Stanford Cardinal (18-11, 9-8 Pac-12)
Utah Runnin’ Utes (20-9, 9-8 Pac-12)
Saturday, March 8, 2014 • 11:30 a.m.
Stanford, Calif. • Maples Pavilion (7,233)
Series History: Utah leads 15-10
Last Meeting: Stanford 84, Utah 66 (March 3, 2013 at Stanford, Calif.)
Radio: KNBR 1050 AM (PBP: Scott Reiss, Analyst: John Platz)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PBP: Dev Bhargava, Analyst: Vihan Lakshman)
TV: P12NET (PBP: JB Long, Analyst: Don MacLean)
The Opening Tip
One pivotal game follows another, as Stanford (18-11, 9-8 Pac-12) hosts Utah (20-9, 9-8 Pac-12) in the regular season finale for both teams. The Cardinal has dropped three in a row after Wednesday’s 59-56 loss to Colorado, representing its longest losing streak since January 2012. There is one scenario in which Stanford can earn the No. 4 seed. The Cardinal must beat Utah coupled with victories from Colorado, Oregon and Oregon State.
The game can be heard on KNBR 1050 AM, featuring the insightful duo of Scott Reiss (play-by-play) and John Platz (analyst). KZSU 90.1 FM provides coverage with Dev Bhargava (play-by-play) and Vihan Lakshman (analyst). The contest will be televised on Pac-12 Networks with JB Long (play-by-play) and Don MacLean (analyst).
Utah (20-9, 9-8 Pac-12), which topped California 63-59 on Wednesday in Berkeley, is the league’s most improved team following up last year’s campaign (15-18, 5-13 Pac-12) ... The Runnin’ Utes, who have won six of their last eight overall, have chalked up an 18-2 record at home but are only 2-7 on the road ... Utah compiled an 11-1 record in non-conference play, although its most notable win came at home against BYU ... Utah is averaging 77.8 points while shooting a league-best 49.6 percent overall. The defense has been equally solid, allowing 64.1 points and 40.6 percent shooting ... Look out for: Delon Wright (16.2 ppg, 59.3 percent FG, 153 assists, 75 steals), Jordan Loveridge (15.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 79.6 percent FT), Brandon Taylor (10.8 ppg, 108 assists).
Stanford All-Time vs. Utah
Utah owns a 15-10 edge. Stanford blitzed Utah in both meetings last year, winning 87-56 in Salt Lake City before coasting to an 84-66 victory at Maples Pavilion one month later. Stanford has won three in a row at home, with Utah’s last road victory in the series coming back on Jan. 23, 1971 in the form of a 99-91 decision.
Notable Career Totals Against Utah
Could this be the game that gets John Gage going? The sharp-shooter is averaging 10.2 points while having made 13-21 (61.9 percent) from the floor in four games. Also in four career appearances against Utah, Chasson Randle is averaging 17.2 points while making 23-51 (45.1 percent) from the field. Of Randle’s 23 baskets, 13 have come from beyond the arc. In four contests, Josh Huestis is averaging 8.0 points and 7.0 boards.
Nice To CU and U On The Schedule
This scheduling nugget from radio analyst and longtime program historian John Platz: in hosting Colorado and Utah to close out the Pac-12 regular season, Stanford is facing the Buffaloes and the Utes for the first time in 2014. The last time Stanford faced a conference foe for the first time in the last week of the regular season schedule was 23 years ago, when the Cardinal played a home-and-home with California (March 2 at Stanford, March 7 at Berkeley) to close out the 1991 Pac-10 regular-season slate.
Takeaways From The Colorado Game
Despite a game-high 24 points from Chasson Randle, Colorado escaped with a 59-56 victory over Stanford. Randle missed on a potential game-tying three-pointer on the final possession as Stanford’s second-half rally fell short ... Randle was the only Stanford player to reach double-figures in scoring, shooting 9-18 and knocking down all four of the team’s three-point attempts, making him only the sixth player in school history to knock down 200 career triples ... Stanford shot 36.8 percent overall and 10-17 from the foul line. The Cardinal allowed only 38.8 percent shooting but was plagued by 12 turnovers ... Josh Huestis pulled down 13 rebounds but fell one point shy of his eighth double-double of the year. Huestis grabbed at least 10 rebounds in a game for the 10th time ... Thanks to an improved defensive effort, Stanford erased a 33-28 halftime deficit. A layup from Anthony Brown with 3:58 remaining put Stanford in front 51-48 before Colorado responded with seven unanswered points ... John Gage converted a three-point play, accounting for Stanford’s only bench points.
