Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Halftime: Washington State 34, Oregon 22

Well the Staples Center is beginning to fill up for the second game, but not all that much. There's about 3,500 fans here and we're right behind the Washington State bench and the Cougars have been dominating in the first 20 minutes. Aron Baynes is dominating his freshman counterparts Josh Crittle and Michael Dunigan, scoring 14 points with five rebounds at the break as the Cougars are shooting 61 percent from the field (14-for-23) and have attempted just one 3-pointer, a testament to their inside domination.

Tajuan Porter leads Oregon with 11 points but the rest of the Ducks are shooting 4-for-16 from the field for 11 points. Oregon coach Ernie Kent can't wait for 2010.

In the house: Former NBA guard Gus Williams, former Arizona standout Miles Simon, Clippers guard Fred Jones (an Oregon alum), KJR radio's Dave "Softy" Mahler.

Thoughts from OSU coach Craig Robinson

The Beavers players were obviously crushed following their 62-54 loss to Stanford, given they had beaten the Cardinal soundly in both regular season meetings and had a seven-point lead at halftime. They were outscored 41-26 in the second half and leading scorer Calvin Haynes went scoreless. It was obvious Oregon State was exhausted in their final four games, losing all by at least eight points.

Coach Craign Robinson did a remarkable job bringing the Beavers back to respectability but the tough thing about that is that the players are still devastated after the final loss of the season, regardless of how they have progressed. Robinson, a very intelligent man, chose to look at the positives following the defeat. Oregon State lost all 19 conference games last season. This year the Beavs finished 7-12.

"This was an extremely disappointing outcome but I couldn't be more proud or pleased with these guys over the course of this year. We are having a tough time coming to grips with that because we didn't want to end on a negative note, this negative note. But what I try to remind these guys is that these gusy are the same guys minus their leading scorer and one other key player that went 0-18 in this league last year."

"And by all rights and by all examples were a laughingstock in this league. And we know that. I watched the tapes. I watched how people treated them. The turnaround they did without any additional help should by duly noted and it's certainly duly noted. Again, I couldn't be more proud of this group of guys."

"(Anthony Goods) was terrific. He hit some open shots which we we're disappointed in but he also hit some contested shots. He looked much more inspired than he did the first two times we played them. I can't take anything away from him. We played good defense and kept them to the kind of point total that we like to keep people. But he still got going."

Forward Roeland Schaeftenaar (12 points): "Obviously (this year) has been a lot more fun than last year. But it's just tough for us right now to end this way."

Sophomore guard Lathem Wallace: "I agree with Roeland. We had a great season and we ended on a bad note. And we have improved."

Quotes, notes from Stanford 62, Oregon State 54

Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins: "It was definitely a hard-fought game and our team did a great job of defending in the second half. We showed character. Give Oregon State a lot of credit, their kids play hard for 40 minutes. They make you work for everything you get. I think we were very fortunate tonight."

Did you guys make an effort to have more energy in the second half?: "We talked about (that) at halftime, especially for our seniors. There's 20 minutes left. To be quite frank, all three make great plays in the second half. Of course Anthony (Goods) was terrific. Mitch (Johnson) made some big buckets for us and so did Lawrence (Hill). He was also very good. All four of our seniors really made big plays for us in the second half."

How will you match up with (top seed) Washington tomorrow? "They're a very good team. They're conference champions. We have to play a very good 40 minutes. It's going to be a physical game, it's going to be a hotly contested game. It's going to be testy. Probably the best thing we can do right now is have our players get off their feet and get some rest and get ready to go tomorrow."

Did you have to get Goods (23 points) motivated since he went scoreless the last game against OSU?
"I didn't think he needed to be reminded. He's our leading scorer and that's a tough but I figured he would step up in some respect. You didn't know what his numbers we're going to be but I figured he'd be ready to play."

Final: Stanford 62, Oregon State 54

This is the Stanford team that began the season 11-0 and looked like it could be a contender in the conference. Anthony Goods was sparkling in the second half with 17 points and Stanford used solid shooting to hand Oregon State its fourth straight loss.

