March 15, 2006
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Chris Hernandez had 14 points in Stanford's easy 65-49 win over Virginia in an opening round National Invitation Tournament game Tuesday night.
Dan Grunfeld added 12 points and Matt Haryasz had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Cardinal. The win advanced Stanford (16-13) to Friday's first-round game at Missouri State (20-8).
The Cardinal dominated Virginia (15-15) throughout, leading by as much as 19 en route to their most lopsided win since a 58-34 victory over Princeton on Dec. 21. Stanford forced Virginia into 15 turnovers while holding the Cavaliers to a season-low in points.
Hernandez, playing in what was likely his final home game, didn't score much, but his points and assists were timely for Stanford. The senior guard had eight points in the first half, including a pair of 3-pointers when the Cardinal took control. Then after Virginia made its best push of the night to close to 46-34 in the second half, Hernandez made another 3-pointer and dished out two assists to spark a 9-0 run that put away the Cavaliers.
The win snapped a late-season drought by Stanford, which lost six of nine before beating Virginia, and extended the Cardinal's first appearance in the NIT since 1994. That was also the last time Stanford played Virginia prior to Tuesday.
Stanford's offense, which struggled against pressuring defenses in late-season losses to UCLA and Arizona, had no problems against Virginia's soft zone. The Cardinal shot 57.1 percent from the floor in the first half and 49 percent for the game.
Nine different players scored for Stanford, eight in the first half when the Cardinal jumped to a 36-23 lead.
Conversely, Virginia shot just 32.3 percent from the floor in the first half and went through two long scoring droughts. Stanford took advantage and went on runs of 17-3 and 13-4 to take control.
The Cardinal's only problem came at the free throw line. The Pac-10 leader in free throw percentage during the regular season, Stanford made just 8-for-14 from the line in the first half.
The game was a matchup of former NIT champions. Stanford won in 1991, while Virginia captured the tournament title in 1980 and '92.