Sports

Record-setting performance leads Stanford to next level

 

Chasson Randle scored a career-high 35 points to help the second-seeded Stanford men's basketball team down visiting Rhode Island, 74-65, in the second round of the NIT tournament Sunday.

The Cardinal (21-13) hosts fifth-seeded Vanderbilt (21-13) in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 6 p.m., to be aired by ESPN. The winner goes to Madison Square Garden for the Final Four.

The Commodores, 1-5 against the NCAA field, will be making their second trip to the Bay Area in less than a week after traveling no further west than College Station (Texas) previously this season. They have won seven of their past eight.

Randle now has 1,310 career points, nine behind Adam Keefe for second all-time and 27 away from becoming the school's all-time leader. Randle has reached double figures in all but one game. He's averaging 19.3 points a game.

"I just want to keep winning," Randle said. "It would be a great achievement to be the all-time leading scorer, but I just want to go out on a right note with this team."

The senior guard already owns Stanford career records for field goals attempted, minutes played and 3-pointers made. He's four shy of 300 3-pointers.

"My teammates just told me to stay aggressive from the beginning, and I just tried to follow their advice," Randle said. "They told me they were going to lean on me and I was just trying to will them to a win."

Randle's 35 points was the most scored by a Stanford player in a postseason game. Todd Lichti scored 34 in an NIT game in 1988. The 15 free throws also set a record, as did the 19 attempts. The team free throws made and attempted also set records.

"He came out very aggressive and got us off to a great start," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said of Randle. "I knew they were really digging defensively as they did, but I thought we had an answer every time. Somebody would respond with a play, whether a drive and finish to the basket with Anthony or Stef getting to the post and getting fouled, or Chasson making plays. I thought every time that they made a really good run, someone stepped up and had an answer."

Anthony Brown added 16 points, including a 10 of 10 effort from the foul line. Stefan Nastic added 11 rebounds and seven points.

Brown needs to play another 25 minutes to move past Todd Lichti into second place all-time in minutes played.

Stanford, winners of three out of its last four, never trailed in the game, which featured a combined 56 fouls and 70 free throw attempts.

The Cardinal has won all four meetings with the Rams, with this game being the largest margin of victory in the series. A combined five points decided the previous three games between the teams.

Stanford is now 40-22 in postseason play, including a 15-5 mark in the NIT.

The Cardinal scored the game's first seven points and then missed its next 11 shots, still maintaining its lead despite its inaccuracy from the field.

There was a stretch of 11 minutes, 36 seconds in which Stanford was 1 of 14 from the field and managed to increase its lead from 7-0 to 18-10.

The Rams were within one point three minutes into the second half and only a missed layup prevented them from taking a lead.

Rhode Island was still within four, at 49-45, with 9:41 remaining to play in the contest before the Cardinal began to slowly increase its advantage.

"We knew coming in that they were a very tough team," Randle said. "They're scrappy, do whatever it takes to win the game. We just wanted to respond. I think our guys did a good job of that."

Stanford took its biggest lead of the second half at 71-58 when Reid Travis went 1 of 2 from the foul line with less than a minute to play.

Stanford led by as many as 13 points in the first half before settling for a 31-27 halftime lead.

The only other quarterfinal match established is No. 1 seed Richmond and No. 2 Miami. No. 1 Temple beat George Washington to reach the quarterfinal and will meet either Texas A&M or Louisiana Tech, which plays Monday.

Old Dominion meets Illinois State and Tulsa plays Murray State on Monday to decide the other quarterfinal.

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