Stanford routs Minnesota in NIT title game

NEW YORK — Aaron Bright came off the bench to spark Stanford to an NIT title.

The sophomore point guard had 15 points and six assists in Thursday's 75-51 rout of Minnesota to earn most outstanding player honors, energizing the Cardinal just as the coaches had hoped when they took him out of the starting lineup in mid-February.

The victory brought Stanford's season full circle. Back in November, the Cardinal let a late lead slip away in the final of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden against a Syracuse team that would earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Golden Gophers aren't exactly the Orange, but when Stanford took the lead this time, the Cardinal never looked back.

Stanford forced two turnovers to open the second half to take a 10-point lead and stayed up by double figures the rest of the way. The Golden Gophers turned it over 22 times.

The third-seeded Cardinal (26-11) won their second NIT title, the first coming in 1991. Another young Stanford guard, freshman Chasson Randle, also scored 15 points.

The final minutes turned into a celebration of 3-pointers and fast-break layups for the Cardinal, players on the bench jumping up to cheer on nearly every possession.

Both teams got off to a strong start, but then Stanford turned up the defensive pressure, and when the Golden Gophers (23-15) had good looks, they couldn't make them. Sixth-seeded Minnesota missed 16 of its last 19 field goals in the first half.

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