get the win this time.