Sports

Randle leads Stanford men into NIT championship game

 

NEW YORK -- For Chasson Randle, the Garden was Eden. And the bite he took out of the Big Apple has given him eternal life -- in the annals of Stanford basketball.

Randle struck for 24 points to supplant Todd Lichti as the school's all-time leading scorer as the Cardinal eked out a 67-60 victory over Old Dominion on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Postseason National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Stanford (23-13) will try on Thursday night (6 p.m., ESPN) to win its third NIT title in the past 25 years and its second since 2012. The Cardinal will face Miami (25-12), which scrapped its way to a 60-57 win over Temple earlier in the evening, in a matchup of power-conference members.

Randle, meanwhile, now has 2,350 points with one game left to play in his college career after needing 11 to pass Lichti.

"To win an NIT championship . . . for the seniors it would mean we went out on top," said Randle. "And that is something special."

As was Stanford's postgame celebration.

"The best thing I could see is when we went to the locker room, and we were celebrating the win," said Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins. "Just all of (Chasson's) teammates jumping up and hugging him. It was great to see that type of emotion, that kind of shared experience. For him to do it on this stage is a heck of an honor."

Move over, Lichti. Step aside, Adam Keefe. There's a new scoring baron of the Bay Area.

"They say this is The World's Most Famous Arena, and I believe it," said Randle. "When you walk in here and see what's hanging in the rafters, you're kind of in awe. It's great for me to be able to break the record with this group of guys. We have no quit in us. When things weren't working well for us today, we persevered and kept fighting."

The Cardinal survived despite squandering a 21-point lead and matching its season average for turnovers with an uncharacteristic 10 in the first half.

"At halftime, I told the guys that we didn't rebound well enough," said Dawkins. "And our communication defensively collapsed, so we had to clean those things up."

Stanford raced out to a 15-0 lead on the strength of its senior trio of Randle, Anthony Brown, and Stefan Nastic. Brown connected on a pair of triples, Nastic scored twice in the paint, and Randle contributed two buckets, the latter a 3-point play the old-fashioned way.

"I thought we played 10 beautiful minutes of basketball," said Dawkins. "Maybe the best 10 minutes in any first half this season."

Jonathan Arledge's jumper with 15:07 left in the half stanched the bleeding for the Monarchs (27-8) of Conference USA.

Stanford's rash of turnovers then enabled ODU to cut a 25-4 deficit to 33-27 going in to the locker room.

After the Cardinal relinquished the lead for the first time with 11:05 left in the contest, Randle responded. He connected from long distance on back-to-back possessions and dropped in a floater that rose to shot-clock heights late in the game.

Nastic packaged 17 points with six rebounds, while the 6-foot-6 Brown added 14 points, showing pro scouts that he has the stroke to match his size on the perimeter.

Ambrose Mosley and Richard Ross paced ODU with 16 and 15 points, respectively, as the Monarchs' bench outscored Stanford's, 40-4.

NOTES: Stanford and Old Dominion were meeting for the second time. The Cardinal also won, 84-60, on Nov. 23, 2000 in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Shootout . . . Stanford was playing a game on March 31 for the first time in school history . . . Thursday's game will be the 37th of the season, matching the school record established in 2012 . . . Stanford is making its third trip to Madison Square Garden in four seasons and has compiled a 14-4 record at the famed arena . . . The Cardinal is 17-5 in eight NIT appearances . . . Senior tri-captains Anthony Brown, Stefan Nastic and Chasson Randle combined to shoot 21-26 from the foul line. The trio has combined to make 446-545 (81.8 percent) this season . . . Randle notched his 16th 20-point game of the season and 42nd of his career. Of Randle's 2,350 career points, 150 have come on Tuesday, 1,079 have come in the first half and 543 have come in March . . . Randle also made three three-pointers, giving him 301 for his career . . . Brown had made 23 consecutive free throws dating to Feb. 26 before missing in the second half . . . In five career games at Madison Square Garden, Brown is shooting 9-18 (50.0 percent) from beyond the arc . . . Reid Travis grabbed eight rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench . . . Old Dominion attempted 61 shots compared to Stanford's 39 . . . Miami, which trailed the first 32 minutes of its earlier semifinal, played without injured point guard Angel Rodriguez and lost its seven-foot center, Tonye Jekiri, early on to a concussion. Jekiri already has been ruled out of Thursday's title game.

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