9:53pm (ET) - John Platz and Bob Murphy are sweating the clock. As late as this start time may be on the East Coast, it is estimated for 6:55pm Pacific time. KNEW does not like anything interrupting their prized "Savage Nation" programming, which runs weekdays through 7:00pm. The Duke/Delaware State game looked like it would run long, but ended two minutes early when D-State opted not to foul in the last couple minutes. Player introductions are transpiring on the floor right now, and KNEW has agreed to switch to the game in Charlotte at 6:57pm (PT). It will be close.
9:57pm - Matt Haryasz takes the first shot of the game, operating inside as Stanford had planned and has intended all year: establish the inside game and then go inside-out. Haryasz' turnaround one-handed hook is off the mark.
9:57pm - Mississippi State comes back and in parallel looks inside to Roberts for their first attempt. He hooks Little to get free under the basket, but misses. Little immediately turns to an official to gesture about the uncalled offensive foul.
9:58pm - Little on the other end aggressively puts the ball on the floor and drives around Roberts to the basket, scoring with a baby hook. First basket of the game, Stanford leads 2-0.
9:59pm - Stanford looks to their big man again, with Haryasz attempting an 18-footer that misses. Washington grabs the offensive board, which finds its way to Little. The senior center puts the ball on the floor and drives to the basket, hitting a short pull-up. Stanford leads 4-2.
9:59pm - Roberts remains aggressive for MSU, and after a miss inside he leaps above the crowd for an offensive rebound. Little fouls him on a follow-up attempt, the first personal for Little (17:39 remaining in the half). The senior grits his teeth in anger at both the foul and the failure to grab the rebound.
10:01pm - A man on a mission, Little keeps attacking. Misses a short shot but grabs the offensive board. On the follow-up attempt he draws a valuable first foul on Roberts (16:44). A 47% free throw shooter, he somehow hits both, to pull Stanford within one at 6-7.
10:03pm - Little picks up his second foul at the 15:48 mark, on a completely unnecessary defensive foul way away from the basket. He has all eight of Stanford's points but goes to the bench, where he will sit the remainder of the half.
10:06pm - We're back from the first media timeout. Jason Haas has substituted for Little, taking Stanford's size and frontcourt advantage off the floor. Stanford sets in their 2-3 zone defense for the first time, and it yields a missed three-pointer from MSU.
10:08pm - Without Little in the game, Roberts is ready to wreak even more havoc and scores baskets on back-to-back possessions. The second score also nets Roberts a free throw attempt, which lets the MSU defense set up their own zone defense. Haryasz shoots a big airball, an ominous harbinger of Stanford's offensive future against the Bulldogs zone in this game. Chris Hernandez does save Stanford on the very next possession, draining a three-pointer from the top of the arc. Stanford trails just 13-14, despite what feels like a tumultuous start to the game.
10:10pm - As anticipated, both coaches give a try with their "big" line-up. Trent Johnson puts Peter Prowitt in the game while Rick Stansbury uses Wesley Morgan. Haryasz takes advantage right away and attacks along the baseline, scoring a basket and drawing a foul on Morgan. Three-point play gives Stanford a 21-16 lead. (11:53)
10:15pm - The Morgan experiment is over for the Bulldogs, and Stansbury instead gives Marcus Campbell a try. The senior seven-footer has been out the last two weeks with a strained calf muscle, and Stansbury bad-mouthed his consistency when healthy, just 24 hours ago in his press conference. Campbell serves notice that he is on his game, receiving the ball in the paint, drawing a double-team, and then dishing a nifty pass behind his back to Ontario Harper for a slashing lay-in. Trims the Stanford lead to 21-18.
10:19pm - Taj Finger comes into the game and quickly contributes with a short jumper. On the following MSU possession, Finger leaps to intercept an alley-oop on other end.
10:20pm - Haryasz hits Hernandez back door for a reverse lay-in. Stanford is surging on offense, with a 32-23 lead at the 8:01 mark. The Cardinal have hit 10 of their last 13 shots (Haryasz will add another jumper to make that 11-of-14).
