NIT Roundup: White leads Syracuse over UNC Greensboro

SYRACUSE (AP) — Andrew White III made seven of his nine 3-point attempts and scored 34 points in leading Syracuse to a 90-77 victory over UNC Greensboro in a first-round NIT game on Wednesday night, giving coach Jim Boeheim a landmark 903rd win.

Boeheim moved a victory ahead of Bob Knight for second place all-time in Division I basketball. Boeheim’s total does not include 101 wins vacated as a result of NCAA penalties.

White set the Syracuse single-season record with 109 3-pointers, on 269 attempts. The record had been held by current Orange assistant coach Gerry McNamara (2004-05), who made 107 on 315 tries.

Tyus Battle added 20 points for Syracuse (19-14), a No. 1 seed who will host fifth-seeded Mississippi in the second round. Tyler Lydon had 13 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double this season.

Diante Baldwin led the Spartans (25-10), who were three-way co-champs in the Southern Conference, with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Francis Alonso, the team’s leading scorer at 15.2 ppg, was 1-of-9 shooting for three points.

A Frank Howard 3-pointer broke a tie and began a 12-0 run that gave Syracuse a 35-24 lead and it remained ahead, leading 47-37 at halftime. Battle scored seven points in a 16-4 run for a 22-point second-half lead. The Spartans got within seven on a Baldwin 3-pointer with two minutes left and nine free throws down the stretch kept the Orange in charge.

After getting into the NCAA Tournament last year with a 19-13 record and reaching the Final Four, Syracuse was left out despite beating three top-10 teams.

“For myself it took me a little while to get over it,” Lydon said of not getting into the NCAA Tournament. “It’s something you work for all year, to make it to a tournament, go on a run, and obviously try and win a national championship, so we put in so much time and effort and hard work into that, and it doesn’t happen to come through, it’s really hard. But, at the same time, it’s not like we’re done — we can still play together, we can still play games, and try to win another championship.”

Along with the NCAA disappointment, Boeheim drew the ire of the city of Greensboro when he remarked at the ACC Tournament that there was “no value” in the conference holding its tournament in the North Carolina city.

Then Sunday, the two teams were matched up in the NIT, much to the amusement of Greensboro, who tweeted that they appreciated the NIT selection committee’s sense of humor, though the committee chair, Reggie Minton, insisted the teams were not paired because of Boeheim’s remarks.

The city of Greensboro was gracious in defeat in a tweet : “Congratulations Syracuse on its first round #NIT win. Proud of the effort by @UNCGBasketball. The [Orange] is welcome to Greensboro anytime.”

UT Arlington 105, BYU 89

PROVO, Utah — Drew Charles made five 3-pointers and scored a career-high 28 points and UT Arlington beat BYU in a first-round NIT game.

The sixth-seeded Mavericks (26-8), regular-season champions of the Sun Belt Conference, will host seventh-seeded Akron on Monday in the second round. The Zips beat Houston 78-75 on Wednesday,

Kaelon Wilson and Kevin Hervey added 20 points each for UTA, which led 62-55 at halftime after shooting 63 percent and finished at 55 percent in reaching their second-highest point total this season.

BYU, which never led, shot 60 percent in the first half but couldn’t keep pace in the final 20 minutes when it shot 27 percent. Eric Mika led the Cougars (22-12) with 29 points and Nick Emery, who made four 3-pointers, added 24.

UTA scored 32 points off 20 BYU turnovers and outscored the Cougars 50-26 in the paint.

Leading by nine, the Mavericks went on a 17-3 run to lead by 23 with 2:43 to go.

Iowa 87, South Dakota 75

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Freshmen Jordan Bohannon scored 19 points with 11 assists, fellow newcomer Tyler Cook scored 18 with eight rebounds and Iowa opened the NIT with a victory over South Dakota.

Senior Peter Jok had 20 to lead the Hawkeyes (19-14), one of four top seeds in the 32-team event.

Iowa couldn’t quite shake South Dakota, which excelled at crashing the offensive glass and getting to the free-throw line. But the Hawkeyes finally took a double-digit lead on Ahmad Wagner’s layup with 8:31 left, and Wagner’s layup a minute later made it 68-54.

Bohannon’s 3 with just over a minute left put Iowa ahead 82-70.

Iowa, one of the last four teams left out of the NCAA Tournament, got 59 points from first-year-players — with Isaiah Moss adding 16.

Matt Mooney had 23 points for the Coyotes (22-12), who earned an NIT bid after winning the Summit League regular-season crown.

TCU 66, Fresno St. 59

FORT WORTH, Texas — Kenrich Williams had 13 points and 10 rebounds for his 15th double-double this season and TCU defeated Fresno State in a first-round NIT game.

