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Day 1

March 13, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

NIT Day 1 Recap

by Phil Kasiecki

The first night of NIT action included some great games, including one that came down to the final seconds.

Ball State got a career-high 40 points from Chris Williams and 26 points and 10 rebounds from Theron Smith, but needed most of their 35 made free throws to come away with a 98-92 victory over South Florida. The Cardinals allowed the Bulls to shoot 55.9& from the field, but got to the line 42 times (three Bulls fouled out) while the Bulls took just 13 free throws (making just five, which hurt them) Altron Jackson led the Bulls with 30 points, and Reggie Kohn had 18 and 10 assists.

Louisville needed a jumper by Reece Gaines with 19 seconds left to pull out a 66-65 win over Princeton. Behind Gaines’ 23 points, the Cardinals won despite shooting 43.2& from the field and allowing Princeton to shoot 51.1&. They had a 30-19 edge on the glass and made 21 of 30 free throws while the Tigers took just 10 free throws. Princeton shot the lights out from behind the three-point line, going 12-25. Mike Bechtold led the way for Princeton in a losing effort with a game-high 24 points that included making 6 of 11 three-pointers.

St. Joseph’s shut down George Mason, holding the Patriots to 36.7 percent shooting, and got 28 points and 6 assists from Jameer Nelson in a 73-64 victory that was not as close as the score would indicate. The Hawks once led by 18 points in the second half before the Patriots made a late run to make a game of it behind Jon Larranaga (22 points) and Jesse Young (19, 8 rebounds). The Hawks also had a 39-30 edge on the glass.

Montana State won the battle of mid-majors out west, beating Utah State by a score of 77-69. The Bobcats shot 53 percent from the field, including 9 of 25 on three-pointers. Pete Conway led the charge by hitting 6-of-10 three-pointers en route to a career-high 23 points. A key to victory for the Bobcats was shutting down Utah State’s star guard Tony Brown, who had 5 points on just 2-11 shooting from the field.

In the last game of the night, UNLV shot 53.3& from the field en route to knocking off Arizona State 96-91, behind 26 points from Dalron Johnson and 23 from Marcus Blanks. The Runnin’ Rebels looked to have this game well in hand at times in the second half, as they scored ten straight points early and led by as many as 14 before the Sun Devils went on a 21-9 run to pull within two. Awvee Storey had 29 points in a losing effort for the Arizona State, which out-rebounded the Runnin’ Rebels by a 43-29 margin.

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