About a week ago, I was convinced Craig Robinson was Pac-10 Coach of the Year over Lorenzo Romar, but after the Beavers lost their last four games, I give the nod to Romar. Oregon State still have a long way to go. It shot 39 percent in the second half, hit just one 3-pointers and appeared flat after solid victories over Cal and Stanford two weeks ago.

Back with quotes, notes and a look at Game 2: Oregon-Washington State.

Cougs in the House; Stanford up 58-54 with 1:01 left.

One of the coolest things I think about a big tournament, especially a conference tournament, is the team playing in the next game sitting behind the basket, iPods in hand, watching the current game. The Washington State players strolled into Staples Center and its small rooting section went crazy.

Meanwhile, Anthony Goods may have put this game away with a 3-pointer for a 58-52 lead with 1:30 left. We do not have running stats at the press table, but from the scoreboard, Goods has 22 points. A senior, Goods has been inconsistent in his career, although he is at his best tonight.

Stanford makes run

OK, the Cardinal have awaken, scoring 14 of the first 16 points of the second half to take a 35-30 lead and it looks like this game is going down to the final minutes.

The Cardinal led by as many as eight (49-41) but Oregon State has to be the stubornest team in the country. The Beavers just won't go away and they have cut the deficit to one -- 53-52 -- after a free throw by Roeland Schaftenaar with three minutes left.

Stanford just called time out after a steal ahead 55-52 with 2:35 left, so as expected this game is going to perhaps go down to the final possession.

Halftime: Oregon State 28, Stanford 21

The first half between these two teams has played out just like Oregon State coach Craig Robinson wanted it to, ugly and slow. The Cardinal shot less than 38 percent in the first half, including 5-for-15 from players not named Landry Fields. The Cardinal has a solid club but it can't hit a key shot in the first half.

Oregon State, meanwhile, is doing exactly what it likes to do. Play a stifling zone defense, pound the ball in the paint occasionally and and hit 3-pointers. The Beavers are 4-for-8 from behind the arc at halftime with Calvin Haynes and Lathen Wallace each scoring seven points.

By the way, don't get fooled by Craig Robinson being Barack Obama's brother-in-law. The dude is pretty intimidating looking because he is a solid 6-foot-6. For some reason he looks shorter on television but Robinson is a big dude.

Now back to the game: Stanford will have to improve on its 2-for-11 mark at the 3-point line in the second half.

The Atmosphere

The Stanford-Oregon State game resembles an NBA summer league game with two bands surrounded by empty seats. The Staples Center is beginning to fill in and my press seats are pretty amazing, right behind the Stanford bench. Being a Cal guy, I have mixed emotions about this, but you definitely get a better feel for the game being so close.

There are scouts here, shoe company gurus such as the Pump Brothers, George Raveling, saw Lorenzo Romar hanging out because the Stanford-Oregon State winner will play Washington, and various other assistant coaches and former players checking out the first game.

OK we've got connection

Due to technical difficulties, the debut of the G Washburn sports blog was delayed from the Pac-10 Tournament. I havce notoriously have trouble with the wireless connection at Stapnes Center and despite not covering a game here for nearly a year, it happened again. But I think we're OK.

Here we go.

G Washburn

Pac-10 Tournament Game Two



WHEN/WHERE: 8:30 tonight, Staples Center


OREGON (8-22, 2-16 Pac-10)

Ducks starting lineup Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Tajuan Porter (Jr.) 15.2 2.5 1.8
G LeKendric Longmore (So.) 10.2 3.8 0.8
G Garret Sim (Fr.) 6.8 1.8 2.1
F Joevan Catron (Jr.) 7.3 6.8 2.3
C Michael Dunigan (Fr.) 8.6 4.8 0.5

WASHINGTON STATE (16-14, 8-10)

Cougars starting lineup Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Taylor Rochestie (Sr.) 13.6 3.6 4.7
G Marcus Capers (Fr.) 1.4 2.2 1.2
G Klay Thompson (Fr.) 13.1 4.0 1.8
F Caleb Forrest (Sr.) 6.6 3.2 0.9
C Aron Baynes (Sr.) 12.0 7.4 0.7

