STANFORD, Calif.-Chasson Randle hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left in overtime to put Stanford ahead to stay in a 92-88 win over Illinois State on Monday night in the NIT.
Bright hit six 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 29 points for the Cardinal (23-11), which erased an 11-point deficit to win their fourth in five games.
"It was a lot of fun," said Bright, who was 11-13 from the field and 6-7 from long range. "Jarrett Mann got me going. He got me two really good looks for 3s and I didn't have to work too hard. That got my offense going."
Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich thought Bright was the difference in the game.
"Our misfortune is Bright had a career high," he said. "We couldn't get him stopped. He got into a tremendous flow."
"I thought that was Aaron's best game he's had here," Dawkins said. "I have not seen many players who played better than Aaron did tonight."
Stanford hosts Nevada on Wednesday night at 6 p.m., with a berth in the Final Four at Madison Square Garden in New York City at stake.
Nic Moore scored a career-high 25 points for the Redbirds (21-14), who played their third consecutive overtime game. Tyler Brown added 23 points and Jackie Carmichael had 21 points and 12 rebounds.
"They turned up the heat a little bit and put us in a different mode," Janovich said. "They are good at closing gaps and rotating to the paint."
Randle finished with 19 points and Dwight Powell added a season-high 18 points. Stanford led at halftime, 41-38.
Illinois State used a 21-5 run to erase a seven-point and take a 61-52 lead with 12:30 remaining to play. The Redbirds hit three consecutive 3-pointers during the run, two by Brown.
The Redbirds led 71-60 with 9:01 remaining but Stanford went on a 14-3 run to tie it at 74 with 5:14 left.
The game was still tied heading into a Stanford timeout with 21 seconds remaining. Randle's shot at the buzzer hit the front rim, sending the game into overtime.
- Rick Eymer, Associated Press
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Head Coach Johnny Dawkins Opening Statement...
"Wow. We beat a terrific team. I think that's the best shooting team we've played this season. Tim has done a great job with his group. I'm just happy and proud of our guys. We had to fight back, I think our kids showed a lot of heart, down by 11, and we really dug in. We got stops when we needed them. But I hadn't seen many teams that can shoot the ball as well as that team shot it. They spread us out real well, everyone was a threat from behind the three-point line, and seeing them versus Ole Miss I had a hard time believing my eyes, when they went 17-23 from three. And when we're playing them and I'm seeing these balls go in, one after another, you just realize that, you know what, you're facing a terrific shooting team, and our guys really had to dig in, like I said."
On Stanford's 12-20 three-point shooting performance...
"I was proud of our guys. Our preparation was good, I thought. We had a lot of time between our last two games and I thought our kids used it wisely. I think they came in fresh, I thought we had a lot of energy and I thought we were sharp. Offensively I liked what we were doing. We shared the basketball, we made a lot of connecting plays, we had 15 assists and Aaron was terrific. Aaron was flat-out terrific. I think he had his best ballgame he's had for us here as far as shooting the basketball, and we needed every one of them. He stepped up."
On Aaron Bright's career-high 29-point performance...
"I have not seen many players in the country play any better than Aaron played tonight. I thought he made a lot of winning plays, not even his shots. He made a lot of shots, of course, but I thought his decision-making was good. He made some timely passes to guys who were open, I can remember Anthony Brown having a great look. I mean, Aaron created that by sucking the defense in. I thought he gave Chasson a great look at the buzzer for us before overtime, got him a good look, and all that happened through his ability to create off the dribble and make plays. I was just really proud of him."
On coming back from an 11-point deficit with 9:01 to play...
"Our adjustment at that time was, we were picking up around halfcourt, a little bit under, and we decided to extend the court, go up the floor and try to work them a little bit more up the court, maybe try to wear them down a little bit. They were shooting so well, we were hoping we could get into their legs, maybe they would get tired and miss a few. And fortunately, they did."
On making just 12 of 21 free-throws, compared to Illinois State's 19-21 performance...
"Like I said, they're a great shooting team, so it's no surprise that they shoot free-throws very well. For us, we're a good shooting team. We have a few guys who can be exceptional, Aaron being one of them, so you're going to have [difficulties] at times for us. The main thing is, like I've always said, is that we make them when we need to. We made them down the stretch, we had to put the ball in the right guys' hands at the end of games, make sure we're getting them to the line, and we design plays to get them there. Whether it's Aaron getting to the line, Chasson or Anthony, we try to put guys to the line that were confident, that have been good free-throw shooters for us."
On getting just eight players into the game...
"It's just what happened. We didn't go in there planning on shortening our rotation. Looking at their personnel they play a lot of small guys, and so we had to play a lot of perimeter guys mostly throughout the game, and guys that could stay with their perimeter. They spread you out so well and they do a lot of dribble-drive, so we needed guys out there that could kind of stay in front, and also, if we had to switch anything, we wouldn't get hurt as bad. So we went with a lot of like-sized guys for the most part, or more versatile big guys like Dwight who play on the perimeter for or inside, Josh Huestis on the perimeter or inside, Josh Owens who can move his feet well enough. So we tried to play guys like that along with our perimeter players."
Sophomore Aaron Bright On keeping the season alive with an overtime win...
"That was one of the craziest games I've played in. It was obviously a lot of fun."
On sinking 11-13 shots, including 6-7 from the perimeter...
"The beginning of the game Jarrett got me going a little bit, he drove and I think he got me two threes, two really good looks right off the bat. I mean, I didn't really have to work very hard for my shots, and that got my offensive game going. I think when I shot the last three at the end of the half, it just felt like the basket was the size of the ocean."
Sophomore Dwight Powell On scoring a season-high 18 points against Illinois State...
"I don't know necessarily if it was anything with them, but the guys really had my back. [Aaron Bright] was telling me to go at the defense, telling me to be aggressive, and he was making sure to get me the ball so I just took my looks, team shots and they were falling tonight."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ILLINOIS STATE QUOTES
Head Coach Tim Jankovich On Stanford's charge back from 11 points down with 9:30 left in regulation...
"They turned up their heat pretty good. They did a good job on pressure the whole game. We made some bad decisions at times, but they close the gaps well. The thing they do best is rotate to the paint, they get their hands on balls, they're a bigger team than we're used to facing. They did a great job."
General thoughts on the game...
"I thought the crowd was really into it, a big factor. Stanford shot the ball so well, that got the crowd into it. Our effort was tremendous also. Our misfortune was that Aaron Bright had a career night. That was the thing that hurt us the most, in my opinion. I congratulate him on that. We are arguably good enough to go (to New York). I felt bad for our team, because they really wanted to go play at the Garden. We made a few too many turnovers, but I congratulate Stanford. We watch a lot of games, and I have to say that this was one of the better games we've played in this season."
On three straight charging calls on Jackie Carmichael at one point that affected his team's momentum...
"It was frustrating, but Stanford is very good at running under you and getting position. I didn't understand them all the time, but I can't fault the refs. I ref at camp sometimes, fifth-graders, and I can't always tell a charge from a block. But I give them (Stanford) credit because they are well-drilled on not letting people get to the rim. That jumped out to us on film."