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Pac-10 Notebook

February 17, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

Pac-10 Conference Notebook

by Scott Allen

Stanford’s Nick Robinson and Washington State made history. Cal continued its recent surge and Arizona its recent skid. UCLA finally won again, ending Washington’s win streak in the process. Oregon downed Oregon State in the rematch of the Civil War and USC and Arizona State got swept.

In the Nick of Time

It was an Instant Classic, literally. By now you’ve seen Nick Robinson’s dramatic steal and 35-foot buzzer beater to give No. 1 Stanford an 80-77 win over Arizona on Saturday a zillion times, but you can catch the game in its entirety at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. EST this Thursday on ESPN Classic.

Robinson’s shot capped off an improbable Stanford comeback in the final minute to preserve its unblemished record and match the Cardinal’s longest win streak to open a season – 20-0. Stanford trailed 77-73 when Josh Childress stepped to the line with 44 seconds to play. The junior swingman hit one of two and, following a steal by Matt Lottich, he tied the game with a three-pointer from the left corner with 24 seconds left.

Arizona tried to hold for the last shot, but Lottich stripped Salim Stoudamire at the top of the key and tipped the ball into the hands of Robinson with four seconds left. The senior, who started the first nine games of the season in place of the injured Childress, pushed the ball across halfcourt and lofted a running prayer over the outstretched arms of Andre Iguodala as the buzzer sounded. Splash.

Stanford alum Tiger Woods celebrated courtside with his fiancée; Stanford’s Sixth Man Club stormed the court; and a huge celebratory pileup enveloped Robinson, who disappeared from view on the bouncy Maples Pavilion floor.

From the outset, it looked like Stanford would cruise to its 20th win, as the Cardinal shot 56.5 percent en route to a 44-35 halftime lead. Arizona hung around in the second half, however, behind 24 points from Salim Stoudamire and the Wildcats used a 14-0 run to take a 72-67 lead late in the game. A three-pointer by Stoudamire with 56 seconds left gave the ‘Cats a 77-73 lead with 56 seconds left, setting up the game’s dramatic final minute.

Chris Hernandez led four Cardinal scorers in double-figures with 20 points and Childress added 18. Robinson scored eight points and grabbed seven boards. Frye and Adams had 15 points apiece for Arizona, which shot 50 percent for the game. It was the first time in the last nine meetings between the two schools that the home team won.

Duck on the Mend

Oregon freshman point guard Aaron Brooks, who broke his right wrist in a game at UCLA on Jan. 4, received medical clearance to begin rehabilitation earlier this week. Pins were inserted in Brooks’ fractured bone as part of the surgery he underwent two days after the injury occurred. The Ducks are hoping to have Brooks, who averaged 6.7 points and 2.9 assists in nine games before the injury, back in time for Oregon’s game against Arizona on Feb. 19.

Around the Pac-10

Stanford Cardinal (20-0, 11-0)

Even with two of its leading big men sidelined with injuries, the Cardinal had no trouble handling Arizona State’s Ike Diogu and handing the Sun Devils their 13th straight loss to Stanford and third straight overall with a dominating 81-51 win at Maples Pavilion. Rob Little stepped up in the absence of senior center Justin Davis and the Cardinal’s top reserve, sophomore Matt Haryasz, posting 17 points and six rebounds. Little rattled Diogu early, as the reigning freshman of the year got into early foul trouble and was held to just 14 points. Josh Childress scored 11 points and sophomore Dan Grunfeld added nine off the bench for Stanford. The Cardinal shot 50.8 percent from the field and held the Sun Devils to 32.2 percent shooting.

