Stanford Falls In First Round Round Of NCAA Tournament

March 18, 2005

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Winsome Frazier is back at the top of his game justin time to help Mississippi State make up for last year's NCAA tournamentdisaster.

Frazier made six 3-pointers and scored 20 points Friday night to lead theBulldogs to a 93-70 win over Stanford in the first round of the NCAAtournament.

The ninth-seeded Bulldogs (23-10) advanced to play No. 1 Duke in Sunday'ssecond round. Mississippi State will try to atone from last year's collapsewhen it had the highest seed in school history at No. 2 only to lose to Xavierin the second round.

Lawrence Roberts, the 2004 Southeastern Conference player of the year, ledthe Bulldogs with 23 points and 14 rebounds. But it was Frazier who providedthe spark they needed to get past Stanford (18-13).

Expected to be as solid as they were a year ago, the Bulldogs hit a rockystretch when Frazier went down with a broken foot on Jan. 8. They went 5-3 inhis absence, and when he returned on Feb. 15, he wasn't quite the same.

Frazier did not score more than 13 points in his last eight games, and washeld to just six in Mississippi State's loss to Florida in the quarterfinals ofthe SEC tournament.

But he bounced back at the perfect time, opening the second half withconsecutive 3-pointers to pad Mississippi State's lead. Frazier finished 7-of-9from the floor, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range.

Shane Power added 14 points for Mississippi State.

Chris Hernandez led Stanford with 17 points. Rob Little and Matt Haryasz had14 each and Fred Washington finished with 12.

The game opened as if it would be a battle of big men, with Little scoringStanford's first eight points and Mississippi State pounding the ball inside toRoberts. But when Little went to the bench with two fouls midway through theperiod, the Cardinal had to push the ball out to the perimeter.

Haryasz and Hernandez used long jumpers and backdoor cuts to the basket toopen up a 12-point lead.

But the Bulldogs began hitting from the outside - making four 3-pointers inthe final 5:08, including three straight in a 17-4 run to close the half andtake a 44-43 lead into the break.

Frazier came out firing at the start of the second half with back-to-back 3sfor Mississippi State, including an off-balance fadeaway off of one foot thatmade it 50-44.

Stanford struggled with its long-range shots, missing the first five3-pointers it attempted in the second half. It allowed the Bulldogs to open uptheir lead following a basket by Power that drew a foul. He missed the freethrow, but Marcus Campbell tipped it in.

Campbell then blocked a Stanford shot at the other end, and MississippiState pushed the ball up court for Dietric Slater's fastbreak basket that gavethe Bulldogs a 63-53 lead with 11:21 to play.

The Bulldogs pulled away from there, handing Stanford yet another NCAAtournament disappointment.

The Cardinal hasn't made it past the second round of the tournament sincethe 2000-01 season, despite some very high seeds - including last year's earlyexit as the top seed.

The Cardinal then spent much of this year regrouping following the defectionof coach Mike Montgomery and star swingman Josh Childress to the NBA. Then newcoach Trent Johnson got Stanford off to a slow start - the Cardinal openedconference play 0-3.

Stanford rebounded to finish third in the Pac-10, despite losing leadingscorer Dan Grunfeld to a knee injury on Feb. 12.

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