Josh Huestis, E.J. Singler

No. 10 Oregon blown out by Stanford, which is finally playing up to par

1 Comment

You’d think that the No. 10 team in the country losing by 24 points to a team in the middle of the pack in the Pac-12 would be a big deal, but after watching Oregon get thoroughly embarrassed by Stanford 76-52 on Wednesday night on national television, I’m not all that concerned.

On the one hand, Oregon was playing without starting point guard Dominic Artis. Artis, who is averaging 10.2 points and 3.8 assists on the season, is battling a foot injury and will be out for a couple of weeks. He missed Saturday’s win over Washington, but that game was played in Eugene.

Wednesday’s game was in Palo Alto, and I shouldn’t have to tell you about the benefits of playing at home at this level of college hoops. Oregon shot 34.2% from the floor, turned the ball over 20 times and managed just four assists. Their offense was just as ugly to watch as those numbers would indicate.

The bigger factor, however, was Stanford.

The Cardinal were a trendy sleeper pick in the Pac-12 back in October and have spent the first three months of the season underperforming. Their back court of Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle, one of the best shooting duos in the country last season, have combined to hit 26.0% of their threes. They’ve lost a number of close games they could have won. Of their eight losses on the season, only one was by double digits. That was last Thursday at Colorado, when the Cardinal lost by 21 at Colorado.

And that loss seems to have lit a fire underneath Johnny Dawkins’ club.

After whipping an improved Utah team by 31 points on the road on Sunday, Stanford turned around and made quick work of the Ducks. Josh Huestis was the star, finishing with 14 points and 13 boards, including a number of thunderous dunks in traffic, while Dwight Powell had 12 points and 13 boards of his own.

But the better news was that both Bright and Randle seemed to get into a rhythm offensively. They combined for 29 points, hitting all six of the threes they attempted. Against Utah, those two combined to make 3-8 from distance, meaning that they’ve hit nine of their last 14 from beyond the arc.

The loss is Oregon’s first in Pac-12 play, cutting their lead over Arizona and Arizona State to just a single game.

More importantly, the win kept Stanford relevant in the Pac-12 race.

Is this the kind of performance that could turn around their season?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.

No. 24 Cincinnati beats George Washington 61-56

Troy Caupain
AP Photo
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 1:38 to play, and No. 24 Cincinnati beat George Washington 61-56 on Saturday in the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic.

The fact the game came down to a three-point play was ironic as both teams took 22 3-point attempts and there were times it seemed a 3-point shooting broke out.

Caupain’s traditional three-point play gave the Bearcats (7-0) a 55-54 lead. After a missed 3 by the Colonials (6-1) Octavius Ellis, who chosen the tournament MVP, scored on a tip-in. Patricio Garino scored on a drive for George Washington with 29 seconds left.

The Colonials let the Bearcats pass the ball around and they finally fouled when Ellis touched the ball with 14 seconds to play. Ellis, a 56 percent free throw shooter, clinched his MVP award by making both for a 59-56 lead. Two free throws by Caupain with 6.1 seconds left capped the scoring.

Farad Cobb and Kevin Johnson both had 11 points for the Bearcats while Ellis had nine points and seven rebounds.

Garino had 15 points for George Washington, Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 and Joe McDonald 11.

The Colonials finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, not bad for a team that came in shooting 27.9 percent (29 of 104) from there. The 50 percent doesn’t look so good when you consider the Colonials made five of their first six 3-point attempts and were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half. They went 16:42 between 2-point field goals but led 30-27 at halftime.

The Bearcats were 7 of 22 from 3-point range but their advantage came at the free throw line where they were 10 of 12 compared to George Washington’s 3 of 4.


George Washington: The Colonials beat Tennessee in the opening round and they were 3 of 15 on 3s. … George Washington was off to its best start since it was8-0 in 2005-06. … The Colonials finished 10 for 34 from 2-point range.

Cincinnati: The win gives the Bearcats a 13-1 all-time record against George Washington and this was their sixth straight. The last win came on Jan. 31, 1976. … Cincinnati is 7-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons. … The Bearcats are 51-8 in and have won 24 of 25 in November under coach Mick Cronin. They have won 49 straight games when scoring over 60 points. The 60th point against the Colonials came with 6.1 seconds to play.


George Washington hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Cincinnati hosts Butler on Wednesday.