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    Wildcats' Second-Half Rally Falls Just Short at Stanford, 65-59

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Jeff Ryan shoots over Stanford guard Mitch Johnson in the first half.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Jeff Ryan shoots over Stanford guard Mitch Johnson in the first half.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Dec. 20, 2008

    Box Score

    STANFORD, Calif. (AP)--Anthony Goods scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half, Mitch Johnson matched his career high with 16 points and hit a key 3-pointer in the final minute and the undefeated Cardinal held off a late Northwestern rally for a 65-59 victory Saturday night.
    

    Stanford (7-0) made eight of its first 11 3-point tries and shot 9-for-18 from long range overall, including four each by Goods and Johnson in the Cardinal's toughest test yet on the nonconference schedule.

    Kevin Coble had 15 points and six rebounds for Northwestern (7-2), which had won four straight and was looking for its best nine-game start in 15 years since the program went 9-0 out of the gates in 1993-94.

    Stanford improved to 5-0 on its home floor in Maples Pavilion under first-year coach Johnny Dawkins and is off to its best start since winning 26 straight games to begin the 2003-04 campaign.

    The Wildcats started the second half with an 8-2 spurt before Goods hit a long jumper from the left side. Coble hit back-to-back 3s to get his team back to 55-50 with 4:44 to play and Craig Moore's 3 at 2:49 got the Wildcats within 59-57.

    Luka Mirkovic hit the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity with 1:42 to play but missed the second that would have tied the game and Johnson converted one free throw on the other end.

    Stanford got the ball back and Johnson hit a 3 with 41 seconds left. He also had two of Stanford's season-high 11 steals.

    The Cardinal, who had at least four players in double figures for the fifth time this season, play at Santa Clara on Tuesday and then host Texas Tech and Hartford before opening Pac-10 play at home Jan. 2 against Arizona State.

    Goods and Johnson each hit two 3s during a 16-2 run late in the first half that helped the Cardinal to a 39-26 lead at the break. Northwestern went 3 minutes, 15 seconds without scoring during one span.

    Johnson connected for his first 3-pointer of the season at the 17:04 mark of the first half after missing his first six attempts over the Cardinal's initial six games.

    Goods' 18 first-half points were the most in a half by a Stanford player this season and most since departed center Brook Lopez scored 20 in the second half of an 82-81 overtime victory over Marquette in the second round of last season's NCAA tournament.

    Northwestern's Jeff Ryan, whose father Jeff played for Stanford from 1977-81, had eight points for Northwestern.

    The Wildcats committed 10 of their 19 turnovers--with Stanford getting six steals--in the opening 13 minutes but also made eight of their first 13 shots to stay close and crashed the boards hard to minimize the Cardinal's second-chance opportunities. Stanford has forced 15 or more turnovers every game.

    Northwestern began the week ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 49.4 points--while Stanford was leading the Pac-10 at 78.3 points per game

    Stanford has won four of the last five meetings between the programs, including four in a row. The teams have played in three straight seasons.

    Northwestern had its 12-game winning streak in the month of December snapped, a streak dating to the 2005-06 season.