Sports


Important road test ahead for Stanford men's hoops

The Stanford men's basketball team will know a lot more about itself after playing a pair of games in the eastern time zone this week. The Cardinal already knows it can play at home.

Stanford improved to 4-1 on its own court after beating visiting UC Davis, 83-56, on Saturday in a nonconference game.

The Cardinal (7-2) travels to No. 9 Connecticut (9-0) for a game Wednesday and returns to Brooklyn to take on Michigan, which fell out of the national rankings this week, next Saturday.

Chasson Randle scored 16 points, including a 5 of 6 effort from long range, to lead Stanford, which had four players in double figures against the Aggies. Dwight Powell had 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Anthony Brown also had 15 points.

Josh Huestis added 15 points to go with four assists and four blocks. He tied Curtis Borchardt for third on the all-time blocks list with 146.

The Cardinal scored the game's first eight points and held a 22-5 advantage after John Gage hit a 3-pointer with 8:59 left in the first half.

"We had a long stretch without playing a game," Powell said. "I was glad to see us come out focused and shared the ball. We dedicated the last two weeks to prepare for the rest of the season."

The rest of the season, of course, starts in Connecticut. The Cardinal last beat a Top 10 team on the road in February of 2008, a 67-65 overtime win at Washington State.

"It's a great opportunity to play a storied program, and a great culture," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "We have to keep working to figure out ways to make adjustments."

One of the major adjustments is playing without senior guard Aaron Bright, who is out for the season following shoulder surgery.

"Losing Aaron is a huge blow for us," Powell said. "He's always been a huge part of our team on the court and off the court. We're trying to find ways to use the offense as efficiently as possible and keep it sharp and crisp."

Randle, the team's leading scorer with an 18.2 average, has been hitting a relatively high percentage (.524) of his shots from field, which includes a .410 percentage from 3-point range.

"It would be no surprise to me if Chasson came out and hit five straight 3's," Powell said. "He and Anthony both. They work on their game every chance they get. It's more of a surprise if they miss."

Brown has a better percentage from long range (60 percent) than overall (58 percent). He leads Stanford with 21 3-point goals.

Playing two of the better programs in the nation will help define Stanford's season and its chances of competing in the tough Pac-12 Conference.

"These are a very important set of games for us going into the Pac-12 season," said Powell, who recorded his second double-double of the season and the 15th of his career. In addition, he reached double figures in scoring for the 50th time.

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