North Carolina needs late burst to win NIT opener
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Dexter Strickland hit the go-ahead free throws with 2:34 left and North Carolina held William & Mary scoreless for the final 5 minutes in the Tar Heels’ 80-72 win in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night.
Deon Thompson scored 20 points to lead the Tar Heels (17-16), the reigning national champions who found themselves in the NIT for the first time in seven years after a disappointing season. But they weathered a flurry of 3-pointers from the Tribe to ensure they would finish at least .500.
Tyler Zeller added 13 points for the fourth-seeded Tar Heels, who advanced to the second round to face the Jackson State-Mississippi State winner.
David Schneider scored 21 points on seven 3-pointers for the fifth-seeded Tribe (22-11), who shot 16 for 43 from behind the arc and nearly eliminated North Carolina.
Mississippi State 81, Jackson State 67
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) – Jarvis Varnado scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds to lead Mississippi State.
MSU (24-11) shot 40.7 percent from the field (22 for 54) and hit just 8 of 29 from 3-point range.
Jackson State (19-13) turned the ball over 16 times in the loss.
The Bulldogs will play North Carolina in the second round of the NIT on Saturday.
MSU opened the game on a 13-6 run and led 32-23 at the half. JSU rallied to within five points early in the second half, but came no closer after a 15-5 Bulldog run.
Dee Bost added 18 points for the Bulldogs and Kodi Augustus chipped in 13.
JSU’s Garrison Johnson scored a career-high 32 points, and Tyrone Hanson chipped in 11.
Connecticut 59, Northeastern 57
STORRS, Conn. (AP) – Jerome Dyson scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half and Connecticut hung on to win.
Dyson, who scored a total of 18 points in his previous three games, had 11 points in the final 7 1/2 minutes to help bring UConn (18-15) back from a six-point deficit. His free throws with 53 seconds left provided the winning margin.
UConn’s Kemba Walker had a chance to ice the game, but missed the front end of two 1-and-1s in the final minute.
Baptiste Bataille’s 3-point attempt, which would have won the game for Northeastern at the buzzer, fell short.
Matt Janning scored 17 points for Northeastern (20-13), which finished second in the Colonial Athletic Association. Manny Adako added 14 points.
Connecticut advances to play the winner of Wednesday night’s game between Quinnipiac and top-seeded Virginia Tech.
Texas Tech 87, Seton Hall 69
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) John Roberson scored 22 points and Darko Cohadarevic recovered from a first-half low blow to score 12 points for the Red Raiders.
It was the 10th straight loss in the NIT for the Pirates (19-13), who have not won a game in the tourney since 1956.
Texas Tech took control of the game right after Seton Hall forward Herb Pope was ejected for delivering a blow to the groin of Cohadarevic, who remained on the floor for several minutes.
After Pope’s ejection with 14:17 left in the first half, the Red Raiders scored 13 straight points to take a 23-10 lead. Cohadarevic returned and scored six points in the first half.
Jeff Robinson paced the Pirates with 23 points.
Texas Tech (18-15) advances to face the winner Arizona State-Jacksonville.
NC State 58, South Florida 57
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Dennis Horner scored 25 points and Richard Howell’s go-ahead layup with 8 seconds left barely beat the shot clock for the Wolfpack.
The officials reviewed Howell’s basket to see if he got the shot off before the shot clock expired and the call stood.
USF star Dominiques Jones had a look for a last shot, but passed it to Chris Howard, who then passed it to Augustus Gilchrist, who put up an airball.
Jones led the Bulls with 24 points.
North Carolina State advances to play UAB.
UAB 65, Coastal Carolina 49
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Elijah Millsap scored 15 points and UAB never trailed Coastal Carolina.
UAB (24-8) held Coastal Carolina (28-7) scoreless for the first 5:10 of the game in building an 8-0 lead. The Blazers led 17-6 midway through the first half and maintained at least an eight-point advantage the rest of the way.
A 19-5 run gave UAB a 40-18 halftime lead. The Blazers scored only 44 points in losing to Southern Mississippi last week in the Conference USA tournament.
Chad Gray and Danny Nieman each had 12 points for the Chanticleers, who won the Big South Conference regular-season title, but lost in the championship game of the conference tournament.
Joseph Harris, the Chanticleers’ leading scorer this season with an average of 14.4 points, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with six points.