Important game against Cal looms for men’s basketball

Jan. 13, 2015, 10:43 p.m.

While Wednesday night’s Stanford-Cal showdown won’t quite be the “Big Game” both teams are familiar with, the Stanford men’s basketball team has every reason to treat it like one.

The Cardinal will head to Berkeley to take on the Golden Bears in the first matchup between the two teams this year. Both teams will be back in the Bay Area after trips to Southern California that weren’t particularly successful for either side.

(LAUREN DYER/The Stanford Daily)
Junior forward Rosco Allen (above) averaged 16 points in the Cardinal’s two games against their Southern California foes and has been a welcome addition to the Stanford offense this season. (LAUREN DYER/The Stanford Daily)

Stanford (11-4, 3-1 Pac-12) is coming off a 1-1 trip in Los Angeles after losing to UCLA in double overtime by a score of 86-81 and inching out a 78-76 win against USC. In both games, the Cardinal saw second half double-digit leads evaporate, although they were fortunate enough to hold on just long enough in the latter.

“Offensively, we didn’t stay to what we were doing earlier,” said head coach Johnny Dawkins of the particularly tough UCLA loss. “Give UCLA credit: They made some timely shots and some timely threes. We just didn’t move the ball.”

Although Stanford may not have gotten the road trip sweep that it wanted, Cal (11-6, 1-3 Pac-12) showed that it could have been a lot worse. The Bears fell to USC and UCLA by 14 and 19 points, respectively, being held to an average of 55.5 points per game after averaging roughly 69 points per game on the year.

So as Stanford and Cal face off on Wednesday, the stakes seem high, particularly for two teams that will be looking to get back on track. In both of last year’s matchups between the two, the road team prevailed. Cal won the game at Stanford by a score of 69-62, while Stanford responded with an 80-69 win at Berkeley.

Stanford’s success this season has rested on the shoulders of Chasson Randle. The senior guard boasts a team-high 19.3 points per game with a highlight reel of big plays that have saved the Cardinal many times this season.

Randle’s crosstown counterpart is Tyrone Wallace, a junior guard that has been Cal’s go-to player all year long. Wallace, a wing player turned point guard, has flourished under the direction of first-year coach Cuonzo Martin. He is averaging 18.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, and should be a tough matchup for both Randle and backup point guard Robert Cartwright all night.

Both teams also have similar second star players in Anthony Brown for Stanford and Jordan Mathews for Cal. Brown led the Cardinal with 21 points in the USC win and is averaging 15 per game. Both Brown and Mathews lead their teams in 3-point shooting, with each shooting an impressive 44 percent from beyond the arc.

Outside of the players themselves, the two teams boast similar statistics and plans of attack. Defense has been a strong suit for both sides, with each team holding opponents to fewer than 65 points a game on a roughly 40 percent clip from the field. Both teams deploy physicality on defense and run patient offenses fueled by the skills of their star players.

One secret weapon for Stanford that seems to be getting more attention by the day is Rosco Allen. Allen has provided a jolt of energy for the Cardinal each time he’s come off the bench this year. He was particularly effective in Southern California, scoring an average of 16 points in each of the two games. He’s been a large reason that Stanford has been able to dig itself out of the late first-half holes that it seems to get into time after time.

Regardless of who can get it done for the Cardinal on Wednesday night, Stanford hopes to continue its strong start in Pac-12 play and make a statement against a Cal team that will look to be just as competitive in the conference.

Tipoff is at 8 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’

The original version of this article stated that Chasson Randle is a fifth-year senior. He is actually a senior in his fourth year. The Daily regrets this error. 

Sandip Srinivas '18 is the Football Editor, a sports desk editor and a beat writer for men's basketball and football at The Stanford Daily. Sandip is a sophomore from Belmont, California that roots for the San Francisco Giants during even years and roots for Steph Curry year-round. He is majoring in Symbolic Systems and can be contacted via email at sandips 'at'

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