TWISH: MBB downs UCLA in 2 OT, Miss. St.

Down by three points during a game his team had seemingly let get away, a usual Stanford suspect took control. Todd Lichti kept Stanford alive against UCLA this week in 1987, tying things at 99-99 with a three pointer with two seconds to play in overtime. The Cardinal eventually outlasted the Bruins in two overtime sessions.

December 23, 1987: Stanford 116, UCLA 110 (2OT)

Lichti scored 24 points while Terry Taylor added 21. Following his classmate's heroics, Taylor nailed his fourth three-ball of the night to hand Stanford a 106-103 lead it wouldn't relinquish. The Cardinal then scored the next seven points at the foul line to secure the coveted victory.

Stanford (8-2, 2-0) kept its early-season momentum going against Bruins, who dropped the sixth of their first nine games. Coach Walt Hazzard would be fired at year's end, making him the fifth head coach to exit Westwood since John Wooden's retirement 13 years earlier.

Rarely has a Cardinal team that didn't reach the NCAA Tournament enjoyed such jubilation. Stanford's points were the second-highest total in team history. UCLA set the mark for the most points by a losing team in Pac-10 history. A near-capacity crowd of 7,236 – Arizona guard Steve Kerr and his brother, a Stanford business school student, among them – saw those milestones unturned.

When the two sides met the previous year at Maples, Reggie Miller and Bruins won by 31 points. Stanford finished a solid 11-7 in Pac-10 play in 1987-88, its NIT berth breaking a 46-year postseason drought since the program's only national championship. Not since 1965 had the Cardinal so much as finished with a winning conference record.

"This game was a turning point for us," Taylor said at the time. His relieved head coach made sure the assembled media realized the game's importance. Quote Mike Montgomery: "You guys should write the play-by-play of this one. It would probably take about six pages. It would look like 49ers coverage."

Howard Wright scored a game-high 30 points, abusing UCLA's depleted post presence (opposing center Greg Foster spent much of the night in foul trouble). All told, five Bruins fouled out.

The visitors rode the heroics of Trevor Wilson (22 points) and Pooh Richardson to stay in it. Richardson, who finished with 25 points, drained an 18-foot jump shot in the closing seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime. "Sometimes he's just unstoppable," Monty lamented.

"This is one of the best Pac-10 games I've ever seen," said Hazzard, whose team blew a six-point lead in the first overtime period.

But the Cardinal also squandered an equal advantage. Stanford began the second half on an 18-5 run to take a 59-43 edge before holding an 84-78 lead with 56 seconds remaining. Then Richardson went to work.

The 6-foot-1 guard drove the paint, drew contact and left with three points the old fashioned way. After Dave Immel converted one of two foul shots on UCLA's next possession, a test of nerves arrived for Andrew Vlahov.

The Stanford freshman power forward, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery the very next day, went to the free throw line with 22 seconds left and his team up 84-82. Clank. Vlahov missed the one-and-one while UCLA grabbed the rebound, setting up Richardson's equalizer.

With ten seconds left in the first overtime at his team ahead 98-96, Wilson had his chance to ice the game. He made the first free throw but missed the back end. Stanford rebounded and pushed the ball ahead to Lichti, who played all 50 minutes.

Hazzard swore that Lichti's foot was on the line for his tying bucket, and one TV replay may have supported the coach's case. But the junior from Concord, who graduated as the conference's second all-time leading scorer, said "there was no question" he delivered from three-point range. The official result agrees.

December 21, 1999: Stanford 76, Mississippi State 56

Playing without injured Mark Madsen wasn't ideal, but the Cardinal prevailed in its first-ever game as the nation's No. 1 team. Stanford blocked a school-record 12 shots and held the Bulldogs to 31 percent shooting from the floor, as the Card again won the Pete Newell Challenge at the Oakland Arena.

David Moseley's 22 points led the Cardinal. The Bulldogs trailed by just six at halftime, but then Stanford opened the second half on a 15-0 run.

I miss the Pete Newell Challenge. The Cardinal took part nine times over a 10-season (1997-2006) span, winning all nine games. Oakland hosted it until 2006, when San Jose's HP Pavilion took over, but the event hasn't occurred since. The doubleheader always seemed to have a marquee feel to it, and its absence leaves a void in the Bay Area college hoops scene.

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