The Stanford Cardinal (8-4) will end 2012 with a game at home in Maples Pavilion against the Lafayette Leopards (4-9). This also marks their last game before the start of conference play on January 3rd against the USC Trojans. The Cardinal are coming home from their first road trip of the season where they went 1-1 with a loss at NC State and a win at Northwestern.
The Leopards are lead by leading scorers Dan Trist and Seth Hinrichs. Dan Trist, a sophomore forward out of Sydney, Australia, who leads the team in points (14.7 ppg), shooting percentage (56.8%) and rebounds per game (4.5 rpg). Seth Hinrichs is second in points at 14.1 per game and also second on the team in rebounds averaging 4.1 per game. After that there is a bit of a drop off in terms of production from the team. There is the threat of senior guard Tony Johnson, but in his last four games he has failed to put up double digits points.
For Stanford, forward Josh Huestis is starting to heat up averaging 14 points and 9.6 rebounds over the last three games including his 18 point 12 rebound performance against Northwestern. It would be nice if Huestis could keep up his pace and have his confidence high going into conference play. Look for his him to have another big game against a weak Lafayette team.
Another Stanford player to keep an eye on is Aaron Bright. I thought he would have to play big in order for the Cardinal to be successful against Northwestern. Well, I was wrong— it happens sometimes. Bright couldn’t get his shot to fall but still took six three-point attempts. Over his last three games he has attempted 20 threes, hitting eight of them. He’s been far too inconsistent both from behind the arc and in the scoring department in general this year for Stanford, and is still looking to become a secondary scorer for the team—look for him to bounce back.
By no means should Stanford take this game lightly or fall into the trap of looking ahead to the next opponent, but this is definitely a game they should. And by all means they should take it seriously because once conference play starts up, there won’t be anymore of these easier games.
This also could be a great stepping off point for the Cardinal and a confidence booster before they face off against their first Pac-12 foe of the season. All in all, it’s a very winable game for Stanford, and look for solid performances all around against the weaker Leopards.