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Stanford Hoops Takes Opener

It was supposed to be a tuneup for this coming week's preseason NIT, a lopsided contest against a Division II school that could act as a transition between exhibitions and the regular season.

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It almost turned into a game for No. 3 Stanford, which struggled with sloppiness in the first half of its season opener and needed a run early in the second half to pull away from UC Davis for a 76-49 win.

Stanford, which returns all five starters from last season's Final Four team, appeared rusty and inconsistent in the first half against the much smaller Aggies, the defending Division II national champion.

"I'm really glad we had that game," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "This is what early season basketball is all about. We knew we had to have a game ahead of the NIT."

The Cardinal shot 43 percent in the game, hit 8 of 27 shots from 3-point range and were 14-for-29 at the free throw line -- an area Stanford traditionally is among the nation's best teams.

Montgomery, known as ataskmaster, said the missed free throws made him realize he's got to be even tougher on his team.

"We're not putting enough pressure on our kids in practice, obviously. We're going to change that this week," he said. "Right now the best thing to do is foul us."

Mark Madsen had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead Stanford, which held UC Davis to 30 percent shooting. Peter Sauer and Kris Weems added 10 points apiece for the Cardinal.

Madsen said the Cardinal realize they'll pay for their poor free throw shooting during practice the next few days.

"We're going to be shooting a hundred at a time instead of 20 at a time," he said.

Dante Ross had 16 points and Jason Cox had 11 for the Aggies.

Weems hit two 3-pointers as Stanford went on a 13-3 run early in the second half to break open a close game.

The Cardinal were leading 39-31 when Arthur Lee's 3-pointer was followed by layups by Tim Young and Madse. Weems then hit a 3-pointer to build the Stanford lead to 49-31.

After Ross made a free throw and Keith Jackson hit a basket for the Aggies, Weems responded with another 3-pointer.

UC Davis never got closer than 16 points the rest of the game. Stanford built its lead to 66-39 with eight minutes left as Jarron Collins completed a 10-0 run with a dunk off a pass from twin brother Jason.

The Aggies, who had their school-record 22-game winning streak snapped, now are 0-48 against Pac-10 schools -- including 0-12 against Stanford.

Even though the Aggies missed their first eight shots and didn't score until 5:47 into the game, Stanford struggled with sloppiness in the first half and led by just four points until closing with an 8-2 run to lead 38-28 at halftime.

Lee, who made his final 38 free throws last season -- including a record-setting 35-for-35 performance in the NCAA tournament -- broke the streak when he missed his first foul shot against UC Davis.

© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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