Nov. 15, 2011
STANFORD, Calif.- Aaron Bright insists he's not looking to score as much as he is trying to run the offense. The Stanford sophomore point guard is doing a good job of both.
Bright scored a career-high 21 points in helping Stanford beat Fresno State 75-59 Monday night in the first round of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off.
"I'm not looking to be the leading scorer," Bright said after making five of seven shots, including all three 3-pointers. "If they give me an open shot, I'll take it. I'll keep driving to the basket until someone stops me. It's just worked in my favor so far."
Bright said it was a matter of confidence and he began to develop that last spring.
"I studied a lot of tape and watched guys my size," he said. "I tried to resemble my game after them and started feeling comfortable."
Sophomore Josh Huestis recorded his first double-double with 10 points and a career-best 11 rebounds for the Cardinal (2-0), which have beaten the Bulldogs nine straight.
"I can tell you that no one works harder than Josh and Aaron," Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins said. "They both are committed to working on their skills and you can see the success."
Stanford held a 36-25 rebounding edge and forced Fresno State into 17 turnovers.
Kevin Olekaibe scored 19 points to lead the Bulldogs (1-1), who won their season opener over Illinois State in Rodney Terry's head coaching debut. Jonathan Wills added 11.
"We didn't take care of the basketball, we didn't do a few things in terms of a few adjustments we were trying to make against those guys," Terry said. "And then we had some lapses defensively, and it kind of snowballed from there. We knew it would be tough coming in here, but we came not to just play a game but to compete and win. We were only two possessions away (from the lead) at halftime, but we didn't come out the way we needed to in starting the half."
Olekaibe, Fresno State's leading scorer, was limited to four points in the first half on 2-of-7 shooting. He made his first three shots after halftime, including two 3-pointers.
The Bulldogs remained competitive but were unable to get closer than five in the second half.
Stanford faces Colorado State (2-0) on Tuesday at 8 p.m., with the winner advancing to Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., for the semifinals and finals, slated for Nov. 23 and 25.
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NOTES: Stanford last placed at least five players in double figures in back-to-back games during the first two contests of the 2007-08 campaign. The Cardinal had five players reach double-figure scoring in victories over Harvard (Nov. 9) and Northwestern State (Nov. 10) ... Aaron Bright has poured in 37 points through the first two games. Bright reached that point total in his eighth game last year ... Jack Trotter quietly finished with 11 points, reaching double-digits in scoring for the 13th time in his career and first since an 11-point outing against DePaul on Nov. 28, 2010 ... The Cardinal finished 25-38 from the foul line, while the Bulldogs were just 9-15. Josh Owens, Aaron Bright and Jarrett Mann each attempted nine free throws ... Colorado State defeated SMU 75-56 in the earlier game on Monday.