Stanford's in Austin trying to pull off its biggest upset of the young season. We pick up the action just in time for the final stretch.
In or out? With only Sisters of the Poor left in December, this game will tell the tale for the Cardinal, at least for 2014.
Obviously Pac-12 play can brighten or dim one's star in a hurry – especially given the strength of this year's league – but right now, Stanford would be the first team out of the NCAA Tournament.
Yes, it's not yet Christmas, but no matter, bracketmatrix.com compiles the 17 mock brackets out at the moment, and according to groupthink, Stanford is just on the wrong side of the bracket. Seems right, as the Cardinal came up just short at BYU and showed well against Duke, but also in a losing effort. The rest of the non-con romp has gone about as expected, plus or minus that loss to DePaul, and thus the scene is set: If visiting Stanford wins against the No. 9 team in the land, a precious bit of breathing room entering the Pac-12 slate. Another loss, no matter the scoreline, and we might all be gnawing our fingernails come February and March. [Side note: You might argue that the difference is minimal between a likely first-round exit and potentially deep NIT run. I would point you to last year's surprise Sweet 16 joint – you just never know – plus, the experience of the bright lights certainly couldn't hurt this young team in years to come.]
Chasson Randle now has 13, the latest three coming off an and-one that put the Cardinal up 51-49 as we near the eight-minute mark. Texas has to learn to foul a little harder, as Stanford now has two and-one plays in the past five minutes alone, thanks to gentle 'Horns contact on layups. The teams make four straight jumpers as we head into the under-eight timeout at 55-54 Card. Two Texas players crash into each other diving for a loose ball, and we certainly hope everyone's okay, but if someone needs 10 minutes to get a Band Aid for their eye, I wouldn't complain.
It's been a close game throughout. Stanford, impressively, has managed ten more shots than the Horns, but Texas has been more accurate at 20 of 42 (48 percent) to Stanford's 23 of 52 (44 percent). The Card are +5 in offensive rebounds and +4 in the paint. But Texas has been shooting well, as mentioned, and has eight blocks, big boys Miles Turner and Cameron Ridley with seven of them. Randle and Anthony Brown air ball on consecutive possessions, and then Rosco Allen hits a fade away J with a hand in his face. Hard looks for the Cardinal, but for now, it's working. 57-54 Cardinal, in their biggest lead of the day.
Texas has led by no more than seven, and there have been 13 lead changes in this one, tight throughout. Texas is in the one-and-one and hits a pair, but no matter because the Cardinal are on fire! Three-ball good from Rosco Allen, and the Cardinal are up 60-56 as we cross the four-minute mark. The Cardinal are shooting north of 50 percent on the half, not too shabby.
Texas layup on a second-chance possession, Randle air balls a three, Texas transition floater in the lane to tie, Stanford timeout with 2:30 left. That's three Stanford air balls in the past five-ish minutes, and the Card are certainly shooting at a good percentage, but maybe they're pressing a little here too.
Texas guard Javan Felix hangs in the air on a mid-range jumper to draw a Robert Cartwright foul, so at 60-all, the Longhorns will be shooting for the lead on the other side of the timeout. 1:56 remaining.
Anthony Brown and Chasson Randle have 36 points on combined 50 percent shooting, despite those recent uglies. Looks like they're going to try to run through those two, and now Stefan Nastic, checking back in with four fouls. Also impressive: Reid Travis has 13 rebounds, six offensive.
Nastic makes his pair after Felix did likewise, so we're reknotted at 62-all, 1:30 and counting. Nastic a bit lucky to get that whistle, driving headfirst into three reasonably stationary Texas defenders. A Texas J rattles in and out, and then Randle comes off a screen to hit a J from the elbow. Ugly at times, but if Chasson Randle is going to alternate the air balls with swishes, no complaints here. The camera captures Robert Cartwright, face fully flush, screaming at himself to get pumped coming out of the timeout. Good stuff. Texas timeout with 45 seconds to go. I would have tried to go two-for-one there, but now, with 24 on the shot clock, Stanford will have the last look in regulation. It'll be a chance to win off a Texas make, or likely free throws off a Horn miss. Looking good.
Texas air balls a three, there's a scramble for the rebound, and with Robert Cartwight and Chasson Randle in on it, it's Cardinal ball up two.
Texas No. 9 in the country to KenPom, Stanford 53th. And just as I'm starting to write up the obituary for the Horns, Anthony Brown receives an inbounds and is whistled for a charge. Texas gets the hometown call off a marginal call and likely flop, but the Cardinal had the same earlier.
Texas J, Stanford timeout with 19.5 to go and the score now tied at 64.
Last possession, let's go to the hoop and draw contact. Instead, ugly, last-ditch Cartwright floater and overtime here we come. Disappointing. Randle got the switch he wanted off a screen, such that his man was now a big instead of a guard and had the ball in his hand with a few seconds to go. Surprising, as the announcers note, that he passed there.
All of this can be mere footnote though with five solid minutes. Here goes…
Texas has won four straight OTs… I think this is the teams' first meeting since that Sweet 16 matchup with the Lopez twins, Trent Johnson and D.J. Augustin that Texas won… Nastic wins the tip and is likely fouled twice, but no call and he misses. Texas comes back for two free throws off an O board. Horns 14 of 15 from the line tonight to 4 of 5 for the Card. J in and out for Brown, then Texas takes its time but gets its big body down low for a layup. Nastic does draw a foul and with his free throw it's 68-65 Horns, 3:18 left in overtime. Texas misses a fadeaway short thanks to some solid Rosco Allen D. Randle three(!) and we're tied again, 2:30 to go.
Texas finally misses a free throw too, and it's a 69-68 game, two minutes-ish left. Randle gets another open three but pulls it left. His body was still moving that way after coming off a screen. Texas turnover and foul on the loose ball scrum. Hey, we're battling, air balls and bad call and all.
Anthony Brown makes both with Stanford now in the bonus, 70-69. Fade away Felix J from six feet out on the baseline. Tough shot but we would have liked to stop that penetration earlier.
Randle matches step for step, layup off the glass, Card back up, 72-71. Texas misses a three from the parking lot, rebound out of bounds to Stanford. Seven second difference game to shot clock, and Texas won't foul so we run clock. Randle pullback J with 10 seconds to go, now 74-71 Card with ten seconds left in OT. We're certainly getting our entertainment dollar here.
Does Stanford foul? I would if we can delay the Horns coming up the court and get the clock under five seconds. We don't put a man on the in-bounder, but Texas uses its last timeout anyway before the ball gets in. Even better.
What are they possibly reviewing? I'm home for the holidays, so Dad's watching along and chips in: "This must be the most complicated play in the history of basketball."
No matter. Texas ends up getting two threes off, neither of them great looks, but both hit front rim, and time runs out as Stanford rebounds. It's Johnny Dawkins' fourth win over a top-ten team, and more importantly for this year, it has the Card looking much better for March than they did just a few hours ago.Tweet
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