DENVER (AP) — The Stanford Cardinal trailed at the half and found themselves clinging to a two-point edge midway through the second half.
Who did they call on to get them rolling? Chasson Randle, a junior who has already shown he’s capable of delivering at a nearly 22 points-per-game clip.
“Chasson gives us determination,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said of Randle. “He is a very determined young man. He’s really on a mission.”
Randle scored 14 of his game-high 29 points in the second half leading Stanford to a 66-57 victory over Denver on Sunday.
Randle was 10-for-14 shooting. Anthony Brown added 12 points for Stanford (3-1) which recovered from a poor shooting first half to shoot 52 percent in the second half.
“I just wanted to stay aggressive and keep their defense on their heels,” Randle said. “And my teammates found me in the right spots.”
Stanford was particularly effective during a five minute stretch in the second half when the game went from a 41-39 lead to a 13-point advantage.
Chris Udofia led Denver (0-2) with 20 points. The Pioneers hurt themselves with 18 turnovers and a 15-for-25 performance from the free throw line.
“You have to play 40 minutes, which is making foul shots and take care of the basketball” Denver coach Joe Scott said. “We didn’t make foul shots at the time when that game was there.”
“When we don’t make foul shots, that helps them,” Scott said. “We played 36 good minutes.”
The teams struggled to find consistency in the first half, but Nate Engesser’s 3-pointer in the last eight seconds gave Denver a 25-24 lead at the break. The Pioneers led by as many as six points early, but 38 percent shooting kept them from putting any distance between themselves and the Cardinal, who had seven turnovers and made only 8-of-22 shots.
Randle made a 3-pointer and two free throws to put Stanford up 21-19. The Cardinal managed a back door layup and free throw by Randle over the final 2:18 of the half.
The Cardinal regained the lead, 26-25, a minute into the second half on Dwight Powell. They never relinquished it.
Jalen Love made two free throws to cut Stanford’s lead to 41-39 at the midway point of the se3cond half. That’s when Randle began taking over.
Randle’s layup off a steal put Stanford up 51-42 and he turned consecutive steals into baskets and a free throw by Brown extended the lead to 57-44 with 4:16 remaining.
“When it’s time to make a play, you have to do it,” Randle said.
“But I was just trying to help the team wins and we did get the win which is the most important.”
The Pioneers contributed with five turnovers and some missed shots.
Cam Griffin’s two free throws with 54 seconds left got Denver as close as 60-54.
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