Why Stanford Is An NCAA Team...
Stanford checks in at No. 46 in the latest edition of the NCAA’s RPI, one of six Pac-12 clubs ranked in the top-50. The Pac-12 is regarded as one of the nation’s strongest conferences ... According to ESPN.com, Stanford boasts solid strength of schedule (16) and BPI (38) totals ... Stanford is 3-2 against top-25 squads this year, defeating No. 23/25 UCLA (83-74) at home while winning road games at No. 10/10 Connecticut (53-51) and No. 17/13 Oregon (82-80) ... Stanford has tallied six overall road victories, second in the Pac-12 behind Arizona’s eight ... The Cardinal has dropped consecutive games only three times this season ... Stanford’s challenging non-conference slate included matchups against BYU, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Michigan. The Cardinal also made two separate trips to the East Coast.
Six Honored On Senior Day
Stanford will honor six seniors in a pregame ceremony: Aaron Bright, Andy Brown, John Gage, Josh Huestis, Robbie Lemons and Dwight Powell. During their time on The Farm, this group has led Stanford to 78 victories and a school-record 17 home wins two years ago en route to capturing the 2012 Postseason NIT championship. Huestis and Powell have started all 29 games, Gage and Lemons are first off the bench, and Bright and Brown are out due to injury.
Aaron Bright: Bright’s senior year may have been cut short by injury but that won’t stop him from leaving his legacy. Bright ignited Stanford’s 2012 NIT championship, averaging 16.8 points and shooting over 60.0 percent overall while being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. In 105 career games, Bright’s 316 career assists rank 10th all-time in school history. A science, technology and society major, Bright will graduate in June.
Andy Brown: Brown battled through three ACL tears since arriving on The Farm and four in his career overall. After appearing in nine games in 2011-12, Brown played his first full season last year and averaged 6.2 points while making 20 starts. A Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team honoree and NABC Honors Court selection in 2013, Brown received his undergraduate degree in communication last summer and is completing coursework toward a Master’s in communication.
John Gage: Few teams have the luxury of bringing the conference’s leading three-pointer shooter off their bench. But that’s exactly what Stanford had last year in Gage, who averaged 5.8 points and connected on 44.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Much of that damage was done against Utah, as Gage scored a career-high 19 points in a 31-point road win. Gage is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic First Team selection and 2013 NABC Honors Court selection. Gage boasts a 3.65 GPA and is majoring in economics.
Josh Huestis: Huestis has built a reputation as one of the conference’s elite defenders, twice being named to the Pac-12’s All-Defensive Team. Two weeks ago against USC, Huestis became Stanford’s all-time leading shot-blocker and he stands 50 points shy of 1,000 and nine rebounds away from 800. Also capable of hurting teams from outside with his jumper, Huestis has racked up 18 career double-doubles. A psychology major, Huestis was recognized as a Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention pick in 2012.
Robbie Lemons: Lemons joined the Cardinal as a walk-on after establishing a reputation as one of the premier high school scorers in the nation. Lemons went on to earn a scholarship and found his niche as one of the team’s key reserves, providing hustle and energy plays. He scored a career-high 12 points in Stanford’s win over Northwestern last year, knocking down four three-pointers. A Pac-12 All-Academic Second Team honoree and NABC Honors Court selection in 2013, Lemons is majoring in economics.
Dwight Powell: Powell’s dynamic all-around game makes him a matchup nightmare for opponents. Powell’s breakthrough junior year resulted in NABC All-District Second Team honors, while also being named the Pac-12 Most Improved Player and earning a spot on the All-Pac-12 First Team. A double-double machine, Powell has averaged at least 14 points and seven boards over the last two seasons. A science, technology and society major, Powell is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic pick and Senior CLASS award candidate.