Verhoeven gives Stanford men a spark of hope in hoops loss


For a moment, Grant Verhoeven gave the Stanford men's basketball team hope of ending a long losing streak to visiting Arizona.

The hope ended as quickly as it began as the No. 12 Wildcats scored 12 unanswered points en route to their 12th consecutive victory over the Cardinal. Arizona beat Stanford, 71-57, Thursday in a Pac-12 Conference game.

The Cardinal (10-7, 3-3 Pac-12) looks to rebound Saturday when Arizona State comes to Maples Pavilion for an 8 p.m. tip-off.

Stanford played the Wildcats tough in the first half, mixing up zone defenses that set Arizona on its heels. That all changed in the second half.

Verhoeven hit a short jumper and the ensuing free throw to give Stanford it's only lead of the contest at 40-39, with 14:19 remaining to play.

Following Arizona's long run, the Cardinal never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

Marcus Sheffield matched his season-high with 17 points and Dorian Pickens added 11 for Stanford, which has gone 2-3 since knocking off then No. 21 Utah to open conference play.

"We're up by one, and we went through a drought of not scoring the basketball," Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said. "You can't have extended periods like that against a team like Arizona. Offensively, they have so much firepower that you can't keep sustaining empty possessions, and that kind of hurt us."

The Wildcats also won the battle on the boards, earning a 42-29 advantage in rebounds.

"They were getting offensive boards and we're putting them back up," Pickens said. "We just had a lapse in the second half defensively. They got going and got in a rhythm and they were playing comfortably. Gabe (York) hit a couple of 3s and found his rhythm. We struggled on the offensive end and had a little drought and couldn't get a shot to fall."

Rosco Allen, Stanford's leading scorer, was held to four points, just the fourth time he's been held to single digits all season.

"He was definitely a point of emphasis," Arizona's Ryan Anderson said. "Coach challenged me early in the week and called on me to be aggressive. He's had his way with the league so far. He's an effective driver and we wanted to build a wall and make it difficult for him to get into the paint."

Stanford had shooting droughts of 1-for-8 to open the game and 2-for-13 in the second half that led to Arizona's ability to take charge of the contest.

The Cardinal failed to record a blocked shot for the second time in three games. Stanford has blocked at least one shot in every other game and entered play averaging nearly four blocks.

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Like this comment
Posted by Stanford Fan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Winning a game like this requires defensive stops. Dawkins emphasizes the scoring drought, but the problem was that every time Arizona had the ball they scored. When Stanford's defense was strong, they were in the game. When that lapsed, Arizona pulled away. The comment from the player on the defensive lapse was more important than Dawkins' emphasis - repeated by the player - on the scoring drought.

Good scoring flows from good defense, not the other way around. At least that's what I think.

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