The Stanford Cardinal opened up the 2010-11 campaign on Monday evening versus the University of San Diego Toreros, a team just two years removed from the NCAA Tournament, but one racked with injuries last season that led to an 11-21 record. Without a senior in the lineup for the first time in school history, Stanford looked a little out of sync at times, but used a long run in the first half and held off San Diego, winning their opener by a final score of 64-48. Stanford moves to 1-0 while USD drops to 1-1.
After losing the opening tip, the Cardinal were able to get the ball back via a turnover and get a three-point play from Jarrett Mann to take an early 3-0 lead. USD countered with a three of their own from Devin Ginty to knot the game up and continued to counter the Cardinal's efforts through the first 4:31 of the first half when Stanford ran off nine consecutive points, capped by a three-pointer from the left wing from sophomore Gabriel Harris which drained in for the home squad. After the under-12 minute media timeout, the Cardinal slowed down their offensive tempo, but the Toreros had their momentum completely stopped as they missed several shots and turned the ball over on a few occasions.
The Cardinal inched their way to a 20-7 advantage with the help of some free throws as they were unable to completely solve the 2-3 zone being employed by the WCC team. However, The Toreros continued to play helter-skelter hoops of their own and couldn't solve Stanford's own 2-3 zone, remaining stuck on seven as the Cardinal reeled off five more points before a right wing by Ginty finally got the Toreros to double-digits, ending an 18-0, 9:22 run by Stanford. This basket seemed to wake up both squads as San Diego shot 5-7 the rest of the way, but the good guys countered with nine points of their own, including a last-second tip-in by Andrew Zimmerman, giving Stanford a 35-19 edge heading into the locker room.
For the half, the Cardinal shot 41% from the field, including a dismal 1-9 (11%) from the three-point arc and 8-14 (57%) at the charity stripe. USD countered with 32% shooting from the floor, 27% behind the three-point line, and just 2-2 at the free throw line. Stanford out-rebounded San Diego 19-16, including 7-2 on the offensive glass. The Cardinal had seven assists and just three turnovers, while the Toreros ended the first 20 minutes with five assists and 13 turnovers.
Stanford was led by Zimmerman's 10 points off the bench (Head Coach Johnny Dawkins said that Z "was ready when he was called upon" and was "very active offensively), making all four of his shots from the field. Harris was next in line with seven on 3-4 shooting. Ginty's two three-pointers propelled him to the top of the USD ledger with six points with Chris Manresa tallying four for the visitors from Southern California.
The second half started with a three-pointer from Darian Norris as the shot clock ran out and Norris would hit another one before the Cardinal could score, cutting the lead down to 10, 35-25, 2:08 into the second half. Free throws by Jack Trotter finally stopped the bleeding, but USD would extend the run to 10-2 before the first media timeout, sending folks inside the arena and chat room into a bit of panic as the lead had been halved, 37-29, just more than four minutes into the second half. Stanford countered with a dunk by Josh Huestis and a layup by Zimmerman to extend the lead back up to 13, forcing head coach Bill Grier to take a 30-second timeout to gather his troops.
The break seemed to help the visitors settle down as Matt Dohr made a three-pointer and Manresa blocked a shot and got a lay-in to cut the lead down to eight again, 42-34, with 13:10 to go in the contest. Owens missed a dunk, allowing the Toreros a chance to cut the lead further, but a long ball by Jordan Mackie rimmed out and Zimmerman streaked to the hoop for a one-hand jam, thwarting the brief rally from San Diego. Anthony Brown then hit a three-pointer out of the media break to push the advantage back up to 13, but a Ginty layup got USD within 11. However, three offensive rebounds finally led to a dunk by Trotter and the Toreros would not get within a dozen for the rest of the contest. The Cardinal had a late 6-0 run to finally drain the life out of USD, highlighted by a made baseline jumper and two freebies from Owens.
For the contest, Stanford connected on 41% of their shots from the field, including 19% from outside the arc, along with 10 missed free throws out of 23 attempts (57%, Dawkins said the team needed to "settle down" at the line ). San Diego concluded the game making 38% of their attempts, including 27% from the three-point line and 89% at the charity stripe. The Cardinal outworked USD on the glass, gaining a 40-27 advantage, including an 18-6 edge on the offensive boards. Stanford tallied 14 assists and 11 turnovers while San Diego notched just nine assists and 20 turnovers for the night.
The Cardinal were led by two players off the bench, Zimmerman (14 on 6-7 shooting) and Harris (12 on 5-6 shooting, including 2-2 from outside the arc), with Owens behind them with eight points. Trotter and Brown both had six boards to lead the victors. Norris and Ginty finished the game with 10 points each, Manresa scored eight, and no other Torero had more than four on the evening. Manresa also had seven boards to lead USD. No Stanford player logged more than 23 minutes, a sign that the depth certainly will help the Cardinal in the early going, a fact not lost on Dawkins who said that he "like(d) the fact that we have more depth" as it was "not a luxury we've had in years past."
After the game, a common theme from coach Dawkins, Zimmerman, and Harris that this team did a lot of work this summer to be able to take their games to the next level, something that will be needed after losing Landry Fields to the NBA. It certainly showed tonight as this was a team effort and two players off the pine led the way.
The Cardinal will next take on the Virginia Cavaliers on Thursday evening with tip-off scheduled for 7:30pm.
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