As the Cardinal warmed up for Friday night's game, the big screen at Maples Pavilion showed the Rose Bowl being played a few hundred miles south in Pasadena. Seeing The McCaffrey-Hogan Machine stomp on Iowa might have been just the spark the upstart hoops team needed.
Stanford, who trailed by as many as twelve points in the second half, clawed its way back and stunned Pac-12 heavyweight and 21st-ranked Utah at Maples Pavilion, outlasting the Utes in overtime, 70-68.
Utah's Jordan Loveridge, an 87% free-throw shooter, clanked two freebies with 18 seconds left in regulation which lead to a Roscoe Allen game-tying bank on the other end. Utah's Brandon Taylor, an 80% free-throw shooter, proceeded to clank two free throws himself, which sent the game to overtime. Allen finished with 17 points including 5 in overtime.
Utah was without sophomore star, Jakob Poeltl, in the extra session after the 7-footer fouled out at the end of the second half. Poeltl finished with 16 points but just 3 rebounds, a testament to Stanford crashing the boards and playing gritty, Johnny Dawkins defense for 45 minutes. They outrebounded the big boys from Utah 43-42 and committed only 8 turnovers to the 19 they forced. You really can't ask for much more.
Stanford found offense even though Dorian Pickens' shot wasn't falling. Marcus Allen had 14 points (despite a few happy feet traveling violations). Michael Humphrey had 13 (and some authoritative drives to the hoop). And Marcus Sheffield, the freshman guard out of Alpharetta, Georgia, played with the poise of a fifth year senior. He had 17 points off the bench. He hit contested jumpers. He hit floaters in traffic. He's only a freshman. And this was against a Utah team that just beat Duke. There's a lot to digest from this oneâall good things.
The Cardinal returns to action on Sunday night when it hosts Colorado in the team's seventh and final game of the season's longest home stand.