The Stanford Cardinal made a strong statement to start out the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament at Maples Pavillon Monday night as the Card had five players score in double figures, pulling away leading the way to an eventual 75-59 victory in the first round of the 16-team invitational.
Fresno was keeping up with the Card in the first half, but couldn't keep up with Stanford's fire power in the second, never getting closer to five in the final 20 minutes. Second year guard Aaron Bright lead all scorers after dropping a career-high 21 points on the Bulldogs, finishing 5 for 7 from the field, including a perfect 3 for 3 from downtown and 8 of 9 from the charity stripe. Forward Josh Huestis had himself a great night as well, recording his first double-double with a career-high 10 points along with 11 boards, while Josh Owens, Chasson Randle and Jack Trotter all had double-digit point totals as well for the Cardinal (2-0).
As a whole the Card shot very well, finishing 56% from the field, and improved a lot of their free throw shooting as well, almost doubling their efficiency from their last time out with a 66% mark from the line. It also was helpful to shoot a lot of them, which they did as Fresno State committed 30 fouls, leading to 38 free throws.
Kevin Olekaibe led the way for the Bulldogs (1-1) with 19, though got out of the gate slowly, shooting only 2-7 in the first half. Jonathan Wills added 11, while Kevin Foster added 8.
The Card will now face the winner of the Colorado v. SMU game in the second round of the NIT season-tip off tourney, set to take place on Tuesday night at Maples Pavilion at 8 p.m. PT.
For more on the Cardinal, head over to Rule of Tree.