M. Basketball: No place like home

Jan. 27, 2011, 1:34 a.m.
M. Basketball: No place like home
Freshman forward Anthony Brown, above, and the rest of the young Cardinal hope to snap a three-game losing streak tonight when the team faces Oregon in Maples Pavilion. Stanford hasn’t reached 60 points in six consecutive games. (JONATHAN POTO/The Stanford Daily)

Following a disappointing weekend in southern California, the Stanford men’s basketball team is back on the Farm. Currently plagued by a three-game losing streak, the Card (10-8, 3-4 Pac-10) now enters a four-game conference homestand–a rare scheduling occurrence that could provide the team with a favorable opportunity to pick up a few key wins and get back on track.

Tomorrow night, Stanford will face Oregon (9-10, 2-5), who heads to Maples Pavilion coming off a close 63-59 win against rival Oregon State last Saturday. The victory was the team’s first road win of the season, and it was a much-needed morale boost after the team suffered a month-long losing streak and 1-5 start to the conference season.

However, Oregon opened up its brand new arena two weeks ago with a clutch 68-62 win over a tough USC squad. The upset put the Ducks’ young team on the map, although it was predicted to finish last in the Pac-10 preseason media poll.

But if location is any indicator of the Ducks’ success, they will have a rough time against the Card–they have not won a single game on the Farm in 25 years. Though Stanford has defeated Oregon at home in 24 consecutive matchups, the team will have to learn from its mistakes in Los Angeles and revert back to its early-season style in order to capitalize on its home-court advantage.

Despite a 14-point lead over UCLA at one point in the first half, the Card was not able to produce nearly enough of an offensive effort during the remainder of the game. Head coach Johnny Dawkins is optimistic that this can change in tomorrow’s game.

“Our looks were very good, and if we take those looks again, they’re going to [fall]. We need to come out and do the same things we did in the first half,” Dawkins said. “We’re a good shooting team and a good scoring team, so we have to get back to the basics and make it happen.”

In fact, the Card has been staying alive almost solely because of its defense, as the team has failed to reach the 60-point mark in six consecutive games. Stanford hopes to see a revival of the explosive offense it displayed in the Pac-10 season opener against Cal when the Card shot a season-best 57.4 percent.

“We have to look at our kids and have them understand that it’s going to be a process,” Dawkins said of his young lineup. “We need to take the positives away and look at the negatives to see how we can correct them.”

Fortunately for Stanford, by continuing to enforce a solid defense and adjusting the previously struggling offense, the team could be able to hold off the Ducks, who are averaging only a 41.1 overall shooting percentage.

Senior Joevan Catron, sophomore E.J. Singler and junior Malcolm Armstead round out Oregon’s offense and pose the most notable threat to the Cardinal defense.

“Oregon is a good, hard-nosed team,” Dawkins said. “They’re scrappy, and they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”

Several Stanford players have particularly strong career showings against Oregon. Junior guard Jeremy Green has shot 46.4 percent from the field and averaged 12.0 points per game, while junior forward Jack Trotter is 7-for-11 from the floor when facing the Ducks.

Dawkins expects these players to be key contributors, and also hopes that the team will come together and produce enough momentum to overcome Oregon’s quick style of play.

“They’re playing with a style that fits their young players and smaller team,” Dawkins said of the Oregon lineup. “They get after you defensively and mix up their defenses. Offensively, they’re constantly in attack mode with guys who are looking to drive and pitch, and that fits well with their personality.”

Tipoff against Oregon to kick off the four-game homestand is tomorrow at 7 p.m.

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