Stanford is first No. 1 seed to fall, with 70-67 stunner

Alabama hits Sweet 16 as Cardinal ends at 30-2

Ncaa Tournament

March 21, 2004|By Robyn Norwood | Robyn Norwood,LOS ANGELES TIMES

SEATTLE - Everybody on the Stanford bench, surely half the fans at KeyArena and one very nervous coach on the Alabama sideline had to be thinking the same thing yesterday.

"I'm sitting over there with about 15 seconds to go in the game, thinking, `Are you kidding me? It's going to happen to us,' " Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said.

But Stanford ran out of miracles when Dan Grunfeld's three-point shot at the buzzer to try to send the game to overtime bounded off the rim, and Alabama celebrated a 70-67 second-round upset of the top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Cardinal.

Stanford was the first of the NCAA tournament's four No. 1-seeded teams to fall.

"I think they definitely feared - and we definitely had a sense on the bench - that maybe this would be one of those magical moments again where we could pull it out," Stanford center Rob Little said.

Not this time.

Down by eight points with 29 seconds to go, Stanford cut the lead to three with the help of two three-pointers by Matt Lottich, the last one with nine seconds left.

When Alabama's Earnest Shelton missed two free throws with six seconds left, the Cardinal had one last chance and no timeouts - but visions of last-second victories over Arizona and Washington State were on almost everyone's minds.

"Yeah, it felt like it could happen again, but obviously it didn't," Stanford point guard Chris Hernandez said.

Nick Robinson, the hero of the Arizona game, rebounded Shelton's miss, pushed the ball upcourt and got it to Grunfeld, perhaps 20 feet from the basket.

"I didn't even think about it, I just rose up and shot it," Grunfeld said, still red-eyed after the game. "It didn't go in. When it left my hands, I thought maybe it had a chance, but it didn't go in. I don't know what happened. I ended up on the ground, and I did see it graze off the rim."

Stanford coach Mike Montgomery's voice seemed to crack with emotion when he talked about the final game of a team that won its first 26 before losing to Washington in the final game of the regular season. Stanford finished 30-2, with the school's fifth second-round loss in six years.

"It's hard to figure out what to say," Montgomery said. "It is really difficult. These kids have accomplished so much this year and it is so hard to end it in this particular situation."

For eighth-seeded Alabama, it will not end until at least next week, when the Crimson Tide will face Syracuse in a regional semifinal Thursday in Phoenix.

The Crimson Tide (19-12) trailed by two at halftime, then opened the second half in a 1-for-17 tailspin.

Stanford went up by 13 points, 53-40, with 9:13 to play.

Then Alabama stormed back, with three-pointers by Kennedy Winston, Shelton and Antoine Pettway keying a 16-0 run.

Winston led Alabama with 21 points and seven rebounds.

"We went on a cold streak in the second half and weren't making all the shots we should make," Pettway said. "On a timeout, Coach was telling us that we have been here before and we can come back and win the game."

Stanford lost despite making 10 more field goals than Alabama and out-rebounding the Crimson Tide by 20.

But Alabama outscored Stanford by 26 at the line, and made 10 of 14 free throws in the final 1:03.

Stanford also played the last 3:16 without its best player, junior Josh Childress, who fouled out after being called for his fourth and fifth fouls within 16 seconds.

Childress finished with 12 points. Justin Davis led Stanford with 15, and Hernandez and Lottich had 11 each.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

ALABAMA - Winston 5-12 10-15 21, Davidson 2-4 0-0 4, C.Davis 4-6 4-4 12, Shelton 1-9 11-14 14, Pettway 3-7 4-4 12, Thomas 0-4 1-3 1, Brock 1-1 4-4 6, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-43 34-44 70. STANFORD - Childress 5-17 1-1 12, J.Davis 7-13 1-2 15, Little 3-8 1-2 7, Hernandez 4-10 0-0 11, Lottich 4-15 0-0 11, Kirchofer 0-2 0-0 0, Grunfeld 0-2 0-0 0, Robinson 0-3 2-2 2, Haas 0-0 0-0 0, Washington 0-0 0-0 0, Haryasz 3-3 3-4 9. Totals 26-73 8-11 67. Half: Stanford, 39-37. 3-point goals-Alabama 4-19 (Pettway 2-6, Winston 1-4, Shelton 1-5, Thomas 0-4), Stanford 7-24 (Hernandez 3-6, Lottich 3-11, Childress 1-5, Grunfeld 0-1, Robinson 0-1). Fouled out-Childress, J.Davis, Haryasz. Rebounds-Alabama 29 (Pettway, Winston 7), Stanford 49 (J.Davis 11). Assists-Alabama 8 (Pettway 3), Stanford 12 (Lottich 3). Total fouls-Alabama 16, Stanford 31. A-15,827.


East Rutherford Regional

Wake Forest 84 Manhattan 80

Saint Joseph's 70 Texas Tech 65

Atlanta Regional

Duke 90 Seton Hall 62

Texas 78 North Carolina 75

St. Louis Regional

Nevada 91 Gonzaga 72

Phoenix Regional

Syracuse 72 Maryland 70

Alabama 70 Stanford 67

Connecticut 72 DePaul 55


East Rutherford Regional

Okla. State Memphis 2:20 p.m.

Pittsburgh Wisconsin 4:45 p.m.*

Atlanta Regional

Miss. State Xavier 12:10 p.m. chs. 13, 9

Cincinnati Illinois 2:30 p.m.

St. Louis Regional

Georgia Tech Boston College 2:15 p.m. chs. 13, 9

Kansas Pacific 4:50 p.m.*

Kentucky Alabama-Birm. 5 p.m.* chs. 13, 9

Phoenix Regional

N.C. State Vanderbilt 2:40 p.m.*

*-Approximate time

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