10:24pm - MSU comes out of third media time-out and switches their defense again. This time they use a halfcourt trapping zone defense. Initially they make a poor decision by fouling Hernandez just seconds into the possession. It is the Bulldogs' seventh team foul, which puts Stanford in the bonus and Hernandez on the free throw line. He hits both, and Stanford leads 36-25.
10:35pm - Shane Power has been quiet but attempts and hits his first three-pointer, as the Bulldogs get out and run in transition.
10:35pm - Hernandez misses a three-point attempt, his first miss from the field or free throw line in the game (3:23). He had started 4-of-4 from the field and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe. Stanford is cooling while Mississippi State is heating up. A 12-point lead has been cut in half to six.
10:37pm - MSU comes out of the final media timeout of the half in their second attempt at a trapping zone defense. This time it works, yielding a traveling call on Haas. That is just the second turnover for Stanford in the game, with 17+ minutes gone by.
10:38pm - Winsome Frazier hits a corner three-pointer over Finger for his fourth long-range bomb of the half, on five attempts. All four treys have come after he picked up his second foul. Stanford leads now just by three, 41-38.
10:39pm - Hernandez starts to force his offense and takes back-to-back poor shots, both misses (now 0-of-3 after starting 4-of-4). After the most recent miss, Jamall Edmondson throws a long pass the length of the court to Power, who for the second time in two minutes nails an open corner trey in transition. The game is suddenly tied at 41-41 and Trent Johnson calls a timeout.
10:42pm - Roberts gives MSU the lead at the free throw line, 42-41, but misses his second attempt. Power beats the Stanford players to the offensive rebound. MSU resets and gets the ball to Roberts on the baseline. Finger is there but falls down out of bounds, giving Roberts a lane to the basket, which he takes and finishes with a reverse lay-in. The Bulldogs now lead 41-44 and cap off a 14-2 MSU run.
10:42pm - Fred Washington ends the Stanford scoring drought with an attack on their final possession, hitting a leaning lay-in to close the margin to 43-44, with 0:03 left in the half.
-- Halftime --
11:00pm - Tim Morris is out of the locker room with the team, standing under the basket with warmups over a Stanford polo shirt while his teammates are shooting before the start of the second half. Morris just took his last final exam earlier in the day at Stanford and flew on a direct flight to Charlotte, landing at 9:46pm. He was cleared earlier in the week with passing grades in classes that exceed the minimum of six units needed to become eligible - the Friday final exam was "eligibility gravy" but Morris and Stanford decided it best for him to stay on campus through all of his exams. Today is the official end of the winter quarter for Stanford, so starting Saturday he would be eligible to play for Stanford. A win tonight would give Morris unexpected new life to his redshirt freshman year and allow him to play in a second round match-up against Duke.
11:04pm - Mississippi State plays zone defense their very first possession to start the half, setting the stage for Stanbury's second half strategy to stymie Stanford. Just 13 seconds into the period, Frazier hacks Haryasz and picks up his third personal foul. The sharpshooting Bulldog does not substitute out of the game.
11:06pm - Frazier hits his second three-pointer in the first two minutes of the half. He is 6-of-7 from deep already in the game, and all of those shots came with him playing through foul trouble. This most recent bomb has him double-clutch in the air, hanging, and hitting the stupefying three-ball. The Charlotte Coliseum is filled with "oohs" and "aahs" from all in attendance. Frazier's scores have quickly extended MSU's lead to six points, 50-44.
11:09pm - Stanford is working hard to manufacture any scoring against Mississippi State's defense. Nick Robinson misses a three-pointer, which is rebounded by Little. Ball goes back to Robinson, who decides to drive and then dish to an open Washington on the backside. Washington flushes a dunk, bringing Stanford to within one at 49-50.
11:14pm - Stansbury again goes "big" but this time decides for Campbell instead of Morgan, following their disparate first half performances. Campbell will pay big dividends the remainder of the half, scoring six points, blocking three shots and altering several more.
