Stanford's Dwight Powell struggled with his shooting all night. That was about the only thing he struggled with, however.

Powell had 12 points -- on 3 of 13 shooting -- 15 rebounds and four blocked shots to help the host Cardinal beat Stephen F Austin 58-57 Tuesday night in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament.

His final blocked shot came with 41 seconds remaining and the defending NIT champion Cardinal clinging to a 1-point edge.

"They're a great defensive team," Powell said. "I missed some easy shots but we were all focused for this game. We're in this tournament to win as many games as possible."

Aaron Bright added 11 points for the Cardinal (19-14), who won for the third time in four games and travels to Alabama for a second-round game on Saturday.

"We had to dig in and make a stop at the end," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "We forced a tough shot."

Taylor Smith, the Southland Conference Player of the Year, had 18 points to lead four Lumberjacks (27-5) in double figures. Antonio Bostic, who left the game late with a shoulder injury, had 15 points. Hal Bateman added 12 points and 7 assists and Desmond Haymon had 10 points.

"We beat a good team who had a great year," Dawkins said. "They are one of the best defensive teams in the nation and we knew it would be a grind it out game."

The Lumberjacks, who have held 64 consecutive opponents to fewer than 70 points, entered allowing 51 points a game while Stanford came in with a 71.4 scoring average.

Santa Clara 77, Vermont 67: Kevin Foster scored 23 points, and Santa Clara pulled away down the stretch in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational tournament at the Leavy Center and extend the Broncos' season.

SCU (22-11) was tied at halftime and the game was close most of the way, but the Broncos used a 7-0 run over a 46 second-span during the last two minutes of play to finally pull away.

Santa Clara will play the winner of Wednesday's Western Illinois at Purdue game in a second-round matchup on Monday.

"Vermont is a really good team. They are all a year older as prep school kids and transfers and they are well-coached," Broncos coach Kerry Keating. "All of our seniors showed leadership ability," Broncos coach Kerry Keating said. "I thought the first team to score 70 points would win and we proved that."

Marc Trasolini added 20 points and 7 rebounds for the Broncos while Yannick Atanga pulled down 10 rebounds and 2 blocks.

NC A&T 73, Liberty 72: Jeremy Underwood came off the bench to score 19 points, leading North Carolina A&T past 21-loss Liberty at the First Four in Dayton, ending an NCAA winless streak of nine games that dated nearly 30 years.

The Flames -- only the second team ever to make the NCAA tournament with 20 losses -- had a chance to win it. John Caleb Sanders drove coast to coast and flipped up a left-handed layup in heavy congestion that just missed. The victory advanced the Aggies to a showdown with top-seeded Louisville (29-5) in Lexington, Ky., Thursday.

Obama's bracket: President Barack Obama is picking Florida, Indiana, Louisville, Ohio State to reach the Final Four. On the women's side, he selected Cal, Baylor, UConn and Notre Dame to advance to New Orleans. ESPN will reveal his full men's and women's brackets Wednesday morning.

Robert Morris 59, Kentucky 57: Mike McFadden hit two free throws with 8.7 seconds remaining and Robert Morris shocked defending national champion Kentucky in the opening round of the NIT.

The Wildcats decided not to call timeout after the second free throw but Kyle Wiltjer's 3-pointer before the buzzer bounced harmlessly off the rim.

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