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Cardinal work OT to advance

Stanford survives Marquette, is in round of 16 for first time since ’01.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Stanford coach Trent Johnson missed an amazing game.

Ejected for unsportsmanlike behavior in the first half, Johnson wasn’t around to see the Cardinal defeat Marquette 82-81 in overtime Saturday night in the NCAA’s South Regional on Saturday, advancing to the round of 16 for the first time since 2001.

Brook Lopez made a baseline leaner with 1.3 seconds left to win it for the Cardinal. Lopez, one of Stanford’s twin 7-footers, finished with 30 points, one shy of a career high. The bucket came on Mitch Johnson’s career-high 16th assist.

The Cardinal advanced to Houston, where they will face Miami or Texas.

Lopez scored eight of Stanford’s 11 points in overtime as the Cardinal took advantage of a big size difference.

Lopez was an effective counter to Marquette sharpshooter Jerel McNeal, who scored a career-high 30 points, and hit three three-pointers in overtime.

But McNeal missed at the worst time for the Golden Eagles. With about 15 seconds left, he misfired a 15-footer, and the Cardinal rebounded and called timeout.

That set the stage for Lopez’s winning bucket. When Marquette’s long inbounds pass was batted away, the Cardinal mobbed each other at midcourt, capping a riveting game.

Regulation ended with drama at both ends of the floor.

Stanford trailed 69-68 with 1:44 to play when Marquette center Ousmane Barro fouled out, sending Lopez to the line.

After Lopez hit both free throws, McNeal drove for a bucket to make put the Golden Eagles up 71-70 with 1:10 to play.

With eight seconds to play, Mitch Johnson missed a layup and Robin Lopez — Brook’s twin brother — was fouled in the lane. Robin Lopez, a 67 percent free-throw shooter, missed the first shot and swished the second to tie it at 71-71.

McNeal launched an off-balance three-pointer with about five seconds left, and Marquette came up with the loose ball. But Brook Lopez blocked Lazar Hayward’s fallaway shot and the game went to overtime.

Brook Lopez overcame a 1-for-7 start. Robin Lopez scored 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

Johnson, the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, was ejected with 3:36 remaining in the first half for “unsportsmanlike behavior,” according to a statement issued by the officials at halftime.

Johnson’s ejection seemed to fire up the Cardinal, who trailed 36-30 at halftime.

They tied it at 49-49 on Anthony Goods’ three-pointer with 13:41 to play and took the lead on Brook Lopez’s free throws 30 seconds later.

That sparked a 9-0 run that gave Stanford a 55-49 lead.

Robin Lopez and Marquette’s Lawrence Blackledge drew technicals after Blackledge fouled Lopez with 11:33 to go in the game, and that inspired the Golden Eagles, who went on a 16-4 run to take a 65-59 lead with 6 minutes to play.

Stanford relied heavily the Lopez twins. Marquette countered with quickness and a balanced perimeter attack. The Golden Eagles scrapped for every loose ball and even outrebounded the taller Cardinal.

Early on, it looked as if the Golden Eagles would be no match for Stanford’s trees.

The Cardinal scored the game’s first seven points and made it look easy.

The first four points were by Robin Lopez, guarded by 6-foot-6 Hayward. Then Mitch Johnson hit a 3-pointer, and Marquette coach Tom Crean called timeout to calm his squad.

The Golden Eagles responded with an 11-4 run.

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