Stanford played poorly and easily could have lost, but rallied in the game’s final minutes to finish its home season with an 11-point victory over the independent Seattle Redhawks. Seattle is just 11-18 overall this season and has lost to the likes of UC-Davis and Eastern Washington, but head coach Cameron Dollar’s Redhawks gave Stanford a tight game and were within 10 points of the Card for nearly the entire time.
Halftime was no exception. Stanford entered the Maples locker room with a 1-point lead, and could have been down 1 had Seattle guard Cervante Burrell not missed a 14-foot jumper just before the buzzer. After 20 minutes, the score was 28-27 and it looked as though Stanford was heading toward another frustratingly low-scoring night. The first half was one of the worst 20 minutes of Stanford basketball of the last several years–no, that’s no hyperbole–and the Card committed 13 turnovers in the first half alone. Jarrett Mann by himself committed 6 turnovers on the night. There were more passes thrown to players’ sneakers and old fashioned butterfingers plays than good looks at the hoop.
The second half wasn’t what Stanford fans would like to see from the program that won more games between 2001 and 2010 than any other team in the PAC-10, but it was a welcome improvement from the night’s first period. For one, freshman combo guard/forward Anthony Brown–who’s looking more and more like the future of the team–recorded his best statistical game of the season and the first double-double of his career. Brown scored 21 points (tied for a career high) and collected 11 rebounds (the only double-digit rebounding night of his young collegiate history) while compiling the best stat line of any player involved in Tuesday night’s contest. Junior guard Jeremy Green scored 22 points for Stanford. But despite his respectable shooting percentages in the last several weeks, he continues to take a very high number of ill-advised shots. Luckily for Stanford and for Green, they’ve been going in lately.
Josh Owens scored 13 points on 5-7 shooting from the field, but Stanford was reluctant to give him the ball in the post despite the Card’s pronounced height advantage over Seattle. Two of Seattle’s starters–forwards Gavin Gilmore and Alex Jones–are listed at 6′ 8″, but neither is a tad taller than 6′ 6″. Between Owens (6′ 8″) and Dwight Powell (6′ 9″) Stanford could have pounded the ball into the block all night for easy buckets against a shorter, smaller, and slower Seattle team. Instead, the Card settled for just four 1st-half points in the paint and only 18 over the course of the game, while relying on a healthy 3-point game to build winning margins. Considering Owens’s success on Saturday against Oregon, another team that lacks intimidating height, it’s hard to figure why the junior forward wasn’t given more chances to score the basketball.
Stanford finished with 21 turnovers to Seattle’s 11; Seattle made 11 steals to Stanford’s 5. The difference in this one was an obvious difference in talent between the Cardinal and the Redhawks and Seattle’s inability to hit open shots. Seattle shot only 35% from the field as a team, and easily could have won with even a 45% showing from the field.
Burrell led the Redhawks with 15 points and 8 rebounds off the bench, while Jones scored 15 of his own and Aaron Broussard went for 13 points and 5 rebounds.
Regarding Dollar’s coaching: it’s hard not to be impressed by what the second-year head coach has done with a team that has so few legitimate D1 players. From an on-paper roster comparison, Seattle had no business competing with Stanford, and yet the men from up north played a noble outing. Stanford fans might even have looked over at the visitors’ bench with a tinge of envy upon seeing the savvy and bench presence of Dollar.
Stanford will conclude its regular season in Berkeley on Saturday afternoon. With a win against Cal, Stanford could finish the year at 16-14 overall and 8-10 in conference play.