WHAT TO KNOW: There is no more dangerous team in this tournament than the Cougars, who beat Arizona and Arizona State in their final home weekend and pushed arch rival Washington to the final minutes before losing 67-60 last weekend in Seattle. Rochestie is the team leader while Thompson could have easily won conference freshman of the year award and Baynes is a burly center with a decent shooting touch. WSU is first in the nation on points allowed per game (55.3) and its methodical style frustrates opponents. A win Wednesday puts the Cougars against UCLA, which they beat in Los Angeles last month. ... Don't sleep in Oregon. The Ducks have finally shown improvement and played respectable basketball after dropping their first 14 conference games. If Oregon's young kids can play a complete game and the Porter, an Allen Iverson-type of shooting guard, can get hot, then the Ducks can easily make it competitive. Coach Ernie Kent is likely safe because Oregon has eight freshman and two seniors, neither of whom are in the regular rotation. Oregon is a team to watch for 2010.

WHO TO WATCH: Rochestie has had an roller-coaster season but it ended on a major upswing with brilliant games against Arizona and Arizona State. The win over the Sun Devils ended with a 26-footer from Rochestie in the final seconds on Senior Day. His matchup with Porter should be interesting.

HEAD TO HEAD: This is the third meeting between the two clubs and Washington State has won the previous two meetings. The Cougars won 74-62 in Eugene on Jan. 17 and 67-38 on Feb. 12 in Pullman. Rochestie scored a combined 46 points in the two games.

Pac-10 Tournament Game One



WHEN/WHERE: 6 tonight, Staples Center


STANFORD (17-12, 6-12 Pac-10)

Cardinal starting lineup Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Mitch Johnson (Sr.) 7.0 2.6 4.4
G Anthony Goods (Sr.) 15.7 3.3 1.9
G/F Landry Fields (Jr.) 12.6 6.3 1.9
F Lawrence Hill (Sr.) 13.6 5.5 2.6
F/C Josh Owens (Fr.) 7.4 3.7 0.8

OREGON STATE (13-16, 7-11)

Beavers starting lineup Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Rickey Claitt (Sr.) 6.9 1.9 2.6
G Josh Tarver (Jr.) 3.8 1.6 1.3
G Seth Tarver (Jr.) 8.1 5.0 2.0
F Kevin McShane (Fr.) 0.4 0.9 0.4
C Roeland Schaftenaar (Jr.) 9.8 3.4 3.1

WHAT TO KNOW: Both of these teams are playing for some type of postseason berth and with three tournaments other than the NCAA Tournament, both clubs could find themselves with a berth in the NIT, CSI or The Beavers appeared to be on their way to a winning season, but they lost their final three games, including two disappointing efforts in Los Angeles, which may have had something to do with Washington's Lorenzo Romar edging out Craig Robinson for Pac-10 coach of the year. Still, Robinson did an admirable job as Oregon State lost all 19 conference games last season. ... Stanford got off to an 11-0 start and then hit reality in the Pac-10 and was exposed for its lack of inside presence. But the Cardinal did beat Arizona State last Thursday in Tempe and scored 87 points in a loss last Saturday at Arizona. New coach Johnny Dawkins is basically played with three guards and two forwards and Owens, his first recruit, has had a strong second half to his freshman season. The winner of this matchup plays Washington and the Huskies would probably prefer to see Oregon State, which they beat twice easily this season.

WHO TO WATCH: The best player in this game is coming off the bench in Oregon State's Calvin Haynes. The sophomore, who played in the same backcourt with the Lakers' Jordan Farmar while at Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Calif., leads the Beavers with 14.4 points per game with a silky perimeter game. He tallied 25 in the victory over Stanford on Jan. 24. Haynes scored just a total of six points on 2-for-16 shooting in losses to UCLA and USC.

HEAD TO HEAD: This is the third meeting between the two clubs and Oregon State has won both previous games, a 77-62 win at Stanford on Jan. 24 and 66-54 on Feb. 19 in Corvallis. Haynes averaged 21 points in the two games.