Stanford shocks Kansas in NCAA tournament to reach Sweet 16

Sunday March 23rd, 2014

Stanford Cardinal Josh Heustis (left) and Dwight Powell made key plays down the stretch in the Cardinal's stunning win over the Jayhawks. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

A season that began with so much hype and promise for Andrew Wiggins and Kansas ended in the round of 32 on Sunday as Stanford upset the second-seeded Jayhawks in the South Regional with a 60-57 stunner.

Wiggins, touted before the season as the best of a bumper crop of superstar freshmen, had as many points (four) as turnovers in the season-ending defeat. He shot 1-of-6 from the field and had three rebounds. As poorly as Wiggins played, it was the absence of fellow freshman star, center Joel Embiid, that might have made the bigger difference. Embiid has been out for a couple weeks with a bad back, and the Cardinal took advantage, outrebounding Kansas and making 21-of-38 two-point shots.

Conner Frankamp hit two late threes to keep Kansas alive, and he had a shot to tie in the final seconds but missed badly. Stanford players stormed the floor in celebration in front of a stunned crowd that was heavily pro-Kansas.

Stanford, making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2008, is moving on to the Sweet 16 for a matchup with No. 11 seed Dayton -- which has beaten sixht-seed Ohio State and No. 3 Syracuse -- in Memphis next weekend. The Jayhawks' season, meanwhile, ends with a loss to a team seeded at least seven spots lower than they were for the fifth time in head coach Bill Self's 11 seasons in Lawrence.

Stanford trailed by two at halftime but took control early in the second half. The Cardinal led by seven on multiple occasions, and while KU tied the score at 49 on a Perry Ellis follow-dunk with 5:11 remaining, it could never go back in front. Dwight Powell, who led the Cardinal with 15 points, hit a jumper on the other end to regain the lead for Stanford. Ninety seconds later, Josh Heustis scored on a put-back over Wiggins to increase the lead to four. Kansas had a shot to tie with just over a minute remaining, but Ellis missed a jumper. Stanford scored the next five points at the line to stretch its advantage to seven before Frankamp's late threes gave the Jayhawks one final shot.

That shot went to Frankamp, not Wiggins, whose only season of college basketball concludes the same way the season of another heavily-hyped freshman star -- Duke's Jabari Parker -- did: with a loss to a double-digit seed short of the Sweet 16.

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