Stanford sophomore Dorian Pickens exceeded his scoring total from last year in the first five games of 2015. These days he's displaying phenomenal growth from day to day.
Pickens scored 18 points, one of four players to reach double figures, on Sunday and the Stanford men's basketball team downed visiting NAIA Carroll College, 83-38, in the final nonconference game of the season.
The Cardinal (7-4) has won five of its past six as it heads into the Pac-12 Conference season, which begins with a home game against Utah on Friday at 6 p.m., to be televised by ESPNU.
Pickens scored 62 points through the first five games of the season, one more than he netted all of last year. Now he's stepping on the gas pedal.
The former Arizona Gatorade state Player of the Year averaged 10 points through seven games, including four with double-digit scoring, on .363 shooting (.259 from long range).
He's averaging 19.5 since, coinciding with a dramatic improvement in shooting percentages. Pickens is at .523 shooting during his current streak and from 3-point range an even more distinct .625.
"We feel confident in the whole squad," Pickens said. "We're all capable of producing."
He's right. Freshman Marcus Sheffield, who scored a career-high 10 points, became the eighth Cardinal player to put up double-figures scoring in a game.
Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins thinks Pickens is just beginning to show what he can do on a basketball court.
"We believe in Dorian and what he is capable of," Dawkins said. "And he's not where he's going to be. He's hitting his stride. We watch it in practice and now we're seeing it translate."
Rosco Allen and Marcus Allen each added 15 points for the Cardinal, which is one of two conference teams, along with UCLA, with four guys averaging at least 12.0 points a contest.
"That's what we've been doing the whole season, playing together," Pickens said. "Every man can help, and offensively we know what we can do. We have to focus on defense."
The game was never in doubt as the Cardinal opened a 17-2 lead. A layup from Marcus Allen gave the Cardinal a 36-5 advantage with 7:16 left in the first half.
"We got off to such a good start, it changed the game right away," Dawkins said. "It was a good win for us coming off the holidays."
As expected, Stanford filled up the stat sheet. Michael Humphrey grabbed 12 rebounds and the Cardinal dominated the boards, 49-27. Pickens added four of the team's 16 assists and 7-foot freshman center Josh Sharma recorded four of the eight blocked shots.
The rebounding edge helped Stanford outscore the Fighting Saints, 18-0, in second-chance points. The Cardinal also had an edge in points off turnovers, 25-8.
Carroll College did not have a player in double figures, though the Fighting Saints played without their leading scorer, Zach Taylor, who averages 19.9 points a game.