Nov 19, 2001
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford may have lost four starters from last year's squad that spent much of the season ranked No. 1, but the Cardinal are still out to prove they're one of the country's elite teams.
They'll play host to Southern Utah in their home opener on Tuesday.
On Saturday, the 13th-ranked Cardinal (1-0) downed New Mexico 81-66 to open the season. Junior swingman Casey Jacobsen, the only returning starter from last season's 31-3 team, led the way with 17 points.
However, he did not do it all alone. With New Mexico double-teaming Jacobsen much of the night, the rest of the Stanford lineup pitched in, as all five starters scored in double figures.
"With the performance that my supporting cast gave me tonight, I'll see less double-teams because they're going to pay for it," Jacobsen said after the game. "They knocked down shots consistently tonight."
It may not be the same Stanford team that reached the round of eight in the NCAA tournament last season, but it's still a Stanford team that will be tough to beat.
"This is a big stepping stone to where we want to be," said Jacobsen, who earned first team All-America honors last season. "We didn't know how good we are and we still don't. But at least we know we can beat a quality team like New Mexico."
Stanford coach Mike Montgomery was pleased with his team's performance, especially with the way the Cardinal battled back after falling behind 20-12 in the first half.
"I thought it was great, but we've got to be a whole lot better team in terms of our execution," he said.
They'll get a chance to work on that execution when Southern Utah (1-0) comes to Maples Pavilion.
The Thunderbirds, who finished 25-6 last year, opened their season on Friday with an 86-69 win over Division II Fort Lewis. Senior forward Dan Beus, the team's leading returning scorer with 10.9 points per game last year, led Southern Utah with 18 points.
The Thunderbirds won the Mid-Continent Conference title last season and fell to Boston College in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Stanford and Southern Utah have met just once before, with the Cardinal winning an 89-71 contest during the 1991-92 season.