An opportunity has presented itself to the Stanford men's basketball team in the form of a three-game road trip that begins in Berkeley on Wednesday.
The Cardinal, after beating visiting Arizona State, 76-70, on Saturday, has a winning record at the midway point of the Pac-12 Conference season.
The next few games will determine if Stanford (5-4, 14-7) is a player or if it will spend another season on the sidelines.
"Cal, a team that's just across the Bay, is a team we've already lost to," Stanford senior Dwight Powell pointed out. "It's a competitive league and if you drop a single game it will change your fate."
Powell matched his season high with 28 points, including 12 in the first eight minutes of the second half.
"He set an aggressive tone," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "He showed a little bit of everything of what he can do on the floor. That's a big step for him."
Powell, a member of the Canadian junior national team over the summer, also recorded three of his game-high five assists in the early going of the second half, helping to give the Cardinal a 13-point advantage.
"It was close at halftime and we knew we had to build a lead," Powell said. "We had to come out with an aggressive mindset to begin the second half."
Chasson Randle scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half for the Cardinal, which was coming off a 60-57 loss to top-ranked Arizona on Wednesday.
"I thought our guys did a good job of bouncing back from a tough loss," Dawkins said. "To have a successful conference season you have top go on the road and have some success."
Stanford outrebounded Arizona State 40-32, including a 15-7 edge on the offense boards resulting in a 15-4 advantage in second chance points.
"That was a huge factor," Dawkins said. "The guys did a good job of working the paint and giving us extra opportunities."
There were six lead changes, and four ties, in the first half. The Sun Devils took a 33-32 advantage into the intermission.
Randle hit a 3-pointer with 17:30 remaining to play in the game to break a 34-34 tie, part of a 12-3 run to open the second half. Powell had the assist.
"That's the Dwight Powell we all know and love," Randle said. "He really asserted himself on offense. It was a great win coming off a tough loss."
Randle also converted a three-point play four minutes later to put the Cardinal up 52-39, their biggest lead of the game.
Following Stanford's visit to Cal, there's a trip to Washington and Washington State the next week. The Cardinal beat both of those teams at home and repeating that success on the road will go a long way in helping Stanford find a place in the NCAA tournament.
"These are huge games if we want to get to the top of the Pac-12," Randle said. "The road is a great place to do it."