Chasson Randle, named Most Outstanding Player in NIT, closes his career by cutting down the net at Madison Square Garden. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
For the second time in four years, the championship of the nation's oldest postseason tournament resides at the alma mater of John Elway, Tiger Woods, and former President Herbert Hoover. After losing an 11-point halftime lead, Stanford fought back, and needed overtime to fend off Miami, winning their second National Invitation Tournament in four years, doing so by the final of 66-64. Here's a look at the pace and efficiency numbers:
Possessions: Stanford 70, Miami 68
Offensive Efficiency: Stanford 94.3, Miami 94.1
The Four Factors:
eFG%: Miami 41, Stanford 40
FT Rate: Miami 38, Stanford 29
OREB%: Stanford 36, Miami 28
TO Rate: Miami 16.2, Stanford 15.7
What Stanford did well: Attack the offensive glass. It was the Cardinal's tenacity on the boards that ultimately brought the NIT championship back to California, with 16 offensive boards as a team. Forward Reid Travis emerged an unsung hero with seven points and seven rebounds, with four of those seven caroms coming offensively. Stanford's rebounding prowess served them extremely well in overtime, where the Cardinal did not make a field goal, scoring their seven points at the foul line.
What Miami did well: Compete for a full 40, or in this case, 45 minutes. Led by the warrior-like efforts of guards Sheldon McClellan and Davon Reed, the Hurricanes looked for all the world as though they were going to pull off a third straight second-half comeback to supplement their victories over Richmond and Temple. The Miami grit reached a climax with a 64-61 lead entering the final 48 seconds of overtime, but a combination of empty possessions, turnovers, and veteran savvy on the part of Stanford's Chasson Randle tipped the scales in favor of the Cardinal at the final buzzer.
Leading Scorers and OE:
Stanford: Chasson Randle, 25 points (OE .579)
Miami: Sheldon McClellan, 17 points (OE. 368)
Randle, an impressive point guard who closes his career with a bookend NIT championship to accompany the one he captured as a freshman in 2012, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. His teammate Stefan Nastic joined him on the all-tournament team, as did McClellan and Reed of Miami, with Temple freshman Obi Enechionyia being named the final honoree.
Stanford closes the season with a final record of 24-13, while Miami exits the 2014-15 campaign with a mark of 25-13 and a runner-up finish on its ledger.
"We had nine players who had never worn a Miami uniform before, and they were trying to be one cohesive unit. Our guys showed a lot of resiliency and fight in them, and I'm very, very proud of their efforts." - Miami head coach Jim Larranaga
"We were invited to the NIT, and we looked at each other and said, 'Hey, we're in it. Let's prove everybody wrong.' Our last four years, we've won two NIT championships, and we've gone to the Sweet 16. I don't think that's horrible." - Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins
"This is a great feeling, to be able to end your season and your career with a win." - Stanford senior point guard and 2015 NIT Most Outstanding Player Chasson Randle