St. Louis Stanford had clear sailing, once it made it to the opening tipoff.
Stanford, the No. 8 seed in the Midwest Regional, shrugged off a pregame technical for turning in the lineup card late, getting 19 points and 12 rebounds from Curtis Borchardt in an 84-68 victory over No. 9 Western Kentucky Thursday night.
Casey Jacobsen added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists despite 4-for-12 shooting.
Stanford (21-9) will play top-seeded Kansas in the second round on Saturday. Stanford is in the tournament for the eighth straight year and has won in the opening round each time.
This time was more of a challenge because Stanford, which tied for second in the Pac-10, usually gets one of the top seeds. Sranford was a No. 1 the previous two seasons, a No. 2 in 1999 and No. 3 in 1998, but this season there's only one senior in the starting lineup.
Western Kentucky (28-4) got the early jump when Patrick Sparks, who had 20 points and nine assists, made one of two free throws on the technical. But the last lead was 3-2 as the Hilltoppers' 18-game winning streak came to an end with their first loss since Dec. 30 at South Alabama.
Stanford withstood a second-half charge from Western Kentucky, which nearly recovered after shooting 23 percent in the first half and scoring only 22 points _ only one point more than its season low. A lead that once was 16 points was whittled to one at 44-43 after Western Kentucky hit three straight 3-pointers to cap a 14-2 run with 11:49 to go.
But the Cardinal quickly recovered with a 10-1 run _ the last five points as reserve Josh Childress drove the baseline for a dunk and hit a 3-pointer in a 49-second span.
Western Kentucky, which shot 47 percent during the regular season, finished at 35 percent. The field-goal percentage was the school's worst since a 32-percent showing in the loss at South Alabama.
Borchardt outplayed Western Kentucky's Chris Marcus in a battle of 7-footers with his 15th double-double of the season, and also stuffed one of Marcus' shots in the second half. The Stanford center was 7-for-11 from the field.
Marcus drew two early fouls and was no factor in the first half, and finished with 10 points and two rebounds. He's averaging 16.4 points and 9.4 rebounds.