Stanford tops California 72-61
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Chasson Randle isn’t as concerned with Stanford’s postseason possibilities as some of his teammates and coach might be.
Getting the Cardinal back into a comfortable offensive flow is a much more pressing issue for the mercurial point guard.
Randle scored 19 points and had a career-high eight assists to help Stanford break out of its month-long funk and beat California 72-61 on Saturday to complete a season-sweep of the Golden Bears.
”It was more so just about our standards and what we want to do for the rest of the year, NCAAs or not,” Randle said. ”We just wanted to go out the right way. We wanted to come out as aggressive as possible.”
Anthony Brown had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Michael Humphrey added 14 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double to help Stanford to its fifth win in the last six games between the two teams.
More critically, the win keeps the Cardinal (17-9, 8-6 Pac-12) in position for a key first-round bye in the conference tournament next month in Las Vegas. Stanford entered the game in fifth place, 1 1/2 games out of third. The top four teams at the end of the season get a pass in the opening round of the tournament.
”Right now we need some wins, that’s the main thing,” Randle said.
California (16-11, 6-8) had hoped to get into that mix but lost its second straight despite David Kravish’s career-high 23 points.
The final score was nearly identical to the 69-59 win Stanford had over Cal on Jan. 14 in Berkeley. The Cardinal needed a late run to pull away in that game but didn’t need it this time around.
Stanford led the entire game and was up by 15 with nine minutes left to play before Cal made a late push.
Kravish scored on consecutive trips down the court and seldom-used Brandon Chauca made a 3-pointer to cut the Cardinal’s lead to 63-55 with 4:40 remaining.
”I thought we had good looks but in the second half, the rhythm, the flow … we just didn’t get stops defensively,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. ”We had breakdowns, missed boxouts. I don’t think we defended well.”
Randle, who shot just 5 of 16 from the floor, made two free throws to stem Cal’s surge then fed Stefan Nastic down low for an easy layup that made it 67-55. Randle later sank two more free throws and finished 8-for-8 from the stripe.
While the Cardinal continued its stronghold over the Bears, the win is just Stanford’s second in six games – hardly the type of late-season momentum that will attract the attention of the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
The Cardinal got a boost before the game from a trio of speakers, including former Stanford center Adam Keefe and former NFL safety Ronnie Lott.
”I’m a big fan of Ronnie Lott’s and I thought it was no more appropriate time than now to uplift our guys,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. ”I think he could still go out on that field now and have success. He was that inspiring.”
Cal kept things close until Brown helped Stanford pull away late in the first half.
Brown, who made a pair of key 3-pointers when the Cardinal beat the Bears in January, scored seven points as part of a 15-6 run. He scored Stanford’s final five points, including a pair of free throws that made it 35-23.
California: The Bears are 5-4 since forward Dwight Tarwater was inserted into the starting lineup. The fifth-year senior scored five points against Stanford. … Kravish moved into fifth place on Cal’s all-time rebounding list. Kravish has 872. Bob McKeen (1952-55) holds the record of 1,019.
Stanford: Randle had one steal to tie Todd Lichti for third place on all-time list.
California: Hosts Oregon on Wednesday.
Stanford: Hosts Oregon State on Thursday.