Stanford Defeats W. Kentucky 84-68 To Advance To NCAA Second Round
March 14, 2002
St. Louis, MO - Stanford didn't need it's typical high seed to make iteight straight opening-round victories in the NCAA tournament.
The No. 8 seed in the Midwest Regional shrugged off a pregame technical forturning in a lineup card late, getting 19 points and 12 rebounds from CurtisBorchardt in an 84-68 victory over No. 9 Western Kentucky on Thursday night.
Casey Jacobsen added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists despite4-for-12 shooting.
'It's a really, really weird role being the underdog,' Jacobsen said. 'Onpast teams, if we didn't make it to the Final Four the season was considered afailure.
'We're looking at this like we're going to make up for some games earlierthis year.'
Stanford, which tied for second in the Pac-10, usually gets one of the topseeds. Stanford was a No. 1 the previous two seasons, a No. 2 in 1999 and No. 3in 1998, but this season there's only one senior in the starting lineup.
As a result, Stanford (20-9) will play top-seeded Kansas in the second roundSaturday.
'We will treat that with the utmost respect, as if that was our Final Fourgame,' coach Mike Montgomery said.
Western Kentucky (28-4) got the early jump when Patrick Sparks, who had 20points and nine assists, made one of two free throws on the technical.Montgomery said he might need a lineup coach.
'That was stupid,' he said. 'Somebody made a big deal of it and wanted topress the issue, so they really didn't have a choice.'
But the Hilltoppers' last lead was 3-2 as their 18-game winning streak cameto an end with their first loss since Dec. 30 at South Alabama.
Stanford withstood a second-half charge from Western Kentucky, which nearlyrecovered after shooting 23 percent in the first half and scoring only 22points - only one point more than its season low. A lead that once was 16points was whittled to one at 44-43 after Western Kentucky hit three straight3-pointers to cap a 14-2 run with 11:49 to go.
'During that stretch, we finished shots and we worked our offense withpatience and poise,' coach Dennis Felton said. 'Stanford made the adjustmentsand then took us out of what we wanted to do.'
But the Cardinal quickly recovered with a 10-1 run - the last five points asreserve Josh Childress drove the baseline for a dunk and hit a 3-pointer in a49-second span.
'We weathered the storm,' Jacobsen said.
Western Kentucky, which shot 47 percent during the regular season, finishedat 35 percent. The field-goal percentage was the school's worst since a32-percent showing in the loss at South Alabama.
'Our struggles had a lot to do with the level Stanford played at,' coachDennis Felton said. 'They just outplayed us.'
Borchardt outplayed Western Kentucky's Chris Marcus in a battle of 7-footerswith his 15th double-double of the season, and also stuffed one of Marcus'shots in the second half. The Stanford center shot 7-for-11 from the field.
'I just did my best to limit his touches and that's the most importantthing,' Borchardt said. 'I think we had an advantage at that position.'
Marcus drew two early fouls and was no factor in the first half, andfinished with 10 points and two rebounds in 18 minutes. He's averaging 16.4points and 9.4 rebounds, but isn't in top shape after coming back in Februaryafter missing two months with an ankle stress fracture of his left foot.
'It was hard to get into a rhythm because I sat so much in the firsthalf,' Marcus said. 'Once I got the second foul I realized I would be sittingfor the rest of the half and that hurt, because I knew my teammates neededme.'
By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer