Feb. 24, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Brook Lopez left the court at halftime with a sense of satisfaction, and it certainly wasn't because Stanford's best big man had scored only two points.
Lopez had just helped to hold California star Ryan Anderson to two fewer points than Lopez managed in that opening half--and after 20 more minutes of impressive team defense, everybody in Cardinal felt good about themselves.
Anthony Goods scored 20 points and Lopez added 15 points and nine rebounds in No. 9 Stanford's 79-69 victory over the Golden Bears on Sunday night, keeping the Cardinal in the race for the Pac-10 title with their ninth win in 10 games.
Robin Lopez and Mitch Johnson had 11 points apiece for the Cardinal (22-4, 11-3), who improved to 14-1 at Maples Pavilion with another methodical win in which they maintained a small lead throughout the second half. Stanford also swept the season series from its cross-Bay rival, following an 82-77 win in Berkeley last month.
Both teams' biggest stars were tested, and Anderson felt he didn't respond as well as Brook Lopez.
"These games do get a little heated, but I've been trying to keep from exploding and just enjoy these physical games," Lopez said. "Basketball is always fun. We're out there because we love it. ... We tried hard to defense (Anderson). He definitely missed some opportunities. He had a few open-look 3s that just didn't fall for him. He's a great player. He just didn't have a good game."
Lawrence Hill scored just nine points for Stanford, but the junior forward hit a big basket and three free throws as the Cardinal held off Cal's last run. After Anderson hit two free throws with 4:47 left to cut the Cardinal's lead to 64-62, Stanford took charge with a 10-2 rally that included six points from Brook Lopez and a key layup from Goods, who went 8-for-8 on free throws.
"We were resilient in this game, thankfully," Stanford coach Trent Johnson said. "They're so good offensively, and we knew what to expect, but we responded well to their surges. Taj (Finger) and Brook both got a little banged up in all that contact underneath, but they both contributed as they always do."
Anderson finished with 15 points on 2-for-13 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds against Stanford, which held him to a season-low 11 in the schools' first meeting this season. He made all 10 of his free throws, but Anderson couldn't hit two open 3-pointers that would have given Cal (15-10, 6-8) its first lead since the opening minutes.
"I definitely rushed some things and didn't play like I wanted to," Anderson said. "It's not up to me to score every point in a game, anyway. Everybody has their off nights, and that was tonight for me. Those are shots that normally go down."
Patrick Christopher also scored 15 points for Cal, which had won four of six to boost its flagging NCAA tournament hopes. The Bears have lost nine of 12 to the Cardinal, who still have two games left against ranked teams before the conference tournament to improve their stock.
"We just couldn't put it together," Christopher said. "We didn't have much poise, that's what it came down to. We just didn't execute it."
The victory capped a dominant season for Stanford in the major sports against its biggest rival, including the women's basketball team's two wins over Cal and the football team's surprising win over the Bears in the Big Game. Most of the Stanford football team crowded onto the court at halftime to display The Axe, awarded to the winner of the annual rivalry game.
"Just like football!" the well-heeled Maples crowd chanted gleefully in the final seconds.