Berkeley, CA – With Cal’s (8-19) lackluster season left to moral victories, there was still one to be had Sunday night vs. Stanford (14-13), the opportunity to sweep the Cardinal this season. Stanford is having a bounce back season in the Pac-12 after finishing 6-12 last year and is in contention for one of the four first round byes in the Pac-12 tournament next month.
The Cardinal had their hands full with the Golden Bears, who found life in their full court press. Neither team led by more than eight points in a game that featured 12 lead changes. Stanford was able to hold Cal off 77-73 despite Daejon Davis fouling out with two minutes left. Davis led Stanford with 22 points, seven rebounds, five assists but also had seven turnovers.
Cal had a chance to tie it down three with 15 seconds left, but opted for a two, got fouled and only made one free throw. Stanford’s Dorian Pickens then knocked down two free throws to seal the game. Pickens finished with 17 points on an efficient 6-of-10 shooting.
Cal’s full-court press kept them in the game and was an advantage when they were able to make baskets. Stanford turned the ball over 16 times, including 10 in the first half. Stanford settled into a zone in the second half to force Cal to beat them from beyond the arc and it worked. With Cal running a 3-man weave along the perimeter, Stanford comfortably switched everything, stagnating Cal’s offense and preventing them from penetrating into the lane. Cal finished 3-of-18 on 3-pointers.
Stanford’s Reid Travis finished with 13 points and a game high 10 rebounds. Cal’s Don Coleman led the Bears with 17 points and four assists. Marcus Lee added 15 points and nine rebounds, while Justice Sueing also added 15 points. Cal’s Juhwan Harris-Dyson was effective in 29 minutes (especially the first half), scoring 13 points and providing good energy.
Stanford gets Washington at home in the fight for fourth place while Cal hosts Washington State in the battle for last place.
Daejon Davis – Davis made his presence felt all over the floor tonight, drawing charges, putting back rebounds, running the offense and creating shots for his teammates. Davis is the main shot creator for the Cardinal and Coach Haase relies on him to do a lot as a freshman. He is a dynamic point guard with good change of pace acceleration and a strong ability to use his off left hand. He has a good feel for the court and is aware of proper spacing. His handle is pretty good with room for growth and he has a tendency to get up in the air before deciding on a pass. He walked into a 3 pointer off the dribble in the first half and then didn’t hit rim on a second half 3-pt attempt. He is shooting a solid 36 percent from 3 on the season which is good for a freshman. He was impressive on the defensive end, closing out strongly, moving his feet well, and anticipating screens. At 6-3 and with good athleticism he is the type of point guard who can get put back dunks. His game and his body still need another year or two of work before he’s ready to make the next step.
KZ Okpala – Okpala, the 6’8 freshman, is another intriguing prospect for Stanford. Okpala has the physical tools desired to play the wing professionally, but he showed he’s a ways away from that Sunday night. He was very inconsistent, looking lackadaisical and nonchalant in the first half, but came out and had a more active second half. After not anticipating screens or hustling in the first half, he got on the floor several times and drew a charge in the second half. When engaged as a defender, he can be a stopper who can guard multiple positions. After Davis fouled out with two minutes to go, Okpala took lead guard responsibilities and Stanford relied on him to create shots. He has a fluid ability to handle but his offensive game is still raw. He can’t really separate off the dribble or create his own shot aside from two dribbles and a spin move. He hit 7-of-8 free throws which was encouraging. The one three he took he was fading and off balance (shooting 26 percent on the year). He seemed to be only energized after things went his way, which will be something to look out for. He did show impressive athleticism on a whistle blown play. To sum, he is still raw and inconsistent but with time and development is someone to keep an eye on.
This article was written by Will Winston, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout certification program. For information contact us and forward your resume.