Feb. 7, 1998
STORRS, Conn. (AP) - The letters heard most around Gampel Pavilion on
Saturday were D and Q and it wasn't over players fouling out.
Seventh-ranked Connecticut gave one of its most impressive defensive
performances of the year in holding No. 9 Stanford to its lowest point total of
the season in a 76-56 victory.
Connecticut senior Monquencio Hardnett, better known as "Q," had a
season-high 14 points and keyed the zone traps that had the sellout crowd
roaring throughout and chanting his name in the second half.
"I don't like being in the spotlight, leave that for the stars," said the
reserve guard who was mobbed by his teammates after consecutive steals led to
two breakaway moves as the Huskies (21-3) pulled away midway through the second
half. "I just like to do what I'm supposed to do as long as we keep winning."
The victory was the fifth straight for the Huskies, while the Cardinal
(19-3) lost for the third time in four games after starting the season 18-0.
Stanford played at California on Wednesday night, traveled across the country
Thursday, practiced Friday and played at noon local time Saturday, 9 a.m. to
the team's body clocks.
"We knew we ran the risk, that's why you play the games," Stanford coach
Mike Montgomery said. "You are judged every time out and everyone is aware of
that. It's not about perception, we are who we are. What that was some really
Connecticut, always one of the nation's leading defensive teams, held
Stanford well under its average of 81.6 points per game and to under 70 points
for just the fourth time this season. The Cardinal's previous low was 63 points
in a 21-point win over San Diego State.
Stanford, which entered the game shooting 47 percent, was 19-for-61 (31
percent) against Connecticut, only the fourth time this season it was under 40
percent. The Cardinal struggled against the Huskies' zone trap, finishing with
18 turnovers, five over their season average and three less than the
season-high they had in their last game against California.
"That was an exquisite basketball game for us. I couldn't ask for much
more," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "We normally use our defense to
create our offense and that's what happened. We knew they would be tired after
coming across the country so instead of playing the game at 12 feet where they
wanted to, we played at 94 feet. We wanted a fullcourt pace even in the
Richard Hamilton scored 24 points for Connecticut, which led by 12 points at
halftime and by as many as 25 before Stanford scored the final five points of
Hamilton had 14 points in the first half as Connecticut took control on both
ends of the floor. He scored the first six points of a 10-0 run that gave the
Huskies a 12-6 lead. The biggest lead of the first half was 33-19.
"We did not make them pay inside at all," Montgomery said of his team
which has one of the biggest frontcourts in the country even without starter
Pete Van Elswyk who didn't make the trip because of food poisoning. "It was a
combination of their defense and us showing some slippage."
Stanford, which lost consecutive home games to Arizona and Arizona State
before beating Cal on Wednesday, was led by Arthur Lee with 17 points.
Stanford went on a 10-4 run to get within 65-49 with 5:09 left, but Hardnett
and Ricky Moore had successive three-point plays to start an 11-0 run.
"Q did an excellent job for us just like always," Hamilton said. "We know
he and the rest of the bench will do what they have to do and that's why we
don't have to worry about fatigue."