Up Next: Saturday at Cal

California Golden Bears (11-9, 7-4)

In front of a raucous home crowd, Cal defeated Arizona 87-83 behind the strength of an 18 made free throws in 23 attempts in the second half. Free throws, you ask? Yes, freshman Leon Powe’s 21 points and 12 rebounds were huge and junior Amit Tamir’s five three-pointers a pivotal part of the win, but for a team shooting a conference-low 60 percent from the line heading into the game, the clutch freebies were the difference in the game. Richard Midgley was 6-for-6 from the line, drilled four three-pointers and scored 18 points, while Powe played like a man possessed after being forced to sit out the first meeting between the two schools, a 95-75 Arizona win in Tucson, with a swollen left knee. It was Cal’s first win over the Wildcats in five meetings at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears’ win streak reached three games after an 85-83 victory over Arizona State on Saturday. Midgley had his second consecutive strong game, scoring all 20 of his points in the second half and freshman Marquise Kately scored a career-high 24 points as Cal held off a frantic Sun Devils rally in the final minute. Midgley’s two free throws gave the Bears a seven-point lead with 1:34 to play but Arizona State rallied back with a three-pointer and a layup off of a Cal turnover and had one last change to win with a desperation heave at the buzzer that fell short. Powe had 13 points and 11 boards and Cal made 26 of a season-high 46 free throws.

Up Next: Saturday vs. Stanford

Oregon Ducks (11-6, 6-4)

Luke Jackson sparked a second half rally as the Ducks came from behind to beat Oregon State 81-74 in the 320th meeting between the two schools. It was Oregon’s 11th consecutive win at McArthur Court in the series, a streak that was in jeopardy after Oregon State took an eight-point lead early in the second half. Jackson scored a game-high 24 points, including several clutch three-pointers in the second half to deny the Beavers’ upset bid. Ian Crosswhite added 16 and Andre Joseph poured in 14 for the Ducks. Freshman Jordan Kent, coach Ernie Kent’s son, scored a career-high nine points and had three steals.

Up Next: Thursday at Washington, Saturday at Washington State

Arizona Wildcats (14-6, 6-5)

The Wildcats’ fall from grace, or second place as it were, accelerated with losses to Cal and Stanford last weekend. While the Bay Area trip is the toughest of the conference season this year, Arizona’s recent struggles has left head coach Lute Olson looking for answers. The Arizona offense rebounded from its lowest point total in over three years in its 61-57 win over Washington State last weekend to put up 83 against California, but the ‘Cats defense had no answer for Leon Powe and Amit Tamir in an 87-83 loss. Andre Iguodala scored 25 points and pulled down eight boards in defeat. Channing Frye shot 7-for-9 from the field and had 17 points when he picked up his fifth foul on a questionable call with five minutes left. The Wildcats struggled from long range, shooting just 5-for-20 from beyond the arc.

Up Next: Thursday vs. USC, Saturday vs. UCLA

UCLA Bruins (10-9, 6-5)

The Bruins were a part of history last Thursday against Washington State, only not the good kind. The Cougars defeated UCLA 55-48, Washington State’s first win in Los Angeles in 47 games. With John Wooden on hand, UCLA erased all but two points of a 14-point deficit in the second half, but could not get over the hump and avoid its sixth straight loss. UCLA’s 48 points scored matched its lowest of the season, which occurred in a 48-45 victory over the Cougars in Pullman earlier this season. Dijon Thompson and T.J. Cummings scored 15 points apiece for the Bruins, which shot just 2-for-12 from beyond the arc.

Cummings’ double-double (18 points, 11 boards) sparked the Bruins to an 80-75 victory over Washington two days later, ending the Huskies winning streak at five games while putting an end to UCLA’s own six-game losing streak as well. It was the Bruins 18th straight win over Washington at Pauley Pavilion. Freshman Trevor Ariza scored 12 points and Thompson added 11 to complete the season sweep.

Up Next: Thursday at Arizona State, Saturday at Arizona

Washington Huskies (10-9, 5-6)

In a high-scoring affair at the Sports Arena last Thursday, the Huskies earned a 93-82 victory over USC behind 17 points from Brandon Roy and 16 apiece from Will Conroy and Mike Jensen. The Huskies shot 52.8 percent from the field, shot 30-for-46 from the free throw line and forced 21 USC turnovers to overcome a 31-point outburst by the Trojans’ Desmon Farmer and 17 turnovers of their own. Tre Simmons scored 14 points off the bench for Washington.

