Cardinal pound Gophers for NIT title

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NEW YORK — Stanford’s young guards Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright each scored 15 points, and the Cardinal routed Minnesota 75-51 to win the NIT title Thursday night.

Stanford forced two turnovers to open the second half to take a 10-point lead and stayed up by double figures the rest of the way. The Golden Gophers turned it over 22 times on the night.

The third-seeded Cardinal (26-11) won their second NIT title, the first coming in 1991.

Rodney Williams finished with 12 points to lead the Golden Gophers (23-15).

NORTH CAROLINA: Underclassmen Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall will enter the NBA Draft, the school said Thursday.

The school didn’t state whether the three planned to hire an agent in its release announcing the departures, though it appears the three are in the draft to stay.

“It’s a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball,” coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “On a very small stage, it’s a sad day for me because I won’t get to coach them again. All Tar Heel fans will miss them greatly, as well.”

TULSA: Danny Manning’s last game as a player at Kansas ended with a national title. He hopes his last game as an assistant coach for the Jayhawks does, too.

Manning has agreed to become the head coach of Tulsa, joining Barry Hinson as the second assistant from coach Bill Self’s staff to announce their departure during the week of the Final Four. Both coaches will assume their new duties after Kansas is done in New Orleans.

The Jayhawks play Ohio State in the national semifinals Saturday night.

ILLINOIS: Introduced John Groce as its new head coach Thursday, bringing him in to replace the fired Bruce Weber.

The 40-year-old Groce has been at Ohio, a Mid-American Conference school, since 2008. He led the Bobcats to the NCAA Tournament twice, including a run to the Sweet 16 this year that ended with an overtime loss to North Carolina. The Bobcats hadn’t been that far in the tournament since 1964.

WINTHROP: Pat Kelsey stepped away from coaching to handle the death of his former Xavier and Wake Forest mentor Skip Prosser. Kelsey now hopes to instill the values Prosser held so dear in the next generation of players as Winthrop’s new coach.

Kelsey, 36, was hired to take over the Eagles on Thursday. He replaces Randy Peele, who was let go.

Kelsey was the former Xavier point guard and Wake Forest assistant under Prosser and Dino Guadio who left the profession after 2011 because he had trouble coping with Prosser’s sudden death from a heart attack in the summer of 2007.

Kelsey left the Demon Deacons to join Chris Mack’s staff at Xavier in 2009, yet after only two seasons needed to leave.

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