After three consecutive routs it won by an average of 29 points, No. 3 Stanford is headed to New York for some real competition.
Arthur Lee hit five 3-pointers and had 17 points as the Cardinal won 76-51 over Southwest Missouri State on Friday night to join St. John's, North Carolina and Purdue in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT.
Stanford (3-0) faces St. John's next Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. In the last three minutes of Friday's game, Stanford fans chanted "New York City, New York City."
"We did what we needed to do and we got a trip to New York, that was our goal," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "St. John's is going to be a major test for us. Playing at the Garden will not be neutral for us. No way. We're going to have to be that much sharper."
Mark Madsen added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Cardinal, which hit nine 3-pointers in the game.
"We are jacked to play in the Garden," Lee said. "Of course, wherever we go we want to put on a good show. But I think this is going to be a statement, an opportunity for us to show what we can do."
Danny Moore had 18 points and William Fontleroy had 14 for Southwest Missouri State.
The Bears were coming off an emotional victory over intrastate rival Missouri in the first round of the Preseason NIT, and coach Steve Alford said that might have caused a bit of a letdown.
But Alford admitted that was not the reason his team lost to Stanford, which is 52-5 at home during the past four seasons.
"Don't get me wrong -- we could have played them 10 times and not beaten them," Alford said. "This is my eighth year coaching, they're definitely the best team I've ever faced."
Stanford opened the game with a 13-2 run that began and ended with 3-pointers by Lee. Later in the first half, the Cardinal expanded its lead to 38-18 with an 11-0 run capped by the first 3-pointer of freshman Tony Gioacchini's college career.
Stanford led 39-23 AT halftime. The Bears pulled within 14 points early in the second half, but the Cardinal pulled away with a 17-4 run that included three 3-pointers by Lee.
The Cardinal opened its biggest lead at 64-33 when Jason Collins hit a layup and made a free throw with 12:02 left in the second half.
Stanford, which has one of the nation's top front lines, dominated inside. The Cardinal had 18 offensive rebounds and held an overall 43-28 rebounding edge over the Bears.
And the Cardinal finally had a good game from the free throw line. After struggling in its first two games, Stanford was 9-for-13 on foul shots Friday night. Stanford traditionally is one of the nation's top free throwing shooting teams.
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