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Stanford knocks off No. 2 Kansas in NCAA Tournament

Chasson Randle #5 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates

Chasson Randle #5 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 60-57 during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 23, 2014 in St Louis. Credit: Getty Images / Dilip Vishwanat

ST. LOUIS - Kansas star Andrew Wiggins might yet wind up as the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NBA later this spring, but Sunday afternoon at Scottrade Center, he was a lost freshman who looked as if he needed a friend to show him around campus. Unable to navigate his way through Stanford's 2-3 zone, Wiggins faded into the background, scoring only four points and shooting 1-for-6.

Nor could the Jayhawks turn to 7-foot freshman center Joel Embiid, who was on the bench nursing a back injury that was about a week away from being ready. So a veteran Stanford team ignored its 10th-seed projections and put itself in the Sweet 16 with a 60-57 upset of second-seeded Kansas.

The Cardinal (23-12) heads to the South Regional in Memphis, Tenn., where it will meet another upset specialist in 11th-seeded Dayton, with the winner likely advancing for a chance at the biggest upset of all against No. 1 and top-seeded Florida.

"To beat a team like [Kansas], a storied program with great coaching and great players, always feels amazing,'' said Dwight Powell, who led Stanford with 15 points and seven rebounds.

The feeling was stunned silence for the Jayhawks (25-10). Asked why he took only six shots, Wiggins said, "I don't know. I'm not sure. I let a lot of people down today. I didn't play how I should have played. If I had played better, we wouldn't be in this situation. I blame myself.''

The Cardinal took control early in the second half with a 17-5 run for a 40-33 lead. Chasson Randle had six of his 13 points, and Stefan Nastic added seven of his 10 in that span.

Kansas tied the score at 49 with 5:12 to play, but Stanford gained separation with a 9-2 spurt and held on at the end as Anthony Brown (10 points) hit five foul shots in the final minute. Conner Frankamp (12 points) hit two late threes but missed with a chance to tie at the buzzer.

Senior Tarik Black led the Jayhawks with 18 points and six rebounds and made six of his eight shots. Most everybody else was missing, as Kansas shot only 32.8 percent overall while allowing the Cardinal to make 59.1 percent of its second-half shots.

The 6-8 Wiggins, who averaged 28 points in his previous four games, including a 41-point effort in a loss at West Virginia, made one field goal in the first half and two free throws in the second. Kansas coach Bill Self said Wiggins was bothered by Stanford's length, particularly 6-7 wing Josh Huestis, who was the primary defender watching Wiggins in the zone.

"This was an opportunity for Josh to show what he's capable of,'' Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "He did that by guarding one of the best players in college basketball. Of course, he had help. Guys were moving, guys were talking to Josh, guys were aware of where he was and bringing him help if he was beat off the dribble.''

Wiggins felt the pressure.

"I think everyone played good but me,'' he said. "I played bad. Wherever I went, I saw like three Stanford people. I couldn't really get anywhere.

"I just couldn't get in the rhythm. I should have stepped up. We fought to the end. If I played differently . . . I'm one of the keys to this team, and I didn't really key in today. So I let my team down.''

New York Sports