SPOKANE, Washington (Ticker) -- Just when Stanford's toughness came into question, Julius Barnes and Matt Lottich carried the Cardinal.
Barnes and Lottich combined for seven points down the stretch as the fourth-seeded Cardinal blew a 19-point lead before posting a 77-69 victory over pesky No. 13 San Diego.
Stanford (24-8) built an early 29-10 lead thanks to hot shooting by Josh Childress and early jitters by San Diego. But the Toreros roared back and rallied, grabbing a 66-63 lead on back-to-back baskets by Roy Morris with 3:42 remaining.
Barnes responded with four free throws that gave Stanford the lead for good. The Cardinal got a layup by Rob Little and Little came up with a huge defensive play when he stood up 6-11 center Jason Keep, who missed a layup. Keep got the offensive rebound, but Childress came up with a block.
"Rob Little did a good job against Keep," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "Especially late, it was a one-possession game, he really battled against him."
Keep, an all-West Coast Conference selection, managed just 12 points and nine rebounds.
Barnes penetrated and fed Lottich for a 3-pointer for a 72-66 edge with 49 seconds to go. It was one of several big shots for Lottich this season.
"All season, I've really been thriving on Julius and Josh's penetration," Lottich said. "Late in the game, people focus on them. My guy sags off me and I'm pretty much left with a wide-open look."
The Toreros (18-12) cut the deficit in half on a 3-pointer by Matt Delzell with 28 seconds left. Lottich made a pair from the line for a five-point lead to seal the victory.
The Cardinal meet Connecticut in the second round.
Childress finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds while Barnes netted 18 points for Stanford, which has won nine straight first-round games. Lottich netted 17 points and Little added 12 and six rebounds.
Childress scored seven points as Stanford jumped out to a 16-2 lead. Barnes drained consecutive 3-pointers as Stanford took a 29-10 advantage with just over nine minutes remaining before halftime.
"We got off to a good start," Montgomery said. "We were ready to play. San Diego came out a little nervous. Then they realized it was just a basketball game."
With Keep drawing plenty of attention inside, Jason Blair scored 11 points in a 16-5 surge that cut the Toreros' deficit to 31-26. Stanford's lead was 35-32 at halftime.
Little's layup with 15:46 left to play opened up a 45-36 advantage before Stanford went cold. The Cardinal struggled against the Toreros' zone defense and San Diego used a number of trips to the foul line to stay close.
"The zone threw us off a little bit," Barnes said. "We stood around and really didn't stay aggressive like we did in the first half."
Nick Lewis' two free throws capped a 9-2 run that pulled San Diego within 59-58 with 7:38 left. The Toreros took their first lead on Corey Belser's free throw that made it 62-61 with 5:34 left.
Blair led all scorers with 27 points and Morris added nine for San Diego, which is 0-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Toreros shot 33 percent (20-of-61) but made 25-of-32 foul shots.
"We had characterized them as a good shooting team, they shot 33 percent," Montgomery said. "One thing that is hard to defend is free-throw shooting. We just kept putting them on the line."
The game could have been the final one for San Diego coach Brad Holland. Holland, a UCLA graduate, is a leading candidate for the job with the Bruins.