Shootin' Samoan?

The Cardinal had a new, yet familiar, face on the bench. Tavita Pritchard, Stanford's onetime starting quarterback, practiced for the first time Tuesday and traveled to McKale Center on Thursday.

Pritchard, a fifth-year senior who played varsity basketball for four years of high school, wore No. 42. Standing 6 feet 4 inches and weighing 210 pounds, Pritchard was listed as a guard.

The move was more than a P.R. stunt. The Cardinal is without Andrew Zimmerman and Gabriel Harris, who suffered stress fractures. Emmanuel Igbinosa stayed in Palo Alto because of academic issues. Junior forward Josh Owens has not played all year, and might not return to basketball, because of a medical problem. Freshman forward Andy Brown tore his knee in the fall.

The nephew of Jack Thompson, Washington State's "Throwin' Samoan," Pritchard threw for 2,865 yards and 15 scores in his career.

The last time Stanford's basketball team boasted two-sport athletes came in 2004-05, when football players Mark Bradford and Evan Moore played sparingly.

Loud crowd

As game experiences go, it's great to have Zona Zoo back.

The Stanford game marked the first Pac-10 game the UA had played since the end of winter break. After playing in front of spotty crowds at home for more than a month, UA players saw a filled student section, complete with signs and students dressed in red.

UA coach Sean Miller called the throng "the best crowd I've coached in front of at McKale."

Point guard Nic Wise said the Wildcats "feed off their energy" when playing at home.

"The crowd just gives us that extra strength and energy to keep fighting, even when we're tired and down," he said.

All by himself

The Cardinal has one of the country's best play-by-play voices in Dave Fleming, who calls the game on radio.

Fleming, however, couldn't make the trip to Tucson. Instead, color analyst John Platz served as the team's only radio voice.

That's not a bad thing for Stanford, though - over the past five years, Stanford has gone 9-2 when Platz is forced to do a solo broadcast.

The big number

10Offensive rebounds by the Wildcats in the first half alone; entering Thursday's game, the UA averaged 9.5 per game.

Technical problems

For the second straight game, an opposing coach was assessed a technical foul.

Coach Johnny Dawkins, who appeared to be irked by a lack of calls in Stanford's favor for most of the game, was given a technical with the Cardinal trailing 44-40 with 13:07 remaining.

"He was fouled twice!" Dawkins screamed, after the technical.

He was restrained by former UA assistant Rodney Tention.

Dawkins' technical didn't seem to inspire the troops, at least at first.

Nic Wise shot, and made, two free throws. Kyle Fogg ended the UA possession with a three-pointer from the top of the key, increasing the lead to 49-40. Stanford turned the ball over, leading to a Derrick Williams dunk to put the UA up by 11.

In all, it marked a seven-point swing in less than 15 seconds.


Dressed in a brown golf shirt, New York high schooler Kadeem Jack sat behind the basket near the UA bench Thursday night.

The Trinidad-born, 6-8 forward took his first official visit to the UA, a finalist for his enrollment alongside Arkansas, Florida, Cal, UCLA, Providence, St. John's, Pitt, Syracuse and Connecticut.

Numbers game

10:44 Time that elapsed in the first half before Landry Fields committed a personal foul. It's notable - on average, he hasn't picked up his first foul until the 18-minute mark in the second half. Fields committed 38 fouls in 19 games before Thursday, playing at least 35 minutes 12 times.

Patrick Finley