Stanford’s loss to USC Thursday night ended on a missed dunk. Blowing a 9-point halftime lead against a team that went 5-24 in the past calendar year already hurts enough. Losing 71-69 when Dwight Powell had a chance to force overtime on a putback — well, that provides plenty of motivation not to screw up the next game.
UCLA is on a six-game winning streak and brimming with confidence, so it should be able to dispatch an unimpressive Cardinal squad at noon Saturday (Pac-12 Networks, AM-570). The Bruins’ youth might hurt them on the quick turnaround, but they have enough firepower to overcome a slow start, especially at home.
At a glance: Stanford isn’t a good shooting team on paper, ranking dead last in the conference with a 40.7 percentage from the field. It doesn’t help that their stats are dragged down significantly by sophomore guard Chasson Randle’s underwhelming season. Last year, the all-conference freshman took 5.2 threes per game and made 43.8 percent of them. That number is down to 21.9, but Randle still ranks eighth in the Pac-12 with 64 3-point attempts, just ahead of conference-leading scorer Allen Crabbe.
Their big men, however, do have the ability to stretch the floor. Continue reading