Stanford awakens in time to turn back Beavers
The Associated Press
STANFORD, Calif. — Lawrence Hill helped Stanford pull off another Oregon sweep at Maples Pavilion on a night the Cardinal were far from their best against the Pac-10's worst team.
Hill scored 14 points and reserves Kenny Brown and Taj Finger sparked a big first-half run that helped No. 9 Stanford reach the 20-win plateau for the first time under fourth-year coach Trent Johnson with a 71-56 victory over Oregon State on Saturday.
"The only thing we did pretty well is we rebounded and we shot good free throws," Johnson said. "It was one of those games it says something when you don't play up to your standards and you win, regardless of who it is. That makes me happy."
Stanford (20-3, 9-2 Pac-10) followed up a 72-43 victory over Oregon on Thursday by going on a 15-0 run to end the first half against the Beavers (6-17, 0-11). This marked the 15th straight year the Cardinal have swept their Oregon rivals at home.
There were a few anxious moments in the second half when Oregon State cut a 20-point deficit down to nine. But the Cardinal made 24 of 28 free throws and dominated the boards by outrebounding the Beavers 46-21 to move within a half game of No. 5 UCLA for first place in the Pac-10.
Hill's offense is a big reason for the success, giving the Cardinal another scoring threat to team with 7-footer Brook Lopez inside. Hill, an all-conference player a year ago, is averaging 15 points over his last three games after scoring just 7.3 points per game in the first eight Pac-10 contests.
"I'm still not where I want to be," Hill said. "I still need to work defensively. I got beat on the point of attack a lot today. I think that"s good because there's still time, there's still games to be played and I can get better."
Lopez, who led Stanford in scoring for seven straight games coming into the weekend, managed only 26 points in the two blowout wins. He didn't even make his first basket until scoring on a dunk on Stanford's initial possession of the second half and finished with 14 points. He also turned the ball over seven times as he struggled against double teams.
Marcel Jones led the Beavers with 13 points, Calvin Haynes added 12 and Seth Tarver had 11. Oregon State shot just 36 percent for the game against Stanford's imposing front line that features 7-foot twins Brook and Robin Lopez.
"They did a great job of turning our mistakes into points," Jones said. "We dug ourselves in a hole and it's hard to get out against those two big guys and Hill when he gets hot."
Oregon State interim coach Kevin Mouton, who took over when Jay John was fired last month, dropped to 0-5. The Beavers are trying to avoid becoming the first team to go through Pac-10 play winless since the 18-game schedule began in 1978-79.
Oregon State, which came into the game as the Pac-10's worst offensive team, got off to a strong start against the league's second stingiest defense. The Beavers made six of its first eight shots to go up by six early. Stanford then went more than 5 minutes without a basket, but managed to overcome a four-point deficit during that stretch by using its size advantage to draw fouls inside.
"In the last eight minutes of the half, we started taking quick shots and missing," Mouton said. "Stanford would come down and score and we'd take another rushed shot and miss. We got off our game plan."