By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Josh Owens is still trying to scrape some of the rust off his basketball skills after spending a year away from the game he loves.
It is a slow, steady progression as he patiently works toward full health.
In Stanford's 76-59 nonconference victory over visiting North Carolina A&T Wednesday night, Owens scored a season-high 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Maybe not enough to lead the world in scoring but enough to know he's heading in the right track.
"J.O. is finding himself," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Every game you see him getting better and better."
Owens missed last season with an undisclosed medical condition. When he was able to practice, he worked on individual skills such as ball-handling and shooting. "A lot of shooting," he said. "I'm also more aggressive."
Owens reached double figures in scoring for the fifth in his last six games and has at least eight rebounds in each of his last three.
"When you're away from the game for a year you appreciate it a lot more," Owens said. "It's definitely a different mindset and I think that's been the biggest difference."
Jeremy Green scored 18 points and Dwight Powell added nine points and seven rebounds for the Cardinal (6-2), winners of three straight.
Stanford goes on the road for a televised game (CBS) at Butler at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Stanford took advantage of 15 Aggies turnovers, nine in the second half, to score 26 points. The Aggies managed three points on seven Stanford turnovers.
Andrew Zimmerman's short jumper gave Stanford a lead midway through the first half as the Cardinal took a 40-33 advantage into intermission.
The Aggies were within 46-42 five minutes into the second half. Stanford responded with a 17-4 run to open a 17-point advantage seven minutes later. The Cardinal eventually led by as many as 20.
Dawkins and Aggies' coach Jerry Eaves have a friendship that dates to their college years. Both are point guards, both played in the NBA and both have played in an NCAA national championship game.
Eaves was the starting point guard for Louisville in its NCAA title run in 1980, helping to beat UCLA.
Dawkins' 1986 Duke team lost to Louisville in the NCAA final.