For the second time in five years, the Stanford Cardinal reigns supreme over the NIT.
Two days after setting Stanford's all-time scoring record, Chasson Randle made two go-ahead free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining in overtime, helping the Cardinal edge Miami 66-64 in the NIT championship Thursday. Randle ends his decorated college career with 2,375 points, but the last couple may have been his most important.
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The depleted Hurricanes rallied from a 13-point second half deficit, leading 64-61 with just under minute remaining and forcing overtime in the nail-biting championship contest. Miami's Sheldon McClellan had a chance to give his team the win as overtime ticked its final seconds, but the junior guard's double-pump 3-point attempt was not even close to falling.
The usage of the 30-second shot clock proved to be extremely beneficial after Randle's free throws put the Cardinal (24-13) up 64-63 with 38.9 seconds remaining. Stanford probably would have needed to foul under the normal 35-second clock, but instead they played terrific defense and Miami freshman Deandre Burnett missed a 3-pointer that could have clinched it.
Randle, who finished with 25 points to earn most outstanding player honors, would lean into Davon Reed on a jumper during the ensuing drive to draw a foul. The senior scored six of Stanford's seven points in OT, all of which came from the charity stripe.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Miami (25-13) threw the ball away and what looked to be the game as a whole. After Anthony Brown hit a free throw with 3.1 seconds to go, the Canes appeared to do the same thing once more, throwing a full-court, desperation pass to try and get off a shot that went out of bounds.
The officials would debate who touched the ball last once seeing the play on the monitor, later reversing their initial call and awarding the ball to Miami. With the ball under the basket and 1.8 seconds till the final buzzer sounded, the Hurricanes had one final chance to go home with a title in hand.
The game was tied at 55 with just over a minute left in regulation, as Randle would go on to hit two straight shots, while Sheldon McClellan made it 59 apiece with 16.8 remaining. Stanford would work the ball around on their next offensive stand, swinging it to Marcus Allen for an open 3-pointer that wouldn't fall, sending the two teams to an additional five minutes of intense basketball.
McClellan, guarded tightly by Brown from the get go, finished the game with 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting for the Canes, while Reed added 16 points in the losing effort. With underclassmen playing massive roles in Miami's NIT run, the ACC program without question gained tons of preparation for next season. Anthony Brown added 9 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in the Stanford win.
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For the last remaining Pac-12 team playing in the postseason, Randle, Nastic, and Brown all go out with a win they'll remember for the rest of their careers. Five elimination games in the 2015 NIT, five wins for the Stanford Cardinal; you're 2015 NIT champions!
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Chasson Randle's free throws in OT lift Stanford in NIT championship game