STANFORD (CBS / AP) — Josh Owens didn’t change his approach to shooting. He just had better results Tuesday night.

Owens scored 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting in helping Stanford beat Cleveland State 76-65 in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

“The shots just happened to go in tonight,” said Owens, who was a combined 8 for 25 over his previous four games. “It was nice to get out of that slump.”

Aaron Bright scored all 17 of his points in the second half and Anthony Brown had 15 points and a career high 12 rebounds for the Cardinal (22-11), who will next play the winner of Wednesday night’s game between Mississippi and Illinois State.

“Josh has had a tough couple of weeks,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. “It was good to see him bounce back like that.”

The Cardinal is one of four teams from the Pac-12 in the NIT.  Oregon and regular season champion Washington also won Tuesday and Arizona plays Wednesday. Stanford finished seventh, two games behind the Wildcats.

“The team was excited to play,” Brown said. “The consensus among the team was we weren’t going to the NCAA and the NIT is the next best thing. Having a home game was very nice.”

Jeremy Montgomery scored 15 points to lead the Vikings (22-11), who lost seven of their last nine games. Tim Kamczyc added 13 points.

Cleveland State played most of the second half without leading-scorer Trey Harmon, who left the game with a sprained right knee with over 17 minutes left to play.

“It hurts to lose Trey,” Vikings’ coach Gary Waters said.  “But you can’t take anything away from Stanford. They made all the right plays.”

The Vikings held a 23-8 advantage in rebounding at one point and finished with a 44-32 advantage, but also turned the ball over 21 times.

“In the first half, we turned the ball over 10 times and that led to 11 points for them,” Waters said. “I thought we had a good chance to win going into the second half but we turned the ball over on our first five possessions, which led to three baskets for them — 29 points off turnovers for Stanford. That’s the game right there. That’s something we’ve struggled with all year.”

The Cardinal led by as many as 20 points in the second half.

Randle hit a 3-pointer in the waning moments of the first half to give Stanford a 31-30 edge heading into intermission.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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