In the second round, TCU, a No. 4 seed, will play the winner of South Dakota and Iowa.

Alex Robinson scored 14 points with five assists for the Horned Frogs (20-15), who held on to win despite missing 4 of 8 free throws in the final 1¢ minutes and 16 of 29 for the game.

Deshon Taylor scored 13 points and Jaron Hopkins 12 for the fifth-seeded Bulldogs (20-13), who missed four shots in the last 18 seconds.

Robinson scored eight points in a 15-4 run that snapped the game’s final tie and gave TCU a 62-51 lead with 3¢ minutes left, enough cushion for down the stretch.

TCU led by as many as 12 points in the first half before the Bulldogs rallied to take its only lead at 43-42 with 11:49 remaining in the game.

Akron 78, Houston 75

HOUSTON — Isaiah Johnson scored 21 points and Noah Robotham made four free throws in the final 18 seconds to send Akron to a victory over Houston in a first-round NIT game, setting a school record with its 27th victory.

The seventh-seeded Zips (27-8), regular-season champs of the Mid-American Conference, will play the winner of BYU-UT Arlington in the second round.

Jimond Ivey added 10 points and three other Zips had nine each, including Robotham, who made all six of his free throws. A Johnson free throw broke the game’s final tie with 38 seconds to go at 74-73, and then he intercepted a pass under Houston’s basket forcing the Cougars to foul Robotham. Houston’s Rob Gray Jr. made a layup in traffic before Robotham added his final free throws.

Gray finished with 24 points and Damyean Dotson, who hit the 1,000 career-points mark, scored 19 for the second-seeded Cougars (21-11), third-place finishers in the American Athletic Conference.

There were 16 lead changes and 15 ties with neither team leading by more than seven.

Central Florida 79, Colorado 74

ORLANDO, Fla. — B.J. Taylor scored 26 points, A.J. Davis added 17 and Central Florida held off Colorado’s late rally for a victory in the first round of the NIT.

Matt Williams also scored 17 points for No. 4 seed UCF (22-11), playing in its first postseason in five years. The Knights will face the Illinois State-UC Irvine winner in the second round.

Colorado used a 15-4 run in a 1:28 span to pull to 77-74 with 14 seconds left. Derrick White made a 3-pointer and converted a 3-point play during the stretch. Wesley Gordon, Lucas Siewert, and Xavier Johnson also hit 3s for the Buffaloes.

Davis split a pair of free throws to make it 77-74. White missed a 3-pointer on Colorado’s next possession, and Davis grabbed the rebound and made two free throws to seal it.

White scored 30 points, made three 3-pointers and had six assists to lead No. 5 seed Colorado (19-15). Johnson finished with 13 points.

Belmont 78, Georgia 69

ATHENS, Ga. — Dylan Windler scored 21 points and Belmont hit 14 3-pointers to beat Georgia in the first round of the NIT.

No. 7 seed Belmont (23-6) has won five of its last six games and will play at sixth-seeded Georgia Tech (19-15) in the second round.

Windler shot 7 of 11 from the floor and made three 3-pointers. Evan Bradds and Taylor Barnette had 15 points apiece, and Amanze Egekeze finished with 14. Belmont shot 45 percent (14 of 31) from long range. Egekeze and Barnette each made four 3s.

Senior guard J.J. Frazier scored 29 points on 9-of-22 shooting and made 11 of 12 free throws to lead No. 2 seed Georgia (19-15). The Bulldogs shot 4 of 17 from beyond the arc.

The Bruins opened the second half on a 26-16 run for a 63-50 lead with about 10 minutes to play. Georgia pulled to 72-64 with 3:23 remaining but didn’t get closer.

Illinois State 85, UC Irvine 71

NORMAL, Ill. — Deontae Hawkins made a career-high six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points to lead Illinois State to a victory over UC Irvine in the first round of the NIT.

Top-seeded Illinois State (28-6) bounced back from a loss to Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title game, and will play No. 4 seed Central Florida (22-11) in the second round.

Hawkins was 8 of 11 from the floor and made all six 3-point attempts. MiKyle McIntosh and Paris Lee added 13 points apiece for the Redbirds, who shot 52.5 percent (32 of 61) from the field and 13 of 25 (52 percent) from long range, and had a season-high 22 assists.

Jaron Martin scored 24 points and Luke Nelson had 17 to lead UC Irvine (21-15).

The Redbirds had a double-digit lead for most of the second half. A 12-3 run pulled UC Irvine to 61-55 but the Anteaters didn’t get closer.

By Paul Wager

Leave a Reply