Thursday, January 17, 2008

Men's Basketball vs Arizona 1/17/2008

Stanford 56 Arizona 52 Unable to camp out for the game, I got to Maples at around 1pm and found 3 tents set up. 2 belonged to Larkin (a freshman dorm). It was organised by one of our fellow camp-outees from previous years who is now an RA there. Hopefully they'll keep the tradition alive once the class of 2008 graduates.

In other news, all 6th Man members were sent an e-mail this morning stating that ID card sharing is no longer permissible. Instead, a ticket transfer system has been instituted where 6th Man members can transfer their tickets to other current students through a website. What has happened in the past is that 6th Man members have lent their IDs and shirts to friends when they were unable to attend games. A number of alums have used this method to get into the 6th Man section and I guess they want to crack down on this.

As someone who was planning on doing this after I graduate, I guess I’m somewhat biased. That being said, I don’t understand the need for this crack down. It’s not as if we’ve been filling the whole 6th Man section two deep this year. Tonight was our best shot (Arizona, early in the quarter, no skip trip) and I still feel like we could have fit more people. If a young alum is committed enough to find a way to get into the 6th Man section, he should be allowed to.

By making the process of sharing 6th Man membership more complicated, I worry that student attendance will fall. With an already small pool of people who get 6th Man and classes/studying/ski trip getting in the way, every person counts. In any case, it wasn't really enforced tonight since the card swipers were new and just happy to have the cards swipe properly. We’ll see what happens down the road.

Coming into the game, I was worried about Bayless after he torched Houston for 33 points and 9 assists. It great to see Goods contain him and Fred get in Budinger's face. Early on, the refs were also allowing a lot of contact on defense, which I think works in our favour. Brook got some nice blocks coming from the weak-side but he needs to do a better job of staying on the ground when defending his man since his length is enough to bother most other bigs. Jordan Hill got him to bite on some pump fakes and caused him to pick up his second foul which promptly sent him to the bench and prevented another career first half. It puzzles me why both Oregon and Arizona needed a full half to adjust to Brook, but I shouldn't complain. Kudos to Fred and Mitch for throwing some nice entry passes to Brook in the 1st half. Mitch also had a great bounce pass to Taj for a layup.

In the 2nd half, Arizona made better adjustments to guarding Brook and used Nic Wise to attack Mitch on offense. While some of it was on Mitch, Wise made some tough shots too. We also were careless with the ball and gave them some easy baskets, enabling them to go on a run which negated our once 10 point lead. Our inability to run any sort of break when we have numbers hurts, although I guess we now realise that and try and grind it out in our half court offense instead of attacking and rushing bad shots. In crunch time, Lawrence's 3 was huge, and it was our defense which saved the day as we managed to do just enough to get the crucial stops, even after missing 2 front ends of 1 and 1 free throws. It was especially poetic that Fred, who had gone 0-6 from the charity stripe against Oregon, redeemed himself by taking his time at the stripe and clinching the game with 2 clutch free throws that were 1 and 1's.

Whew, I'm glad we escaped with the win. I was beginning to worry that we would blow it in the second half with our sloppy play. We really need a sweep this week and Arizona State isn't going to be any easier, especially after they topped Cal in double over time. They are now 4-0 in the Pac-10. Could they be this year's Washington State? Time will tell, but let's give them their first conference loss of the season.
~ Zhihao

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