It was all right there. With the clock winding down and the ball in its best player’s hands, Stanford had a chance to erase a 13-point hole, get a tough road win, and add to the tournament résumé, all in one fell swoop.
But it was not to be.
Chasson Randle’s runner fell off the front rim at the buzzer, and BYU escaped with a 79-77 win over Stanford in Provo. BYU (9-3) prevented Stanford (6-3) from earning its third straight win.
It should have been a comfortable win for the Cougars. With 4:20 remaining, BYU led 74-61. But Stanford fought back, and the Cougars nearly coughed it up with a series of turnovers, quick shots, and missed free throws.
Randle actually had two chances to win the game for Stanford. With the Card down 79-77, Randle forced a BYU turnover with 23 seconds left. Then, at the other end, he got a good look for a go-ahead three pointer, but it missed with seven seconds left. BYU responded by missing two free throws with 4.8 seconds to go, setting the stage for Randle’s final shot.
Still, Randle finished with 24 points and five assists. Stefan Nastic helped pace the Card with several key jumpers en route to a 20-point, nine-rebound night. Reid Travis chipped in with 15 points and six boards.
After a see-saw start to the second half, the game started to tilt towards BYU with eleven minutes left. Down 52-49, Stanford had the ball and the Cougars had their backups on the court. The Cardinal were hoping to get a quick run and retake the lead against BYU’s reserves before the mandatory media timeout. Instead, Travis threw the ball away while trying to hit Nastic, and the Card’s opportunity was gone.
From there, BYU began to pull away. On both ends of the floor, Stanford was outworked by the Cougars underneath. The Cardinal were also stymied by two more turnovers and a sequence in which they missed three point-blank shots. BYU took advantage, building a 13-point lead that seemed all but insurmountable at the time.
Stanford outshot BYU (48% to 43%) and converted 40% from beyond the arc. But the Cardinal committed 14 turnovers, and were outrebounded during the game's most critical stretches. The Cougars also shot 19 more free throws than Stanford.
Continuing their post-Finals trend, the Card started the game slowly. They missed close shots and open threes while BYU broke out to a 13-4 lead. Cougar star guard Tyler Haws showed few ill effects from a sprained ankle, hitting his first five shots and scoring 13 first-half points. The Cougars held a 32-22 lead with 4:45 left.
But from there, BYU seemed to lose steam the rest of the half, opening the door for an 11-0 Stanford run. Randle led the way with drives and jumpers. His stepback with 45 seconds left gave the Card a 33-32 lead, its first of the game. BYU took a 36-35 lead to the locker room at the break.
Stanford’s two-game road trip concludes on Tuesday in Austin against ninth-ranked Texas. On Saturday, the Longhorns knocked off Long Beach State, 78-68. Reserve guard Javan Felix led Texas with 17 points.********** ********** **********
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