Dec 29, 2001
By RICK EYMER
Associated Press Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. - With Stanford's best player struggling, Curtis Borchardt turned in his finest effort and gave the No. 16 Cardinal their best win of the season.
Borchardt scored a career-high 27 points as the Cardinal beat No. 13 Michigan State 75-64 on Saturday night in the Pete Newell Challenge.
"I didn't play smart last week, so I wanted to work harder to establish myself in the post," said the 7-foot junior. "I asked for the ball more and more and the guys kept giving it to me."
Borchardt added 10 rebounds and matched his own school record with six blocked shots as Stanford (7-2) won for the fourth time in five tries. Julius Barnes also had a career-high 19 points.
Casey Jacobsen was limited to 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-6 from 3-point range.
"This was a timely game for us. Curtis was huge," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "It was the best performance of the team this year. It had the flavor of a tournament game."
Marcus Taylor set a career high with 21 points for Michigan State (9-4), which had a five-game winning streak stopped and fell to 0-4 away from home.
The Spartans, already short-handed because of injuries and players jumping to the NBA, were forced to use a walk-on at times down the stretch after three players fouled out in the final minutes.
"Until we get healthy, the nightmare will continue," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "We had too many guys in foul trouble and they kept bringing fresh guys in. It seemed like they had 100 guys on the bench."
It was Stanford's first game against a ranked opponent this season.
Borchardt sparked a Cardinal rally to open the second half with eight points as Stanford outscored the Spartans 13-4 in the first seven minutes to build a 44-41 advantage.
The Spartans regained the lead four minutes later on a four-point play by Adam Wolfe, who finished with 11 points, and neither team could gain a significant foothold until the final minute.
"Our lack of depth hurt us and they had so much of it," said Wolfe, who sprained his left ankle. "They just wore us down."
Michigan State made 12 of its first 15 shots to open a 30-18 lead midway through the first half. Taylor scored 12 of his points during that stretch.
Stanford responded with 10 unanswered points - five each from Barnes and Borchardt - over the next five minutes.
The Spartans led 37-31 at halftime.
"They made us go inside," Jacobsen said. "That played to our advantage. It was frustrating to me that my shots weren't falling but it doesn't matter when we get a win like this. They didn't need me tonight."
Stanford shot nearly 57 percent from the field, the first team to shoot over 50 percent against the Spartans in 50 games, dating to a 2000 NCAA tournament game against Utah. The Cardinal also became the second team to outrebound Michigan State this season.
The Spartans lead the nation in field-goal percentage defense, and are among the leaders in rebounding margin.
With the Michigan State football team playing a bowl game in nearby San Jose on Monday, the Spartans had a full complement of 300 band members - 40 with instruments - 17 cheerleaders, a mascot and 15 bus loads of fans in attendance. Nearly half the crowd of 12,124 was pro-Michigan State.
Stanford, with school out of session, was represented by a 20-member alumni band, no cheerleaders and no mascot, making it seem more like a Spartans home game.
Michigan State grad Magic Johnson was honored at halftime for his lifetime contributions to the game of basketball and three former Spartan coaches, along with several former players, were introduced before the contest along with current coach Tom Izzo: Pete Newell, for whom the event is named, Gus Ganakas and Jud Heathcote.