ST. LOUIS – Chasson Randle scored 23 points and No. 10 seed Stanford made an impression in its first NCAA appearance since 2008, leading almost start to finish in a 58-53 victory over seventh-seeded New Mexico on Friday.
The Cardinal (22-12) built an early 16-point lead then held on after New Mexico rallied to tie it midway through the second half. They got four crucial free throws from reserve Robbie Lemons and Randle in the final half-minute after New Mexico had cut the deficit to two points. They will play the Eastern Kentucky-Kansas winner on Sunday in the third round.
Cameron Bairstow had 24 points and eight rebounds but the Lobos (27-7) got off-days from their other top threats. Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk, who together average 30 points, combined for just six.
New Mexico has been one and done the last two seasons, losing as the No. 3 seed to Harvard last year under coach Steve Alford and now as the No. 7 under Craig Neal.
Stanford got away with an off-day from Dwight Powell, who missed all eight shots, fouled out and scored three points. Powell averages 14.2 points, second on the team.
Anthony Brown added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Cardinal and Stefan Nastic had 10 points and five rebounds.
Stanford hit eight of its first 10 shots and scored 17 straight points, including six from Randle, for a 20-4 lead with 13:23 to go in the first half.
New Mexico went 6:26 between points and more than 7 minutes between baskets before gaining its footing. The Lobos kept feeding it to Bairstow and ended the half on an 8-0 run that cut the deficit to 32-27.
They tied it at 45 near the midpoint of the second half.