11:15pm - Stanford is struggling with ball movement and shot selection against the MSU zone. For two straight possessions, Hernandez has stood all alone up top but not touched the ball.
11:16pm - Haryasz blocks a shot and Hernandez races up the floor with the ball in transition. Facing a one-on-two, he kicks back to Robinson, who calmly nails a 12-footer to bring Stanford to within four at 53-57 (13:54). That will be the Cardinal's last score for nearly six minutes, during which time the game will completely unravel.
11:20pm - Campbell blocks a Hernandez lay-in attempt, and MSU runs in transition, ending with a Dietric Slater lay-up. 53-63.
11:24pm - Stanford is increasingly losing the battle on the boards: 18-25.
11:24pm - Coming out of a timeout, Mississippi State again plays zone, and Stanford cannot get a good look. Robinson creates by driving the baseline, making a difficult but athletic lay-in attempt. It was an excellent individual effort - the type of play needed against this zone, but it comes off the rim. Finger commits a hacking foul after the MSU defensive rebound.
11:27pm - Power misses a three-pointer but the Bulldogs grab two offensive rebounds on the possession, which ends with a Roberts lay-in. MSU now leads, 53-65. On the other end, Little badly misses under the basket with a shot off the glass that gets no rim.
11:29pm - Trent Johnson picks up a technical foul for jawing at an official. The ill-timed "T" takes the ball out of Hernandez' hands on a Stanford possession and gives two free throws to Power (he hits both). The downward spiral deepens, and Stanford now trails by 14 (9:09).
11:30pm - Hernandez turns the ball over and Roberts takes off in transition. Robinson slaps the ball away in the paint, but MSU finds the loose ball and puts it in. 53-69.
11:32pm - Hernandez misses his fourth shot of the half and seventh straight in the game, but Haryasz grabs the offensive rebound and puts it back off the glass. The play ends a 14-0 scoring run for Mississippi State, and Stanford trails now 55-71 (8:04).
11:35pm - The rebounding deficit is growing, with Stanford trailing now 21-31.
11:39pm - Stanford starts to extend their zone defense, but MSU answers with fantastic passing and finds an easy lay-in. On the other end, Haas clangs a three-point attempt long and wide. Stanford trails by 20 at 57-77.
11:42pm - Though 6'11", Haryasz is bothered by the towering reach of Campbell and misses a mid-range jumper. Mississippi State gets out on the break and finishes with a superb athletic lay-in by Slater. MSU has their biggest lead of the game at 23 points (5:32). Non-partisan fans are checking out of the building, with the blowout removing any interest.
11:43pm - Hernandez ends his individual shooting slump with a three-point basket up top off an in-bound play. Like a drop in the ocean, it makes barely a dent in the MSU lead. 60-80 (4:33).
11:47pm - Little sees the end of his Cardinal career and leaves everything he can on the court. Off a Robinson miss, he leaps for the offensive rebound and goes back up for an emphatic dunk.
11:50pm - Little hits a six-foot hook off the glass, the last points of his Stanford career (2:06).
11:52pm - Washington and Haryasz substitute for Little and Robinson to give the graduating Stanford seniors a moment of recognition. The Cardinal faithful in the house, as well as the players on the bench, rise for a standing ovation.
11:55pm - Prowitt grabs an offensive rebound off a missed Haryasz free throw, but when he goes up to attempt a putback dunk, he is blocked by MSU deep reserve Piotr Stelmach. The Bulldogs bomb a three-pointer on the other end by former walk-on Michael Boler, giving them a 25-point lead at 93-68. Everybody from MSU is joining in the good times.
11:56pm - Prowitt misses a free throw, and Haryasz leaps to the offensive board but is blocked on the follow-up attempt by Charles Rhodes. Haryasz felt a lot of contact on the play and has a sour look on face looking to the officials for some explanation. He cannot believe the no-call, though the look on his face is emblematic of the disbelief he has on the entire night.
11: 58pm - Just shy of midnight in Charlotte, the clock strikes midnight on Stanford's 2004-05 season. The final buzzer mercifully sounds at the end of a 70-93 defeat.
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