Cardinal men return home fired up for a basketball win


By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

Johnny Dawkins liked the way his Stanford men's basketball team responded following a tough loss. He has to like the way freshman guard Chasson Randle quickly fell into the flow of the game, too.

After three consecutive first-half shutouts from the field, Randle responded with a perfect first half in Stanford's 79-37 nonconference victory over visiting Pacific on Monday night.

"I tried to come out and be as aggressive as possible," Randle said. "It worked out."

Randle and Josh Owens each scored 14 points and sophomore guards Aaron Bright had six assists for the Cardinal (6-1), which recorded the largest margin of victory in the 36-game series dating to the 1920s. The Tigers have lost the last 16 meetings and haven't won since 1933.

Randle scored 11 of his points in the first half, helping Stanford take a 38-23 halftime lead. He started sharp, hitting all four of his first-half shots, including three 3-pointers. He was 5-for-5 for the game.

"He was ready for his opportunities," Dawkins said. "That's the important thing. He's still getting a feel for our system and it's up to us to keep encouraging him to do those things."

The Cardinal just returned to campus after reaching the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off Classic at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, where it lost to No. 4 Syracuse by six points after holding a lead late in the game.

"It was a tough loss for us and it was important to see how we would bounce back," Dawkins said. "We got such good contributions from a lot of guys and were able to sustain a high level of play. It was good for us to play a team of that caliber. We can only gain from the experience."

Stanford eventually built a 20-point advantage early in the second half and just continued to expand the margin the rest of the way. Pacific starters scored just eight points and the Tigers did not attempt a free throw.

"I think we hit our stride defensively," Dawkins said. "I hope we can continue to improve in that area. This is the first time I have ever been involved in something like that. We try to do the right thing every possession."

Stanford travels to meet Seattle on Thursday night in the Key Arena in a nonconference contest before returning home to host North Carolina State on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Playing No. 4 Syracuse to a standstill for most of Friday night apparently gave the Cardinal confidence as they played efficiently in winning its fourth home game in as many tries. Stanford lost the game, 69-63.

"We came out in practice and used that as motivation," Randle said. "Not to dwell on it, but it was a tough game to lose. We're just trying to get better every game."

Stanford sophomore Dwight Powell, who had nine points and three rebounds, continues to improve from an ankle injury that occurred before the season.

"It's a process and he's still a little out of rhythm," Dawkins said. "He's still working his way back but he was more assertive tonight and made plays. He was attacking the basket and he will continue to improve."

Anthony Brown, who ended last year as a starter, made his first start on Monday night, but not for something he did. Jarrett Mann was late to a class and was benched for the first half as a result.

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