Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
For all Stanford basketball has done wrong this season, it has done one thing right: beat Cal.
The Cardinal took it to the Bears from the opening minutes last night, blowing things open in the second half with some smooth moves from Dwight Powell, gift-wrapped Cal turnovers, and a steady rain of threes.
That is, until the Powell-and-Crabbe shove-turned flop-turned fight.
If you haven't seen it, Deadspin has a solid video recap. While the fight did lead to Mark Madsen's ejection and gave Cal students a few minutes to chant stupid things, in the end, it did little but delay an inevitable result - a result that was punctuated by Aaron Bright nailing a three, shhh-ing the Cal student section, then adding a choice expletive as the cherry on top.
(Really, it seemed like the fight was brewing the entire second half. Cal players were becoming increasingly bitter while Stanford players were all to happy to puff their chests out - two hallmarks of any lopsided rivalry game.)
It was a real delight to see Stanford's basketball team move with some energy and force last night - I think you could certainly call this performance the best of the year. While Cal's butterfingers and emotions did them no favors, the Cardinal simply dominated the game, making 49% of their shots and 52% of their threes.
With the regular season now in the books and the Card with another unspectacular 18-13 record, it seems that this team is once again headed for the NIT barring a ridiculous run in the Pac-12 tournament, which starts next week.
Depending on whether or not you want Johnny Dawkins to stay, the Stanford fan is now left with one of two choices - hope that the Card can continue to play like it did in Berkeley, or hope that same magic touch fizzles out in Las Vegas next week.
Either way, all Stanford fans can agree on one thing: it always - always - feels good to beat Cal.