Anthony Brown found his rhythm vs. Davis Friday.
Kevin "Kevo" Danna brings his insights and observations from Friday Night's 21-point victory by Stanford over UC Davis at The Pavilion, helping send the Cardinal to a 4-0 record before facing Oklahoma State in the Preseason NIT Semifinals at Madison Square Garden on the day before Thanksgiving.
Let me take you
back to December 4, 2005. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was but a freshman on
the Farm. As happy as I was to be going into my seventh week as a helper for the
Stanford men’s basketball team (I hadn’t earned the title “manager” yet- that
wouldn’t come until after the 2005-06 season concluded), I was probably more
concerned with whether or not this Hawaiian girl in my dorm (Donner) was going
to return my crush (she didn’t).
There was a basketball game going on that
day at Davis, but I wasn’t concerned. Sure, we had just lost to Montana by 20
the Friday night before, but that was a good team that would earn a 12-seed in
the Big Dance and knock off Nevada in the first round. This was Davis, and they
were in the middle of a transition up to Division I. I assumed this would be an
Guess I made an ass out of you and me.
We would lose by six, and
nothing positive would come out of that game besides a double-double from Tim Morris (15 points, 10 rebounds - go Kennesaw State Owls!).
All this ran
through my mind as I got home from the volleyball match against Oregon Friday
night (the Quacks struck again) and turned on my DVR to watch Stanford’s first
trip back to Aggieville since that disastrous afternoon that all but assured us
an NIT bid.
After watching this most recent clash however, another date in
Stanford basketball history comes to mind: March 23, 2009. That was the last
time the men’s squad had really put their foot down on the road against a
mid-major opponent in a 70-56 win over the Wichita State Shockers in the Elite
8…of the CBI.
Friday night in Davis was much like that Monday night in
Kansas’s closest offering to a metropolis. In front of a hostile crowd (give the
Aggie fans some credit- they really brought it, even when the game was well out
of hand), the Farm Boys gave the Aggies a total “we are bigger, stronger, faster
and richer than you” performance.
There was never a doubt about this one, as
Stanford’s 70-49 victory over UC Davis was their most comprehensive road win in
more than 2 years.
Look, I know that the Aggies aren’t a good basketball team
and that their lone win this year was against D3 UC Santa Cruz. But this is
exactly what I hoped for out of this game.
Get out to a fast start?
Check. Stanford had scored six before the Aggies put their first points on the board as
the Farm Boys quickly got out to a 15-4 lead. The way they got out to that
11-point advantage is precisely what you would expect out of a team that is
better at all positions on the floor. Zimmermann set the tone with a dunk and
short jumper. Josh Owens dominated down low. Aaron Bright swagged out with a
couple of beautiful passes in transition- first to JO for a near-half-court
alley-oop and then the oh-so-marvelous behind-the-back dish to Dwight Powell for
the easy jam. Speaking of which…
Get Dwight Powell going? Oh you
betcha. The jam Powell had off the Bright feed was his first of five FGs from
the floor. I’ve seen a few amazing dunks in my time watching Stanford basketball
(Landry Fields’ jam over the College of Idaho in a December exhibition game in
the 2007-08 season, Josh Owens throwing down in transition at home against
Washington in February 2009 and Landry beasting on John Shurna at Northwestern
in December 2009, to name a few), but Dwight’s baseline throw down on UC Davis’
JT Adenrele might top them all. I saw that dunk and my Ricky Davis “oh sh#t!”
face reared its beautiful head, and then I gleefully skipped around my den like
a 10 year-old girl. I mean, dude straight up took a DUMP on Adenrele. The UC
Davis big is a pretty mobile and athletic guy too, so that wasn’t a small
Have Anthony Brown find his rhythm? Yes indeedy. After going scoreless
for two games, the SoCal Sophomore burst onto the scene with an immediate
three-ball and finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two made threes. His
second one was especially big, which leads me to…
Be able to respond to a
little adversity? Fa sho. You knew that the Aggies were going to have at
least one run in them in front of their home crowd, and it came in the form of
an 11-0 spurt that spanned two halves and cut the Cardinal advantage to eight
points. On the very next possession after the Aggies got the score to 36-28, Mr.
Brown hit an NBA-range trey, which was followed by a stop and subsequent Bright
three in transition. By the time the Aggies got their feet back underneath them,
the Dawkins Crew was up by 24. How about an 18-2 run for an answer?
reserves a little love? You got it. Everyone who was healthy played multiple
minutes; 16 Cardinal players in all got in on the action. John Gage showed
another glimpse or two of how effective he can be in the future. Stefan Nastic
had a few harmless minutes to shake off the cobwebs. Robbie Lemons hit a three.
And hey, Jack Ryan and Wade-I’ll-own-your-soul-by-2032-Morgan got the thrill of
getting into an NCAA Division-I regular season game!
The Cardinal offense was
efficient. Forty-eight percent shooting from the field (though I must say, I’d
like to see better than 5-11 from the charity stripe). Twenty-three assists on
29 made baskets. Only 12 turnovers.
The Cardinal defense was smothering.
Under 40 percent shooting for the Aggies. Eighteen UC Davis turnovers. Only four
offensive rebounds for the Yale Blue and Gold (yes, their official school colors
are listed as “Yale blue and gold”. Here’s the evidence: Yale Media Guide).
it was all said and done, everyone left The Pavilion knowing without a doubt who
was the better team, and it wasn’t the side the vast majority of the 4,427 who
came were rooting for.
On to New York now. Hope you’re flying JetBlue…
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