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Anthony Brown's Big Night Lifts Stanford Over Oregon State

As a Stanford fan, there was a lot not to like about the Cardinal's 70-56 win last night against lowly Oregon State. The 6th Man Section was no more than two-thirds full at its peak, the Beavers' 1-3-1 zone and half-court traps produced 18 Stanford turnovers, Jeremy Green continued to struggle with his shot, and the Cardinal's free throw shooting, well, you know.

Still, Stanford (11-9, 4-5 Pac-10) earned a much-needed win to snap a four-game losing skid and got a breakout performance from a freshman making his first career start. Anthony Brown's 21 points and 8 rebounds rescued a team in a prolonged offensive slump from a disheartening sweep at home at the hands of two of the worst teams in the conference. Brown impressed head coach Johnny Dawkins in the process.

"I know he can score," Dawkins said. "The thing I wanted to see was how he rebounded. He stuffed the stat sheet tonight. He started to see what he's capable of doing. We needed everything he did tonight."

Brown, who played 37 minutes against the Beavers, hadn't grabbed more than 3 rebounds in a game since Dec. 15 against North Carolina A&T and he had only two rebounds in his then-career-high 27 minutes against UCLA last weekend. Last night, he was all over the court. Brown's stat-stuffing game also featured a career-high 3 steals and 3 assists, one of them an alley-oop to Josh Owens.
Could Brown be emerging as the Cardinal's top scoring threat, or was Saturday an anomaly? As Jake Curtis notes, Brown is the only Stanford player who has scored in double figures in each of the last three games. If not Brown, then who?

Green, Stanford's best offensive player during the non-conference season, shot 2-for-9 against Oregon State and hasn't scored more than 15 points in nearly a month. Green's 3-point shooting has fallen off considerably and the Daily Axe suggests his confidence has been shaken. As teammates like Brown and Dwight Powell continue to demonstrate that they're capable of shouldering more of the scoring load, perhaps Green will become comfortable in a more limited role. He doesn't need to take 15 shots and score 20 points for Stanford to win.

Owens bounced back from a disappointing game against Oregon with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting and 8 rebounds. Stanford's most efficient player must become more consistent in the second-half of the Pac-10 season (he's scored 5, 14, 4, and 14 points in his last four games) and it's up to Dawkins to make sure that the junior forward gets more looks.

Look for a midseason report card early this week.