Stanford Basketball

Stanford-Cal: Bears Fall 82-77, Drop Five of Last Six

Sam SugarmanCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2008

When the 7-foot Lopez twins arrived at Stanford in the fall of 2006, each was labeled with specific, but different, attributes.

Brook was the offensive star, an agile guy with a variety of offensive skills who could score from anywhere and was nearly unstoppable at times.

Robin was the defensive monster, deferring to his brother on the offensive side but shutting down nearly everything at the other end while gathering rebounds all over the court.

They played their roles to a T on Saturday, and Cal was forced to witness it firsthand in the No. 20 Cardinal's 82-77 victory over the Bears at Haas Pavilion.

Brook Lopez has made a habit of being missing in action in the first half lately, and he did it again Saturday by going scoreless, primarily because of foul trouble. He scored all 23 of his points in the second half, as Stanford (16-3, 5-2) went to him inside time after time after time.

"There's no secret to where we're going," Stanford head coach Trent Johnson said. "Just get it to the big boy in the right block."

Limited to less than five minutes of playing time in the first half, Brook Lopez scored nine points in the first 3:23 of the second.

Cal (11-7, 2-5) double-teamed him nearly every time he touched the ball, played a zone defense to try and contain him, but nothing deterred the big man in the second half.

"He did a good job of positioning and getting the ball deep in the paint," Cal coach Ben Braun said, "and when he gets it down deep, he's tough to stop."

A second half surges has become Brook Lopez's MO—he had three points in the first half against Arizona State, then 16 in the second.

Lopez scored two points in the first halves combined against USC and UCLA, but totaled 19 in the second halves.

And he did it again against Cal after picking up two quick fouls to render him useless in the first 20 minutes.

"I got some rest in the first half, and was able to watch the game and see what was happening," Brook Lopez said.

He can make coaches look pretty smart, but Johnson did make a move that paid big dividends by putting Robin Lopez back in the starting lineup for the first time since the conference opener.

He was in there to bother Cal's 6’10” Ryan Anderson—the Pac-10's leading scorer who had 30 and 32 points in two games last week and was averaging 21.9 points before Saturday.

Anderson had trouble contending with the size of Robin Lopez, who had four blocks, and Anderson ended up tying a season low with just 11 points, with three of those points came in the final 37 seconds after Stanford had built an eight-point lead.

It was the 18th time in Stanford's last 19 games that they held the opposing team's leading scorer under his average.

Robin Lopez had 14 rebounds, including an amazing 10 boards at the offensive end.

"That's a stat very few people in the country could get," Braun said.

As a team, Stanford had 21 offensive boards, a major reason why the Cardinal overcame Cal's accurate shooting.

Except for the missed shots in the frantic final seconds of the game, Cal shot well than 50 percent for the game against a strong defensive team.

The final blow was the outside shooting of Stanford guard Mitch Johnson, who had a career-high 16 points and hit 3-of-5 three-point attempts after going just 3-of-13 treys in his previous six Pac-10 games. No one was more surprised than Braun.

The Bears, who lost their third in a row, got a strong offensive game from DeVonHardin, who was 7-for-9 from the field and scored 17 points, one shy of his season high, while going against the Lopezes.

Patrick Christopher added 16 for Cal and his difficult, step-back jumper with 12:15 left gave Cal a 46-45 lead.

Later, a three-point play by Anderson tied it at 51 with 9:27 left, but Brook Lopez followed with a three-point play that put the Cardinal ahead to stay.

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