An overtime game that featured 11 ties and 19 lead changes came down to a key second chance for Stanford.
After passing up a chance to win the game for the Cardinal in regulation, Chasson Randle had the ball again late in overtime. Stanford was ahead, 72-71, and the clock was ticking. This time, Randle drove, stopped on a dime, shook his defender, and drained a cold-blooded jumper with ten seconds left in overtime. That shot sealed the game, giving Stanford a 74-71 win over ninth-ranked Texas.
The Cardinal bounced back after a tough loss at BYU, which ended when Randle missed a buzzer-beater. But Stanford players felt if Randle had another chance in crunch time against Texas, things would be different. “There was no doubt in my mind that Chasson was going to bounce back and have a great game today,” Cardinal forward Reid Travis said on the Cardinal Sports Network’s postgame show. “When he got another look to seal the game, I knew it was going in. When great players like that get a second chance, they definitely bounce back and take the opportunity.”
For Stanford (7-3), it was the first road win of the year. It came in impressively gutty fashion against Texas (10-2) in Austin. And it may be well remembered come Selection Sunday in March.
“I thought the energy in the building was terrific, and our kids really responded,” Cardinal head coach Johnny Dawkins also told the Cardinal Sports Network after the game. “It was like a heavyweight fight. It’s a great Christmas present for all of us, and I’m really proud of what they accomplished.”
The biggest blows were thrown—and landed—by Stanford’s guards. Randle’s final shot capped a 22-point night. Anthony Brown’s 25 points led all Cardinal scorers.
After Texas scored the first four points in overtime to claim a 68-64 advantage, Randle’s three-pointer tied the game at 68 with 2:48 left. Later, Brown drove for a score that put the Cardinal ahead, 72-71 with 1:05 remaining. Stanford never trailed again.
“Those guards really anchored us,” Dawkins beamed. “They were very, very solid on the defensive end. Offensively, they were spectacular. I don’t think I’ve had a night where both of those guys played that well offensively. When we can get that kind of production from both of those guys, we’re going to be very competitive against a lot of teams.”
While Brown and Randle scored the points, Travis and Stefan Nastic did much of the dirty work. Despite picking up his fourth foul with 11:24 remaining in regulation, Nastic held his own against the Longhorns’ vaunted front line. And against one of the country’s top rebounding teams, Travis grabbed 14 boards by himself.
How did Travis outwork the tenacious Longhorns? “Speed and tenacity,” he revealed. “It takes a lot to go to the glass every time. No offense to anybody else at this level, but it’s rare to find that. If I go to the glass every time and work as hard as I can, I can outwork most people on the post.”
Randle’s jumper with 56 seconds left in regulation put Stanford ahead, 64-62. But while taking the inbounds with 29 seconds to go, Brown tried to fight off Jonathan Holmes and was called for an offensive foul. That opened the door for Texas to tie it up, as Holmes nailed a 16-footer with 25 seconds left. Stanford had the final shot, but Randle passed it off to Robert Cartwright, who missed a tough runner at the buzzer.
The teams were tied at 31 at halftime, but—as usual—it took a Stanford rally to get there. Down 22-15 with six minutes left and Randle and Nastic on the bench with early foul trouble, Brown went to work beyond the arc. He hit three three-pointers, his third giving the Cardinal a 26-24 lead and putting Stanford ahead for the first time. Brown added another three, a stepback beauty that completely shook Kendal Yancy and tied the score at 29.
Brown also had help from Travis, who owned the boards on both ends of the floor. Travis grabbed nine first-half boards, and started the game with a series of second- and third-chance buckets for Stanford. Travis’ defensive rebounds helped start the plays that Brown finished during the Card’s rally. Five Texas turnovers also helped the Cardinal’s cause in the first half.
The Card were able to deliver a critical win, which should make their Christmas break more enjoyable. Before starting Pac-12 play, Stanford has a home date on Monday at Maples Pavilion against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-9; #196 RPI).********** ********** **********
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