Josh Huestis added his first double-double of the year with 13 points and 13 rebounds for Stanford (5-1), which shot 50.0 percent overall and held a 40-39 rebounding edge.
Tied 32-32 at halftime, Stanford shot 66.7 percent in the second half and erupted for 54 points. Powell led the charge, scoring 14 of his 20 points in the second half on a variety of jumpers, put-backs and dunks.
Meanwhile, Houston (5-1) was limited to 37.5 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes. TaShawn Thomas kept the Cougars within striking distance, totaling 22 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and five steals.
Houston’s biggest lead of the first half came with 3:30 remaining, as a layup from Thomas gave the Cougars a 28-19 cushion.
Stanford quickly responded, ending the half on a 13-4 scoring run that included two three-pointers from Brown and tied the game at 32-32.
Tied at 39-39, the Cardinal moved in front 53-46 following a dunk from Powell with 11:47 remaining in the game. A jumper from Jherrod Stiggers brought the Cougars within five, but the Cardinal jumped its lead to 65-53 over the next four minutes.
Houston crept to within five points twice in the last three minutes before Stanford relied on free throws to pull away.
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NOTES: Stanford will square off against Pittsburgh in Tuesday’s championship game, set for 6:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU. The Cardinal owns a 10-7 record in preseason tournament competition over the last five years and is seeking its first fall tournament title since routing UC Santa Barbara 67-48 in the 2007 Basketball Travelers Classic … Josh Huestis notched his first double-double of the year and 12th career. Huestis also added three blocks, increasing his career total to 136, which ranks fourth in school history … Anthony Brown registered his fourth career 20-point game … The game featured six ties and eight lead changes … Stanford received only 11 points from its bench- all from Aaron Bright … The Cardinal has scored at least 50 points in a half three times this year … Head coach Johnny Dawkins will be aiming for his 100th career victory on Tuesday.
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Stanford up 43-39. Under 16 TO. Anthony Brown is playing terrific. Filling the Glue Guy role Stanford lacked last year.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 26, 2013
Stanford Head Coach Johnny Dawkins
“I thought we were very efficient offensively in the second half. I thought in the first half, they did a great job of taking us out of the things we wanted to do. They made it difficult for us but I thought our adjustments were good and we came back in the second half with a much stronger performance. I give them a lot of credit, they played with a lot of spirit, a lot of energy and they mixed up their defense quite a bit and threw us off. Our guys really had to adjust to a lot of changing defenses, as well as their quickness and athleticism.”
“Anthony has been huge for us and has done that several times for in the preseason. He stepped up big and made big shots for us tonight. That’s who he was before he got hurt; he was just starting to find out the type of player he can become. I was just concerned about the injury and how sitting out all season would maybe slow his progress or set him back some. But I think he is actually better. He is bigger, stronger and more confident.”
Houston Head Coach James Dickey
“We got beat by a really good basketball team. We knew they were very efficient offensively. We thought the big turnaround was the last three minutes and thirty seconds of the first half. We had a nine-point lead and made some critical errors. We never really regained momentum. I was proud of how our guys competed. Our defense wasn’t as good. They shot 67 percent over the second half. We didn’t shoot as well as we’re capable. We’ll grow.”