March 27, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) - Anthony Brown scored a season-high 18 points and Josh Owens had 15 points and 12 rebounds to help Stanford advance to the NIT championship game with a 74-64 win over Massachusetts on Tuesday night.
The Minutemen took their first lead since early in the game with about 8 minutes left, but Brown hit a 3-pointer to push the Cardinal back on top, then later scored seven points during an 11-3 run that put Stanford in control.
Third-seeded Stanford (25-11) will meet Minnesota or Washington in the NIT final Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Brooklyn native Chaz Williams led fifth-seeded UMass (25-12) with 19 points.
Stanford leading scorer Chasson Randle picked up his fourth foul with 13 1/2 minutes left, and the Cardinal really missed his defense on Williams.
UMass tied the score on an alley-oop from Williams to Maxie Esho with 8 1/2 minutes to go. After Josh Huestis scored inside to put Stanford back up, Freddie Riley hit a 3 for the Minutemen's only lead of the second half.
Brown answered with a 3, but Williams tied it with a drive to the basket. After Owens missed a dunk, Aaron Bright made a more difficult shot, hitting a long jumper.
With Stanford up 56-54 and about 5 minutes left, Randle drove to the basket and collided with Terrell Vinson. A charge would have ended Randle's night; instead, Vinson was called for a blocking foul, giving Randle a chance at a three-point play. He missed the free throw, but the Cardinal led 58-54 and still had their leading scorer in the game.
Williams was saddled by foul trouble in the first half, then hobbled off the court with more than 12 minutes to go in the second. A trainer massaged his right calf on the bench, and he returned with 10:47 remaining. Williams was averaging 22.7 points in the NIT.
With former Stanford player Landry Fields of the Knicks cheering the Cardinal on, Owens again looked right at home at Madison Square Garden. He scored a season-high 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting against Oklahoma State in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals in November.
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NOTES: Stanford jumped out to a 12-point lead in the first half, only to see Massachusetts trim the deficit to three at halftime. The Minutemen took a 50-49 lead with 8:04 to play, but Brown knocked down a triple to put the Cardinal back on top and trigger an 11-3 scoring run ... Stanford pulled down 54 rebounds, matching its highest season output. Meanwhile, the 54 rebounds established a school postseason record, surpassing the 53 against Purdue on March 20, 1998 in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament ... Stanford is now 11-1 this year when Anthony Brown scores in double figures ... Both teams committed 17 turnovers. Massachusetts totaled 11 miscues before halftime ... Stanford has won two other games this year when shooting under 40.0 percent. The Cardinal defeated NC State 76-72 despite making 36.2 percent and topped UCLA 60-59 while connecting on 34.5 percent ... Stanford is making its eighth all-time appearance at Madison Square Garden. Stanford is 10-4 all-time at MSG ... Stanford improved to 19-1 when scoring at least 70 points in a game this year. The Cardinal is now 29-3 combined over the last two years when reaching the 70-point plateau.