We knew coming into the season that men’s basketball would need great performances from freshmen in order to compensate for the loss of ’09-10 leading scorer Landry Fields–who was in attendance on Thursday–and perhaps make a slight improvement over last year’s record. If Thursday night’s game is any indication, the Cardinal freshmen will be seeing a lot of minutes, and scoring a lot of points. Stanford freshmen combined for 38 points against Virginia, or just under half of Stanford’s 81 points on the night. Freshman forward Dwight Powell got his first start of the season and made the most of it, scoring 10 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting from the field. Powell’s 10 points included an athletic dribble-drive and finger roll, and a tomahawk jam in front of the Stanford bench as Stanford began to pull away from the Cavaliers.
As well as Powell played, his double-digit night was 4th on the team in scoring, and 3rd among freshmen. Hybrid guard-forward Anthony Brown led all freshmen with 13 points and clutch, consecutive 3-pointers in the second half. Point guard Aaron Bright also put up the best game of his fresh collegiate career, coming off the bench to score 12 points and pick up 4 assists in just 17 minutes.
Junior forward Andrew Zimmerman, who led Stanford in scoring on Monday against San Diego, came off the bench and scored 12 points along with his team-high 5 boards (Jack Trotter also had 5 for the Card). Zimmerman played with the most hustle of any player on the floor, and disrupted the Virginia outlet game on several occasions. Despite not starting, Zimmerman played more minutes than any other Stanford player save for star Jeremy Green.
Speaking of Jeremy Green, the Card’s go-to scoring threat led all scorers with 21 points on 8-13 shooting in 30 minutes of play. That marks a significant departure from his performance on Monday night, when he scored just 2 points. Monday’s showing was certainly a beginning-of-the-season anomaly, but head coach Johnny Dawkins might not rely on Green as much as many observers had thought he would. With the performance and composure of the freshmen so far, the Card could look to have a fairly even scoring distribution, and go to Green to finish out close games.
Senior guard Mustapha Farrakhan led Virginia with 14 points, and sophomore guard Jontel Evans picked up 5 assists and 11 points while running the point for UVA.
If Cardinal fans should worry about one thing with this team, it’s free throw shooting. Stanford shot just 43% from the line, and didn’t make a single shot in the first 7 attempts from the line. Free throw shooting doesn’t seem like the biggest deal, but remember the 2007-08 Memphis Tigers? Bad free throw shooting kills.
Stanford will wrap up its season-opening home stand with Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday at 5:00 PM at Maples Pavilion.