Nov 21, 2001
By RICK EYMER
Associated Press Writer
STANFORD, Calif. - Once Casey Jacobsen figured out the matchup zone and got going, so did the Stanford Cardinal.
Jacobsen scored 23 points as No. 14 Stanford defeated Southern Utah 81-63 on Tuesday night for its 14th consecutive victory in home openers.
"I was real frustrated the first 10 minutes of the game because they were messing with my mind," said Jacobsen. "We probably won't see a zone like this the rest of the season. They know how to play a matchup zone."
Curtis Borchardt recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Cardinal (2-0), who don't return home until Dec. 15 after playing in two tournaments and taking time off for midterms. Josh Childress added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Dan Beus scored a career-high 23 points to lead Southern Utah (1-1), which fell to 1-11 against nationally ranked opponents. Brian Gardner added 11 points.
Jacobsen missed his first four attempts, which allowed the Thunderbirds to stay within 27-25 with less than six minutes left in the first half.
Once Jacobsen started to heat up - he made three straight and scored 10 of Stanford's 14 points in the final four minutes of the half - Stanford began to pull away. The Cardinal took a 43-31 lead at halftime.
"When I put the ball on the floor against a regular man defense, I feel like I can beat one guy and maybe one other guy and then the basket," said Jacobsen. "When I put the ball on the floor with this zone, I feel five guys looking at me and I feel pressure from all sides."
Beus, last year's Newcomer of the Year in the Mid-Continent, was nearly as impressive for Southern Utah, as he made four of his first six shots and scored 15 in the first half.
"That No. 33 (Beus) is a good player," said Stanford coach Mike Montgomery. "He had 15 points in the first half and that shouldn't happen against us."
After building a comfortable margin, Stanford appeared content to maintain its double-digit lead in the second half. The Thunderbirds never got any closer than 10 points and the Cardinal never led by more than the final margin.
"They had seven points in transition at the end of the first half and that hurt us bad," said Thunderbirds coach Bill Evans. "We were in the game until then."
Southern Utah went on a modest 8-1 run - sparked by 3-pointers from Gardner and Aaron Miles - to pull within 58-48 with 8:20 remaining.
The Thunderbirds reached the NCAA tournament last year for the first time in school history, but lost four starters off that team and were picked to finish fifth in the Mid-Continent Conference.
"That zone is a tough hurdle for anybody," said Montgomery. "We don't spend a lot of time in practice against a zone because it's very hard to replicate."
Stanford also lost four starters, but with Jacobsen an All-American candidate and a crop of highly regarded recruits - like the 6-8 Childress - the Cardinal were still picked to finish second in the Pac-10.
The Cardinal, who haven't lost a home opener since 1987 against Santa Clara, are three-time defending conference champions. They improved to 6-0 against Mid-Continent opponents, and 29-5 in home openers at Maples Pavilion.
This was the second meeting between teams, as Stanford defeated the Thunderbirds 89-71 in 1991.