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Brook Lopez leads Cardinal with 20 points in season debut

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Brook Lopez patiently waited for his
chance to come back, doing the extra work in the classroom to
regain his athletic eligibility at Stanford.

Lopez returned from being academically ineligible and had 20
points and six rebounds in his season debut, and the Cardinal
avenged a home loss last season to Santa Clara with a 74-48 victory
Wednesday night for their fifth straight win.

"I was excited to get back out there and help the team any way
I could," he said. "It was definitely difficult but knowing it
was on me and the situation was on me, it was in my control to get
my grades back up."

Lawrence Hill added 16 points and eight rebounds and
Taj Finger
10 points and 11 boards as the Cardinal (9-1) played their first
game in two weeks following a break for final exams. They had
dropped two in a row to their Peninsula rival of the West Coast
Conference since a 78-63 victory on Dec. 30, 2000, losing last year
and in 2004.

Lopez had been limited to practicing so far this season until he
raised his grades. He hit his first basket with a 15-foot jumper at
14:20, on the floor at the same time as his 7-foot twin, Robin.
Santa Clara was quickly reminded of the matchup problem the twins
present to opposing teams. Their older brother, Alex, played for
Santa Clara from 1997-99.

"Obviously it makes a huge difference on both ends of the
floor," Finger said of having Brook Lopez back in the lineup.

Brook Lopez looked a little out of sorts at times early but made
a putback at 12:09 after finding his rhythm. He made back-to-back
baskets in the post in the final two minutes of the first half
while playing strong defense on the other end, too.

"From start to finish as a group we played well defensively,"
Stanford coach Trent Johnson said. "This is a group that's very
diligent. We played extremely hard. We kept our composure when it
got physical and ugly out there."

John Bryant scored 17 points to go with nine boards and Brody Angley had 10 points but Santa Clara couldn't overcome a poor first
half in which the Broncos shot a season-low 23 percent (5-for-22)
for a half and were held to their worst points total of 17. Their
total of 48 was a season low after twice being held to 48 last
season.

Santa Clara (7-4) struggled from the floor the entire first half
and was held scoreless for 5 minutes, 46 seconds after a pair of
free throws by Bryant at 11:57 until his basket at 6:11. The
Broncos went nearly nine minutes without a made field goal.

After Robin Lopez's big blocked shot against Cedric Latimer,
Anthony Goods had an uncontested two-handed dunk on the other end
for a 22-7 lead.

Goods then hit two 3-pointers early as Stanford quickly extended
its 29-17 halftime lead with a 23-4 run after the break that put
the Cardinal up 52-21 with 12:13 to play. It certainly didn't look
like Stanford's first game following an extended break, save for an
exhibition contest last weekend.

"The first five minutes is always huge and is going to take
away any hope they have of coming back," Finger said.

Next up for Stanford will be a tough trip to Texas Tech to face
Bob Knight's Red Raiders on national television Saturday.

Goods finished with 11 points and four assists. The Cardinal,
who play only four times in December, shot 44 percent and held a
40-23 rebounding advantage.

While they weren't always sharp, Stanford crashed the boards
early -- getting three from Finger in the first four minutes -- to
create second and third opportunities.

Stanford finished with a 19-6 edge on the offensive glass.

"The most notable thing would be the rebounding margin,"
first-year Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating said. "We were very
clear with our team if we were going to have a chance to be in the
game or win the game we would have to outrebound them. We haven't
been outrebounded all year. That has been a point of emphasis since
April. ... Attitude and effort is what I think it is."

The Cardinal had eight offensive rebounds in the first nine
minutes to none for Santa Clara, already having attempted 17 shots
before the midway point of the half to only 10 for the Broncos.

Both teams were cold on offense early, with Stanford starting
6-for-19 to 2-of-11 for Santa Clara.

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