PALO ALTO, Calif. – Before their 26-point beatdown of Washington on Wednesday, California forwards Richard Solomon and David Kravish predicted they’d dominate the Huskies.
They took one look at UW’s diminutive front line and talked about each finishing with a double-double performance.
“They had a four-man in (Mike) Anderson that was about 6-4, (and) their other two bigs, they were stronger, but they were a little bit bulky and they can’t really get off the ground that much,” Solomon said after a 13-point, 12-rebound performance. “We knew it was going to be, I don’t want to say an advantage, but we knew we were going to be able to use our length to our advantage.”
Once again Washington (11-7, 3-2 Pac-12) enters Saturday’s 8 p.m. contest against Stanford (11-5, 2-2) at Maples Pavilion as a significant underdog against an opponent with a front line as tall as the Northern California redwoods.
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Stanford starts 6-foot-11 center Stefan Nastic, 6-10 power forward Dwight Powell, 6-7 small forward Josh Huestis, 6-6 wing Anthony Brown and 6-2 guard Chasson Randle.
There’s a few NBA teams that would look up to Stanford.
Washington counters with 6-9 forward Perris Blackwell and a four-guard lineup that includes C.J. Wilcox (6-5), Anderson (6-4), Nigel Williams-Goss (6-3) and Andrew Andrews (6-2).
Clearly, the tale of the tape favors Stanford.
The Huskies rely heavily on Wilcox (20.3 points per game), Andrews (12.8) and Williams-Goss (12.1), who lead the team in scoring, but Anderson, a defensive stalwart, has been the linchpin in most wins because he’s the one who plays out of position.
This season, he’s faced Arizona State’s 6-9 Jonathan Gilling, Arizona’s 6-9 Brandon Ashley, Utah’s 6-10 Jeremy Olsen and Colorado’s 6-9 Wesley Gordon.
Anderson, a junior-college transfer from Moberly Area Community College in Missouri, fared well in those matchups while using his quickness, 6-10¾ wingspan and point-guard skills to overcome his lack of size.
He averages 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds, which is second on the team. Despite giving up about five inches and 25 pounds to most opponents, he doesn’t mind being physical in the post.
“I played against jail-ball players before so it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “Jail-ball players. Dudes that have been in jail. Concrete. All of that. So it doesn’t really matter. Playground. So it doesn’t really matter to me.”
Still, Anderson had trouble with Kravish, who tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds in Cal’s 82-56 win.
“That game is in the past,” Anderson said. “We’re moving on from that.”
At Friday’s practice, coach Lorenzo Romar said he didn’t notice any hangover from the previous game, in which Washington was held to a season-low 17 points in the first half and crushed 44-33 on the glass.
He said it’s important the Huskies understand what they did to start 3-1 in the Pac-12 and why they played so poorly Wednesday.
It would also help if Blackwell, a fifth-year senior co-captain, breaks out of his three-game slump in which he’s averaging three points, four rebounds and shooting 2 for 20 from the field.
“It’s just a matter of him regaining his focus and concentration,” Romar said. “Getting a certain level of confidence back. He’ll be all right. He’s done it. It’s different if someone has never done it and you’ve never seen it. We’ve seen it on a number of occasions … so we know he’s capable.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @percyallen