Image: Ben Margot/AP
Stanford Cardinal fans at Maples Pavilion expressed displeasure with the officials throughout yesterday afternoon’s 74-71 win (boxscore) over Cal, rightfully complaining about inconsistently called contact and some questionable whistles down the stretch.
And yet ironically, fouls ended up giving Stanford a bit of a boost: Stanford’s free throw rate of 33.78% (above average) was almost exactly double that of Cal and arguably the most significant statistical factor in determining the outcome as norcalnick of California Golden Blogs has already described. More important than just getting there, Stanford also converted at at a higher rate, including two big ones from Toni Kokenis in overtime.
It’s rare that free throws stand out as significant but in a tightly played game, it was little things like that that made the difference.