Riding their longest winning streak since 1999, the Huskies were upended at Pauley Pavilion, 80-75, despite a career-high 30 points from Roy. Nobody else scored in double figures for the Huskies, as leading scorer Nate Robinson was held to just nine points. Washington got to within three points after trailing by 11 with 2:52 to play but UCLA hit its free throws down the stretch to seal the win. The game was a homecoming of sorts for head coach Lorenzo Romar, a former assistant coach with the Bruins.

Up Next: Thursday vs. Oregon, Saturday vs. Oregon State

Washington State Cougars (11-10, 5-6)

What a difference a coach makes. Dick Bennett’s Cougars marched into Pauley Pavilion last Thursday and did something they hadn’t done in 46 previous games in Los Angeles – win. Washington State’s 55-48 victory over UCLA was the Cougars’ first in 38 games at Pauley Pavilion. Thomas Kelati scored 15 points and Jeff Varem added 13 for the Cougars, which held UCLA to 19 first half points and 34.9 percent shooting for the game. Washington State did not shoot much better, but connected on 5-of-13 three-pointers and knocked down 16 of their 18 free throw attempts.

Washington State completed its first ever road sweep of the Los Angeles schools with a 60-51 victory at USC on Saturday. Varem scored 12 points, including 10 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the win. Marcus Moore led the Cougars with 14 points and Kelati added 13. Washington State overcame a slow start, turning a 9-0 deficit to start the game into a 26-18 halftime lead. The win clinched Washington State’s first season sweep of USC since 1986.

Up Next: Thursday vs. Oregon State, Saturday vs. Oregon

USC Trojans (9-11, 4-7)

Desmon Farmer was his usual self at home but didn’t get much help from his supporting cast, as USC lost to Washington 93-82. Farmer scored 31 points on 10-for-20 shooting to go along with six rebounds but Rory O’Neil, who scored 12 points off the bench, was the only other Trojan in double figures. USC shot just 6-for-20 from long range and allowed the Huskies to shoot 52.8 percent from the field. The Trojans led by 11 late in the first half before Washington went on a 21-4 run to take a 43-37 halftime lead.

USC’s skid continued on Saturday as it lost 60-51 to Washington State. Farmer led the Trojans in scoring once again with 17 points, despite shooting just 5-for-12 from the line. USC shot 8-for-20 from the line as a team, including 0-for-5 in the first half. Still, the Trojans jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start the game as Washington State failed to score in the first seven minutes. USC’s offense went cold, however, and the Trojans trailed 26-18 at the half. USC lost to Washington State 76-61 in Corvallis on Jan. 10.

Up Next: Thursday at Arizona, Saturday at Arizona State

Oregon State Beavers (8-12, 2-8)

After snapping a nine-game losing streak to Oregon with a 90-81 win in Corvallis on Jan. 10, the Beavers looked to make it two straight in the Civil War on Saturday. Oregon State let an eight-point second half lead evaporate and lost 81-74 at McArthur Court for the 11th straight time. It was the Beavers’ sixth straight loss overall. David Lucas had 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting in defeat and Chris Stephens added 12.

Up Next: Thursday at Washington State, Saturday at Washington

Arizona State Sun Devils (8-12, 2-9)

Given that the Sun Devils have a tough time winning games as it is, they don’t stand much of a chance when star center Ike Diogu has a sub-par game. Such was the case last Thursday when Diogu scored 14 points and Stanford pounded the Sun Devils 81-51. Diogu’s production was limited by foul trouble after the sophomore picked up his third personal less than 30 seconds into the second half. Stevie Moore struggled from the field, scoring just five points on 2-for-10 shooting. Less than one month after taking Stanford to the final buzzer in Tempe, Arizona State trailed 43-22 at the half, by which time the game was all but over.

To their credit, Diogu and the Sun Devils came out strong against California two days later but a late rally and three-pointer at the buzzer fell short in an 85-83 loss at Cal. Diogu scored a game-high 33 points on 9-for-16 shooting while Jamal Hill and Kevin Kruger added 17 and 12 points, respectively. Arizona State cut an 85-78 deficit to two with 53 second left.

Up Next: Thursday vs. UCLA, Saturday vs. USC


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