NIT: Va. Tech opens tourney with win
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Jeff Allen scored 19 points to help Virginia Tech overcome the sting of not making the NCAA tournament with a 79-54 win over Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday night in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Virginia Tech (22-11), making its 12th appearance in the NIT and fifth in eight seasons under head coach Seth Greenberg, will meet Wichita State in the second round on Sunday after the Shockers beat Nebraska 76-49.
“This isn’t about not getting in,” Greenberg said, referring to the Hokies’ exclusion from the NCAAs. “If we’re motivated by not getting in, then we’re motivated by the wrong thing. We’re motivated because we want to win games.”
Tech connected on 10 of its first 11 shots and took a 23-9 lead after Allen’s basket with 13:01 left in the half. The Hokies led by as many as 23 in the first half and shot 61.3 percent (19 of 31).
Bethune-Cookman (21-13), the regular-season champion in the MEAC, was making its first appearance in postseason play since 1980 as a Division II program.
Wichita State 76, Nebraska 49
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – David Kyles scored 13 points and hit four of Wichita State’s 11 3-pointers.
J.T. Durley had 12 points and Graham Hatch added 11 for Wichita State (25-8), which will play at the Bethune Cookman-Virginia Tech winner in the second round.
“That’s about as well as we’ve played in quite a while,” Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said.
Jorge Brian Diaz and Lance Jeter each scored 12 for the Cornhuskers (19-13), who ended their season with three straight losses.
Wichita State went 11 of 26 from 3-point range, while Nebraska was just 2 for 18.
California 77, Mississippi 74
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) – Jorge Gutierrez scored 25 points and made two free throws with 14.8 seconds left.
Allen Crabbe had 20 points and Harper Kamp added 11, including a key basket down the stretch, one day after receiving IV treatments due to the flu.
California (18-14), which played without starting center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, advances to play at top-seeded Colorado on Friday. The Buffaloes beat Texas Southern 88-74 earlier.
Chris Warren scored 23 points for Ole Miss (20-14) and became just the fourth player in Southeastern Conference history to have 2,000 points and 400 assists in his career. Zach Graham added 17 points.
Colorado 88, Texas Southern 74
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Alec Burks had 27 points and seven rebounds, and Cory Higgins scored 25 points for top-seeded Colorado.
Freshman Andre Roberson had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Buffaloes (22-13), who will face the winner of the Cal-Mississippi game in Boulder on Friday night
Harrison Smith had 24 points and Lawrence Johnson-Danner had 19 for Texas Southern. The Tigers (19-13) finished the season with two straight losses after winning 12 of 13 heading into the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament last weekend.
Colorado used a decisive run late in the first half to take control. After Smith’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 26-23 with 5:39 left before the break, the Buffaloes surged behind Burks and Roberson. Burks scored six of his 12 first-half points in the final 4:43, Roberson had two dunks as Colorado went on a 14-2 run.
Northwestern 70, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 61
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) – John Shurna scored 25 points and the Wildcats (19-13) took command with an 18-0 first half run and opened a 38-26 lead by halftime.
The Wildcats cruised through much of the second half before the Panthers hit three straight 3-pointers to make it 62-56 with 5:06 to play. Northwestern replied with two of its own to make it 68-56.
Michael Thompson scored 20 points and Alex Marcotullio had 13 for Northwestern.
Meier led the Panthers (19-14) with 19 points. Anthony Hill and Kaylon Williams each had 11.
Miami 85, Florida Atlantic 62
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Malcolm Grant scored 23 points and the Hurricanes outscored the Owls 15-1 during a 5:22 span in the second half to secure their 20th win of the season.
Durand Scott’s two free throws with 4:23 remaining capped the run and gave the Hurricanes (20-13) a 66-51 lead.
Adrian Thomas and Scott hit consecutive 3-pointers early in the second half to give Miami a 45-30 lead before the Owls scored six unanswered points to stay within single digits. Greg Gantt’s basket with 12:23 remaining cut Miami’s lead to 51-45.
Scott scored 19 points while Reggie Johnson finished with 14 points and 20 rebounds for the Hurricanes, who will host Missouri State in the second round.
Gantt led the Owls (21-11) with 17 points.