Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle scored 15 points apiece to lead the way as Stanford beat Minnesota 75-51 in the Postseason NIT title game in New York City.
Johnny Dawkins’ Cardinal (26-11) led by as many as 30 in the second half after taking a six-point lead into the half, going on a 13-4 run to start the second half and never looking back.
Rodney Williams led three Golden Gophers in double figures with 12 points, but as the game progressed Minnesota was unable to navigate the Stanford defense.
For the game Minnesota (23-15) shot 37% from the field and 3 of 13 from beyond the arc, while Stanford knocked down 53% of their shots from the field and 55% from three.
“I thought a lot had to do with Stanford and their intensity,” said Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith. “They did a good job of really getting up under us, being physical, and I thought that was the difference.”
Stanford loses just two seniors from this year’s team, guard Jarrett Mann and forward Andrew Zimmerman, meaning that the Cardinal will return the tools needed for a run at an NCAA tournament bid.
In addition to Bright and Randle forwards Josh Owens and Dwight Powell will return to The Farm, and the addition of wing Rosco Allen will give the Cardinal another versatile scoring option.
“Those kids were making plays defensively, taking charges, blocking shots, rebounding,” said Dawkins. “That’s what you have to have, and I think that they have grown up this year, and that’s exciting for our future”
Minnesota also has reason for optimism when looking at who they return next season, and that group could include power forward Trevor Mbakwe. Mbakwe, who tore an ACL back in November, was awarded a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.