Roadrunners run out of gas
UT-SA hangs with Stanford early, but eventually falls in 71-45 rout
Posted: Thursday March 18, 2004 7:39PM; Updated: Thursday March 18, 2004 8:06PM
SEATTLE (AP) -- Josh Childress knows this won't cut it for mighty Stanford.
Childress scored six of his 26 points during a key 12-0 burst midway through the second half and reserve Matt Haryasz added 10 points, leading the Cardinal to a 71-45 victory over Texas-San Antonio on Thursday.
"It's not so much that I was trying to take over the game," Childress said. "I just wanted to get us going, get the momentum back on our side."
Stanford (30-1), the No. 1 seed in the Phoenix Regional, won its first-round NCAA game for the 10th straight year and will play eighth-seeded Alabama (18-12) in the second round Saturday.
Afterward, however, Cardinal players described how they'll have to play better. Judging from their 20 turnovers and a slim 40-39 rebounding edge against a much smaller team, it's hard to argue.
"My performance could have been a lot better," Childress said. "There were a lot of times I played without energy. I really wasn't aggressive, and it allowed them to back me off. Overall, I need to be stronger."
Things turned out smoother than Stanford's last visit to Seattle, a 75-62 loss to the Washington Huskies almost two weeks ago -- the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season. One fan held a sign reading, "Ha-ha. 29-1. Go Dawgs."
UTSA coach Tim Carter said Wednesday that the Roadrunners (19-14), making the school's third trip to the NCAA tournament, needed "to be part of a miracle" to beat Stanford.
He sure hit the mark, especially after UTSA shot a season-low 23 percent from the field.
"We figured out we couldn't go all the way to the bucket," UTSA's Justin Harbert said. "We had to pull up."
Cardinal coach Mike Montgomery got the win, but he sounded flummoxed again by playing in the Emerald City.
"I thought we did a good job defensively," Montgomery said. "Their shooting percentage, obviously, wasn't very good but the thing that hurt us was our inability to rebound the ball. We gave up 22 offensive rebounds.
"Our energy level was bad. We're getting in little lulls, and I don't think we're going to have that luxury anymore," he added.
The teams were mismatched from tipoff, with Stanford's imposing frontcourt of Justin Davis and Rob Little using their long arms to block shots, clog the passing lanes and soar for rebounds.
Even with Davis or Little on the bench, reserve big men Joe Kirchofer and Haryasz stepped in. Since the tournament expanded to 16 seeds per region in 1985, no 16th-seeded team has beaten a No. 1, and it wasn't going to happen here.
"If we would have hit some shots, it would have been interesting," said LeRoy Hurd, who led UTSA with 18 points.
Hurd, the Southland Conference player of the year, went to the locker room briefly in the second half with a turned right ankle but returned near the 5-minute mark.
Stanford led 37-23 at the break, but the Roadrunners regrouped and made things interesting by trimming the margin to 44-38 with 12:14 to play after two baskets by John Millsap during a 9-2 run.
Players on the UTSA bench stood and hopped while the pro-Washington and pro-Gonzaga crowd roared in delight, ready to lend its support. Stanford was sloppy, with seven turnovers in the first six minutes of the second half.
"We didn't do anything right," Little said. "But then you look at the scoreboard and we won by 30. We have got to be better."
It had the potential for another Seattle disaster before Childress, the Pac-10 player of the year, took over and stabilized things. He hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 12-0 burst, putting Stanford up 56-38 with 7:39 remaining.
"A great basketball team," Carter said. "It showed up with about 12 minutes to go when we came back. We just didn't hit shots tonight."
After a timeout, Childress made two free throws, Matt Lottich hit another 3-pointer and Childress scored again to give the Cardinal a 63-39 lead at the 5-minute mark. He left to a standing ovation from Stanford fans late in the contest.
"We got to a point where we weren't being the aggressors as a team," Childress said. "I just got open. Our post guys got some good screens and I was able to get some open looks. I knocked them down."
Lottich said: "Josh ran off a lot of points in a row. You looked up and they had 38 points with 12 minutes to go and 39 with two. Josh's offense kind of led to a defensive pickup for us."