The Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball team pulled a huge upset over the second-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the third round of the NCAA tournament. The victory launches the 10th-seeded Cardinal into the Sweet 16, where they will play another Cinderella team, the 11th-seeded Dayton Flyers, in a South Region semifinal on Thursday.
KU (25-10) played without surefire lottery pick Joel Embiid, a freshman 7-footer who is out with a fractured back. However, Andrew Wiggins, another highly coveted freshman NBA lottery prospect, was held to four points by a stifling Stanford zone defense. Fellow Canadian and Stanford (23-12) power forward Dwight Powell scored 15 points and secured seven rebounds despite foul trouble to win the battle in the trenches.
Kansas is a blueblood program with roots stretching back to James Naismith–the founder of basketball, and includes coaching luminaries such as Phog Allen, Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith, Larry Brown, Roy Williams, and Bill Self. Players from KU include legends Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning, and Paul Pierce.
While the KU program has a storied past, none of that mattered for the Cardinal, as they dared KU to shoot from the perimeter. KU’s Conner Frankamp connected on 4-of-7 treys–including two late ones to keep the game interesting, but missed wide on his last attempt with time running out, as it was well-contested by Stanford’s Chasson Randle.
Randle chipped in 13 points, but also dished out four assists and caused havoc on defense with six steals. Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic added 10 points apiece, while Josh Huestis grabbed eight rebounds. Nastic was particularly efficient on offense as he shot 4-of-5 from the field.
KU was led by Tariq Black’s 18 points and six rebounds, but he fouled out with 5:25 left in the game. Frankamp finished with 12 points, while Perry Ellis garnered eight caroms for the Jayhawks. But Wiggins struggled from the field, connecting on only 1-of-6 shots.
Despite their struggles, KU managed to take a 24-22 first-half lead on Frankamp’s three-pointer before the buzzer. But KU’s shooting woes carried over into the second half, allowing Stanford to build a lead as big as seven points. Frankamp then hit consecutive treys to set up a possible tie on the last possession, but he air-balled his shot wide right, and sent Stanford celebrating their trip to the Sweet 16 in Memphis.