Sports

Brown leads Stanford men into NIT semifinal contest in NYC

 

Anthony Brown scored 26 points, Chasson Randle added 16 to become Stanford's second all-time leading scorer and the Cardinal men's basketball team advanced to the semifinal of the Postseason NIT tournament with its 78-75 victory over visiting Vanderbilt on Tuesday night.

"It feels great. Obviously we were disappointed we didn't get to the NCAA Tournament," Brown said. "Like coach says, we have to keep playing. Whatever we're in, we've got to win it. That's our mindset. Seniors want to go out with a win in their last game."

Second-seeded Stanford (22-13) plays next Wednesday in Madison Square Garden against the winner of tonight's Murray State at Old Dominion contest.

No. 2 seed Miami upset No. 1 Richmond, 63-61, to also secure a spot in the semifinal. The Hurricanes will meet either Temple or Louisiana Tech next Tuesday in New York.

The Cardinal, which has won four of its past five games after finishing the regular season losing five of seven, reaches its first NIT semifinal since winning the title in 2012.

Randle now has 2,326 points, second in Stanford history to Todd Lichti's 2,336, and fourth in Pac-12 history. He also has 298 3-point goals.

"I'm just happy we got this win," said Randle. "Last time on this court, we thought it was our last game on our home court and we didn't come out with a win. I thought it was a great team effort and a lot of guys stepped up tonight. It took a lot of heart. Things weren't always going our way. Their guys stepped up and made a lot of big shots and kept fighting. I think the younger guys look at us to make plays and we have to do that in order for our team to win. I lean on those guys all the time to pull me up. Hopefully, we can keep it going."

"There are only a few teams who can say they won their last game of the season and we want to be one of those teams. We were a little bit disappointed we didn't make it into the NCAAs, but we had an opportunity and we wanted to make the best of it and I think we're doing that right now. Madison Square Garden is a special place. Any time you can in there and say you played a basketball game, it's definitely an honor."

Brown played all 40 minutes and has played 4,123 minutes in his Cardinal career, second only to Randle's 4,709 minutes.

Stanford opened an 11-point edge when Marcus Allen hit one of two free throws with 12:40 remaining to play in the game but the Commodores roared back to within 57-55 five minutes later.

Randle hit a pair of foul shots with 2:24 left to give Stanford another 11-point advantage. Vanderbilt answered by drawing within 77-75 with 30 seconds remaining.

Marcus Allen missed three of four foul shots over the final 22 seconds -- including two straight in the final seconds -- but the Commodores, who trailed the entire second half, couldn't get a desperation 3-pointer to fall at the buzzer.

"We never could get the stops that we needed to get on top of the game," said Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings. "You have to give credit to Stanford for that. They just played better than we did, and their defense was better than our defense was. We were competing hard but we got beat by a better team."

The game was tied at 26 with just under four minutes left in the first half before Brown and Reid Travis combined to score Stanford's last 10 points of the half. The Cardinal took a 36-31 advantage into the intermission.

There were five lead changes and the game was tied at four other times during the first 20 minutes, with the largest lead being seven by Stanford.

"Anthony had 17 in the first half," said Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins. "That really helped us and energized our guys. We knew that was coming. He had a stretch of games where he didn't score as well as he is capable. It was a matter of time. When he plays like that, he's one of the best players in America."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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