NIT Tournament Roundup

Thursday, March 15th 2007, 8:08 am
By: News On 6

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) _ Eric Devendorf scored a career-high 34 points and Demetris Nichols added 15 to help Syracuse rally for a 79-73 victory over South Alabama in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday night.

The Orange (23-10) trailed 59-50 with 11:23 to play, but scored 18 straight points to go up 68-59 with 4:59 to play. Daon Merritt broke the run with a free throw at the 4:03 mark. The Jaguars went without a field goal for more than 9 minutes until Ernest Little's dunk with 2:10 left to play.

Nichols, the Big East's leading scorer, gave Syracuse the lead for good on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 8:05 left.

Syracuse, the second seed in the South region, will play host to sixth-seeded San Diego State on Monday night.

Demetric Bennett led South Alabama (20-12) with 23 points, going 7-for-11 from 3-point range. Little finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds in the Jaguars' fifth straight loss.

San Diego St. 74, Missouri St. 70

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) _ Brandon Heath had 26 points, including a 3-pointer with 5.3 seconds remaining to break a tie and lead San Diego State over Missouri State.

Mohamed Abukar added 15 points for San Diego State (22-10) and Jerome Habel had 11 in the Aztecs' first postseason win outside of San Diego since 1957.

Deven Mitchell led Missouri State (22-11) with 16 points, and Drew Richards and Blake Ahearn had 15 apiece.

Kansas St. 59, Vermont 57

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ David Hoskins drove for the go-ahead bucket with 33 seconds left, capping a second-half comeback that carried Kansas State past Vermont.

Vermont led 51-39 with about 10:30 left after trailing by as many as eight in the first half. But the Catamounts missed eight shots and had three turnovers in the final 5:09, allowing Kansas State to go on a 9-0 run.

Cartier Martin had 19 and Hoskins 13 for Kansas State (23-11), which went 5:41 without a field goal early in the second half while the Catamounts got inside for easy buckets. The Wildcats, the second seed in the West region, advance to a second-round game Monday against third-seeded DePaul.

Martin Klimes led Vermont (25-8) with 16 points.

DePaul 83, Hofstra 71

CHICAGO (AP) _ Wilson Chandler tied a career-high with 26 points in leading DePaul to the win over Hofstra.

Chandler scored only four points in the first half, but made up for it in the second, scoring 14 of DePaul's final 29 points and finishing 9-of-13 from the field overall.

Sammy Mejia scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half for DePaul (19-13), and Wesley Green added a career-high 15 points to go with 10 rebounds.

Carlos Rivera led the Pride (22-10) with 22 points. Antoine Agudio added 17 and Loren Stokes 10.

Clemson 64, E. Tennessee St. 57

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) _ K.C. Rivers finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Trevor Booker had 11 points and 11 boards to lift Clemson over East Tennessee State.

The Tigers (22-10) have won the past seven NIT games played at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The South region's No. 1 seed will get a chance to keep that string going when they play host to fourth-seeded Mississippi in a second-round matchup Monday night.

Courtney Pigram, the Atlantic Sun Conference's player of the year, led ETSU (24-10) with 25 points.

Mississippi 73, Appalachian St. 59

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) _ Todd Abernethy scored 18 points and Mississippi held Appalachian State scoreless for nearly 6 minutes in the second half to pull away for the victory.

Clarence Sanders' steal and layup with 10:15 remaining began a 19-2 run that put the Rebels ahead to stay.

Fourth-seeded Mississippi (21-12), which won its first postseason game since reaching the round of 16 in the 2001 NCAA tournament, got 14 points and eight rebounds from Dwayne Curtis, and 13 points and 11 rebounds from Kenny Williams. Sanders scored 11.

D.J. Thompson scored 17 points and Donte Minter added 14 for Appalachian State (25-8), which was seeking the first postseason win in school history. Doug McLaughlin-Williams added 10 points.

Air Force 75, Austin Peay 51

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) _ Tim Anderson grabbed a career-high eight rebounds and all five starters for Air Force scored 13 points as the Falcons snapped a four-game losing streak to beat Austin Peay.

Air Force, the top seed in the West region, will host fourth-seeded Georgia on Monday night in the second round.

Jacob Burtschi, Anderson, Matt McCraw, Dan Nwaelele and Nick Welch each scored 13 for the Falcons (24-8), who tied a school record for wins that was set last season.

Fernandez Lockett led Austin Peay (21-12) with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Drake Reed, the Ohio Valley Conference's player of the year, finished with seven points. Reed had scored in double figures in 24 straight games before Wednesday night.

Georgia 88, Fresno State 78

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Levi Stukes contributed to a deluge of 3-pointers, finishing with a season-high 30 points in Georgia's victory over Fresno State.

The schools combined to hit 31 of 62 shots from beyond the arc.

Stukes was 8-for-9 on 3s and Takais Brown added 21 points for Georgia (19-13), which had dropped three of four, including a blowout to No. 3 Florida in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Hector Hernandez and Dominic McGuire had 21 points apiece, hitting seven 3s each for Fresno State (22-10), which set a school record with 18 3-pointers.

Bradley 90, Providence 78, OT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) _ Will Franklin scored 23 points, including six in overtime, to lift Bradley past Providence.

J.J. Tauai had 17 points and 17 rebounds for his first double-double for Bradley (22-12), which outrebounded Providence, 47-37. The Braves, the fourth seed in the North region, advanced to a second-round game at top-seeded Mississippi State on Saturday.

Efejuku Weyinmi scored a career-high 28 points for the Friars (18-13), including a deep 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime.