Uploaded: Saturday, January 19, 2013, 6:11 PM
Updated: Monday, January 21, 2013, 9:51 AM
Stanford men top California in Pac-12 hoops
|By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Five games into the Pac-12 Conference season, the Stanford men's basketball team is still looking up at most of the rest of the conference but at least the Cardinal can breathe a little easier.
Not much easier though, as Stanford visits Colorado on Thursday and then goes to Utah on Sunday.
Until then, the Cardinal can feel pretty good after its 69-59 victory over visiting California on Saturday.
"Our bench was huge," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Everybody who came in gave us some good contributions."
Most noteworthy was John Gage, who made all four of his 3-point attempts and finished with 14 points as Stanford's bench outscored Cal's depleted bench, 26-3.
"John stepped up and found openings in their defense," Dawkins said. "He can stretch a defense. That's something we have been missing; that third guy coming in and getting double digits. That's what John gave us."
Dwight Powell, who scored a game-high 17 points to go with nine rebounds, said Gage's influence on the game was more than just his offense.
"He gave us a huge lift," Powell said. "He can really get us going and all we do is feed off his energy."
Rosco Allen, who also had seven rebounds, and Gabriel Harris combined for another 12 points off the bench.
Andy Brown, who did record a point, turned out to be the key defensive player for Stanford. He was challenged to guard Cal's Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12's leading scorer. Crabee was 1 of 4 in the first half before finding his range in the second half. and finishing with 14 points, six below his season average.
"Andy Brown did a good job defensively," Cal coach and former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "He's had three ACL surgeries, so you figure you can beat him to the point of contact."
Even when Crabbe was able to beat Brown, Powell or Huestis was available to pick him up, and the Bears could not respond consistently from anywhere else on the court.
"You're never going to stop Allen, he's just too good of a player," Dawkins said. "You just try to limit his touches as much as possible."
California drew within 43-42 with 13:20 left to play on a Crabbe jumper but Randle came up with a steal and layup to swing momentum back to the Cardinal, who eventually built a 13-point lead.
Stanford's Aaron Bright, 0-of-6 from the field, sank both his foul shots and has made 26 in a row.
"It's been a while since he's seen the ball go in," Dawkins said. "I told him to keep taking those shots, that they're going to go."
Gage hit one of his three 3-pointers with 7:07 remaining to play in the first half to put the Cardinal ahead.
Stanford outscored California 20-8 over the final nine minutes of the first half to take a 37-29 advantage into the intermission.
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