The Stanford Cardinal certainly like Moby Arena.
Friday and Saturday nights saw the Cardinal women’s volleyball team win two matches to move onto the NCAA Tournament Final Four. As an added bonus, Sunday the men’s basketball squad ran away from the CSU Rams in the second half of their game for a 74-63 win.
The Rams (3-7) have now lost five straight games, and just like Wednesday’s loss to Colorado, the Rams let their opponent take control of the game after an even first half.
“We just have to learn to put our foot down on other people’s throats,” said Rams forward Andy Ogide. “We should have jumped on them on them in the second half.”
It was Stanford (5-0), not the Rams, who were able take command after the break, as they used a 12-3 run to extend a 33-32 halftime lead to 45-35 in the first four minutes of the half.
“It was just all defense. We got out-muscled in the first half, and we were much tougher mentally in the second,” said Stanford guard Anthony Goods, who powered the Cardinal attack, pouring in 23 points on 4-8 shooting from 3-point range.
Goods said it was that defense that allowed the Cardinal to get several baskets in transition, including three tomahawk dunks from center Josh Owens, who had 14 points.
While Stanford credited their defense, the Rams put much of the blame on themselves for their 17 turnovers.
“We just have to keep working and learn to play with poise,” said Miles. “Willis (Gardner) and Marcus (Walker) struggled early from lack of poise.”
The Rams had success early pounding the ball inside to Ogide and center Dan Vandervieren, but it didn’t carry over to the second half.
“We got away from it because we turned it over,” said Miles. “Then we get behind and we thought you had to play small.”
Stanford extended their lead to 14-points in the middle of the second, but the Rams refused to go away. CSU scored 10-straight points in just over a minute to cut the lead to four, keyed by Andre McFarland’s two 3-pointers and a resounding Andy Ogide dunk.
Stanford refused to be rattled, and the Rams couldn’t get any closer than four the rest of the night.
“I think that is one thing about being Stanford, we never panic,” said Goods.
CSU can’t say the same, and while they are happy they responded to Stanford with a run of their own, the Rams just want to get a win.
“We are going to go on the road and win; end this losing streak,” said Vandervieren, speaking of the Rams next game against Denver. “We know that practice carries over to games, and we having been having tougher practices, so we have to keep that going.”
Ogide returned to the Rams lineup after missing Wednesday’s game, and he recorded his third double-double of the season, with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Walker (15 points) and Gardner (11 points), despite their early struggles, were able to score in the second to help keep the Rams in the game.
The Rams won’t be back to Moby Arena for almost a month (Jan. 10 vs. BYU), as CSU travels to face Denver on Friday, then heads to Honolulu, Hawaii right after Christmas for the Rainbow Classic, before visiting Texas Christian to start off conference play Jan. 3.
Men’s basketball beat writer Matthew Pucak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.