Dwight Powell played the final minutes aggressively, even with the burden of four fouls. Anthony Brown turned point guard at crucial moments and sank enough free throws to give Stanford the edge.
Cardinal men's basketball coach Johnny Dawkins can point to any number of things to explain why 10th-seeded Stanford beat No. 2 Kansas, 60-57, in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday in the South Regional in St. Louis, Mo.
"It's a belief in the players," Dawkins said. "They have worked hard all year in preparation for this. You have to give them a lot of credit, especially the seniors, for the opportunity to have this moment. We're excited to be moving forward."
Josh Huestis' offensive rebound and putback gave Stanford the lead for good. Powell scored 15 points, Chasson Randle added 13 and Brown and Stefan Nastic each had 10.
"I believe our team is talented enough that if we come out and just play to our potential that everything's going to work out for us," Huestis said. "The amount of different experiences we've had as a team, and we've been in so many different situations that it's prepared us for just about every one we can face."
The Cardinal (23-12) advances to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2008 and will play 11th-seeded Dayton (25-10) on Thursday in Memphis at 4:15 p.m. (CBS). That winner will face either No. 1 overall seed Florida or UCLA.
Stanford, despite missing all nine 3-point attempts, beat the Jayhawks for the third time in 11 meetings, and the second straight. The Cardinal topped then top-ranked Kansas in 2003. The Cardinal improved to 9-9 against the NCAA field.
"It is just us putting our best effort forward and playing our style of basketball and the type of basketball that we practice every day," Nastic said. "We're taking it one day at a time and I am just really grateful and fortunate to even have this opportunity with my teammates and coaches."
Stanford, despite 16 turnovers, survived Kansas' pressure by putting the ball in Brown's hands. The redshirt junior helped beat the Jayhawks' press and got to the foul line.
"They were really physical in their press and body and grabbing and stuff," Randle said. "So just getting open and trying to hit open people."
Stanford turned it over several times, allowing Kansas to make it very interesting.
"Just inbounding the ball against that press showed a lot of character," Dawkins said. "We faced some adversity and battled through it."
Powell, responsible for getting the ball in play, said it was a matter of being under control.
"It is important to stay calm and poised, because obviously that's what a press is trying to do, trying to speed you up and play at their pace," he said. "You can potentially make mistakes and they get the ball. That is something when we take the ball, just calm yourself."
Kansas entered the game with a 79.6 scoring average. Stanford held the Jayhawks to their season-low in points.
Just how long will Stanford celebrate its first Sweet 16 appearance in six years?
"They can celebrate today," Dawkins said. "And then it's back to work."