Belmont (2-0) at Stanford (3-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 18, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Maples Pavilion (7,392) -- Stanford, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Belmont 1-0, Stanford 2-0. Away Record: Belmont 1-0, Stanford 0-0. Neutral Record: Belmont 0-0, Stanford 1-0. Conference Record: Belmont 0-0, Stanford 0-0. Series Record: Stanford leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of undefeated squads go toe-to-toe on Sunday night at Maples Pavilion, as the Stanford Cardinal hosts the Belmont Bruins.
Belmont has gotten off to a great start with convincing wins over Lipscomb (89-60) and Maryville (88-49), and it has yet to trail at any point this season. The Bruins qualified for their fifth NCAA Tournament last season, and this will be their first campaign as a member of the Ohio Valley Conference.
Stanford has also been rolling in the early going with three double-digit victories over San Francisco (74-62), Cal State Fullerton (81-68), and Alcorn State (69-51). The Cardinal wraps up a three-game homestand with tonight's matchup before they depart for the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in The Bahamas starting on Thursday.
The Cardinal won the only previous meeting between these two programs, 97-63, in December of 2001.
Belmont has been able to put up points at will through two games, as it is shooting a lofty 53.2 percent from both the field and beyond the three-point line, while outscoring opponents by an average of 34 ppg. The Bruins were especially potent from beyond the arc in their latest bout against Maryville, connecting on an astounding 70 percent of their triples (14-of-20). Ian Clark led the three-point barrage by going 4-of-4 from downtown for a team-high 18 points. The game was well in hand early in the second half, so Kerron Johnson logged just 24 minutes, but he made the most of his time on the court by tallying 16 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Johnson is the team's leading scorer on the season (19.0 ppg), and he's dished out 13 assists, but he's also been plagued by nine turnovers. Trevor Noack tallied 14 points, and six bench players combined for 26 points, led by Craig Bradshaw with 11. Belmont has been aggressive at the defensive end, forcing 48 turnovers.
Despite getting off to a 3-0 start, Stanford has not been great shooting the ball (.421), and its matchup with Alcorn State was its worst performance yet as it drained just 22-of-64 field goal attempts (.344). The Cardinal was able to cruise to a convincing win thanks to taking plenty of trips to the foul line (21-of-30) and forcing its opponent into at least 20 turnovers for the third straight game. Josh Huestis paced the squad with a career-day, logging 18 points on 8-of-10 from the field while also grabbing nine rebounds and blocking a pair of shots. The only other Cardinal player to record double digits in points was Chasson Randle with 10, but he did so on just 3-of-11 shooting. Randle averaged 13.8 ppg as a freshman last season and his role is only expected to expand here in 2012-13. Dwight Powell scored just six points but ripped down 10 boards in the last outing, and he remains the team's top performer on the young season (15.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg).
Belmont is not your typical small program, as it has become accustomed to the spotlight over the past several seasons and it will clearly not be intimidated heading into hostile territory at Maples Pavilion. That said, Stanford appears to have an impressive squad, especially on the inside with Powell and Huestis.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stanford 78, Belmont 72
11/18 10:45:29 ET