Dwight Powell scored 12 points and pulled down 15 rebounds as the Stanford Cardinal held on for a 58-57 win over the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin in the first round of the 76th annual NIT at Maples Pavilion.
Also scoring in double figures for fourth-seeded Stanford (19-14) was Aaron Bright with 11 points as he knocked down 3-of-6 shots behind the 3-point line for the home team.
The fifth-seeded Lumberjacks (27-5) were paced by Taylor Smith who tallied a game-high 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Antonio Bostic pitched in with 15 points and six boards. Hal Bateman accounted for 12 points and seven assists, while Desmond Haymon added 10 points.
The Lumberjacks opened the contest on a 6-1 run, but after leading by a 20-14 margin with nine minutes remaining in the first half the visitors fell behind as Stanford put together a 12-0 scoring run of its own. However, SFA was able to move out to a 32-31 edge at the break thanks to a late 3-pointer by Bateman from the top of the key in the waning moments of the period.
Of the 10 field goals made by Stanford in the first half, six were from beyond the arc.
A close game throughout the second half, Stanford pulled ahead by a 58-52 score with just under four minutes remaining. SFA refused to back down though, as it stopped the hosts on their final possession and then ran the ball down the floor trailing by one (58-57), but a shot by Haymon near the free-throw line came up short at the buzzer, ensuring that Stanford will continue on the road to defend its 2012 NIT title.
SFA shot a modest 43.1 percent from the floor on the night, but only 3-of-11 behind the 3-point line.
The Cardinal will now face Alabama in the next round after the Crimson Tide dismissed Northeastern on Tuesday night by a score of 62-43 at Coleman Coliseum.