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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Rapid Reax: Stanford 75, Minnesota 51

By Kieran Darcy



NEW YORK -- A quick take on Stanford's 75-51 win over Minnesota on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

WHAT IT MEANS: Stanford wins the 75th annual National Invitation Tournament -- its second NIT championship, after also winning the title back in 1991.

The Cardinal become the 17th team to win multiple NITs. This also marks Stanford's first win over Minnesota in five meetings all time.

Stanford finishes its season 26-11, while Minnesota wraps up at 23-15.

TURNING POINT: This game was tied up at 21 with less than six minutes to go in the first half. That's when Stanford went on an 8-0 run, ignited by a four-point play by Aaron Bright. The Cardinal led 31-25 at intermission.

The real turning point was the first four minutes of the second half, when Stanford exploded on a 9-0 run to make it 40-25. Jarrett Mann, Anthony Brown and Andrew Zimmerman contributed the points during that stretch, which proved to be a knockout blow. This one got out of hand early -- the Cardinal led by as many as 30, and the last several minutes was nothing but garbage time.

KEY PLAYER: Stanford got a well-rounded team effort on Thursday night, but the guards led the way. Freshman Chasson Randle had a game-high 15 points, making three of his five attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. And Bright, a sophomore, also scored 15 off the bench, and was named the tournament's most outstanding player.

KEY STAT: Stanford shot 50 percent from the field (29-for-58), while Minnesota shot just 37.3 percent (19-for-51). Also, Minnesota had 22 turnovers.

WHAT'S NEXT: The college basketball season at the Garden has officially come to a close. We'll see you back here in November.

Enjoy the Final Four, everyone.