Stanford’s trip to the Bahamas finally paid dividends on Saturday afternoon, as the Cardinal pulled away from Northern Iowa 66-50 behind sophomore guard Chasson Randle’s second consecutive 20-point performance.
Randle’s 21 and 15 more from senior Andy Brown — who has quickly become a surprise contributor off the bench this season — pushed Stanford past a Panthers team that knotted the game up at 30 at halftime.
“Once you lose a game, sometimes it can snowball for you and I am really proud of my kids’ maturity and how we approached today’s game against a very good team,” head coach Johnny Dawkins told GoStanford.com. “Our guys … responded to the kind of challenge I gave them. I was so proud of our effort, especially in the second half.”
Brown, who sat out multiple seasons after three ACL tears to his left knee, set career highs in points, rebounds (six) and minutes (29) on Saturday and could provide leadership to a team that lost four seniors last season.
It was a rough day for Stanford’s star juniors; forward Dwight Powell ran into early foul trouble for the second time in a week, tallying just two points in his 17 minutes, and Aaron Bright and Anthony Brown both sat out with injuries. But forwards Josh Huestis and John Gage picked up their classmates, combining for 16 points and 11 rebounds in their extended playing time.
The Cardinal (4-2) now plays Minnesota (5-1) in Saturday’s fifth-place game at 12:30 p.m. PST in a rematch of last season’s NIT Finals, which Stanford dominated 75-51 on the strength of 15 points each by Randle and Bright. The matchup will be televised on AXS.TV, which can be found on channel 764 for Comcast Digital Cable customers in the Palo Alto area.