As it turned out, Stanford coach Mike Montgomery was worried for reason.
Jarron Collins scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds as the No. 9 Cardinal defeated UC Santa Barbara 62-49 Saturday night.
"I was fearful of this game," Montgomery said. "The atmosphere built up. Santa Barbara played very hard and was very well prepared. We didn't know much about what they were going to do. We hung in there with defense."
Freshman Mark Hull led the Gauchos (0-1) with 13 points, and David Moseley added 10.
The Cardinal (3-0) led 25-21 at halftime, but UC Santa Barbara closed within one on a layup by Derrick Allen at 15:51. Allen and starting forward Juliano Jordani fouled out.
"There was overintensity and overaggressiveness," Allen said. "We played more emotionally and were more aggressive physically than usual. I made some stupid fouls and I put that on myself. The team needs me out there."
A noisy crowd of 6,031 jammed the Thunderdome.
"I thought the crowd was unbelievable one of the best I've ever seen," Gauchos coach Bob Williams said. "If we could have just made a couple 3s, I think we could have kept the crowd in it."
Ryan Mendez hit a jumper to key five straight points and give Stanford a 32-29 lead with 15:24 remaining.
The Gauchos got within three when B.J. Ward hit four consecutive free throws. But Julius Barnes did the same for Stanford and the Cardinal led 43-36.
The Cardinal reached its first double-digit lead on two free throws by Jarron Cllins with 4:15 remaining.
"Anytime you go on the road against a good crowd and a well-prepared team who plays hard and is competitive, it's a good win," Montgomery said. "This was like a conference road atmosphere. We've got to get these guys battle-tested and I feel lucky to get out of here with a win."
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