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Stanford men look to be road warriors in Pac-12 hoops

 

Rosco Allen and his Stanford men's basketball teammates will need to get re-adjusted to playing on the road. The Cardinal spends the majority of its time away from Maples Pavilion the remainder of the season.

Stanford (11-7, 4-3 Pac-12) opens a three-game road trip Wednesday at Colorado (15-5, 4-3) at 6 p.m., to be televised by the Pac-12 Networks. The Cardinal plays seven of its final 11 regular-season games away from home.


Rosco Allen
"It's always different," Allen said. "There are a lot more fans rooting against you and crowd noise is different. There are a few other adjustments you have to make that you don't have to make at home."

Stanford hasn't had to make many adjustments so far this season, having played five games away from home and only three true road contests.

The Cardinal is 2-3, which includes an improbable comeback victory over Arkansas, 69-66, the day after Thanksgiving. Stanford also won at Oregon State three weeks ago.

"If you want to do anything special you have to be road warriors," Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said Tuesday. "We want to focus on Colorado and not the altitude or other distractions."

Stanford can focus on its ability to spread the scoring throughout its lineup. Allen leads the Cardinal with a 14.5 scoring average and four others are also averaging double digits, including sophomore forward Reid Travis (12.8), who has missed the past 10 games with a stress action in his left leg.

"He's starting to do more," Dawkins said. "He's doing all the things he needs to do. He's getting back and working hard."

The Cardinal could use Travis, who also averages a team-best 7.1 rebounds. The recent play of 6-9 senior center Grant Verhoeven has helped fill the void. He gave Stanford its only lead in Thursday's loss to Arizona and then contributed a career-high nine points, and blocked three shots, in Saturday's 75-73 victory over Arizona State.

"It's nice for him to be healthy," Cardinal Dorian Pickens said. "He's had more than his fair share of injuries over the years. He's hard-working, physical and will do anything to win. He plays with so much passion and desire."

Verhoeven, whose father Pete played for four teams, including the Golden State Warriors, during a six-year NBA career, has appeared in 72 games, including five starts, of a possible 125.

"I'm proud of how he's recovered," Dawkins said. "He's had a long journey. A lot of guys might have packed it in and moved on but he loves this game and he loves this team. He's committed to getting better."

In addition to Travis, Allen and Pickens (11.4), Marcus Allen (12.6) and Michael Humphrey (10.7) also average double figures in scoring. If all five finish the season that way, it would mark the first time in Stanford history as many as five players averaged in double figures.

Don't count out freshman Marcus Sheffield making it six before the season is over. He's averaging 6.4 points overall but he's averaging 10.1 in Pac-12 play. Sheffield has scored 17 points twice, once against Utah, Stanford's Saturday opponent.

"He has it in him," Dawkins said. "He's shown moments. As he gets stronger, he'll be more consistent. He can shoot mid-range, outside and can get to the basket. He's a good scorer."

Stanford is looking to end a five-game losing streak against the Buffaloes. Colorado beat the Cardinal, 56-55, in their meeting at Maples Pavilion this year. Josh Scott hit a layup in the final minute to put the Buffaloes ahead to stay.

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