Stanford's Chasson Randle made two free throws with 3.4 seconds to play in overtime, and the Stanford Cardinal won their second NIT championship in four years. The Cardinal topped the Miami Hurricanes, 66-64, Thursday night in Madison Square Garden.
Randle shot an 18-footer with 3.4 seconds to play and leaned into his defender, drawing an iffy foul. Randle, an 87.8 free-throw shooter, hit both foul shots.
Randle had given the Cardinal a 59-57 lead with 34 seconds to go in regulation on a tough drive to the hoop and a finish through contact. Miami then responded with Sheldon McClellan's made free throws with 16.8 to go, tying the game at 59 and setting up one more Stanford possession. Miami locked down on defense, and Stanford's three as time expired clanked off the front of the rim.
McClelland helped Miami take a 61-60 lead with two minutes left in overtime, the Hurricanes' first lead since the first half, but the Cardinal took advantage of repeated trips to the free-throw line to edge ahead for the win.
The Cardinal led by as many as 13 in the second half before Miami closed the gap to as few as two points on a pair of Davon Reed free throws with 4:47 to play. The Hurricanes' defense clamped down, and they drew to a 53-all tie at the 3:27 mark.
Michael Irvin, who went to Miami, was sitting courtside and was going CRAZY.
Miami kept the game close from the opening tip and even led, 18-17, with under seven minutes to go until halftime, but it was the Hurricanes' last lead for a while. Stanford closed the first half on a 15-3 run, taking a 32-21 lead into the locker room.
Randle led all scorers with 25 points in his collegiate finale.
The NIT was significant this year because the NCAA used it to experiment with a 30-second shot clock that could help speed up college basketball if it were to be implemented across the sport. Of course, tonight's final didn't exactly indicate a shootout, but Miami ranked No. 265 in tempo this season, according to KenPom.com; no game with the Hurricanes will get going too fast. But according to the New York Times, coaches and players have responded positively to the shorter shot clock. The circle under the basket has also been experimentally drawn out an extra foot to discourage collisions under the basket.
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