ORLANDO, Fla. — UCF guard A.J. Davis dreamed about playing at Madison Square Garden.
Now, he can check it off his bucket list.
The Knights advanced to the National Invitation Tournament semi-finals, fighting off Illinois, 68-58. The Fighting Illini led for only one minute and 53 seconds during a game in which they shot an anemic 30.6 percent.
“Every game we are just trying to not give up threes and layups (and) make guys shoot tough twos,” UCF center Tacko Fall said. “We work on it every day.”
CHICAGO, Ill. — It’s always better to give than to receive.
On Monday night, the UIC Flames proved that to be true in their CBI quarter-final match-up with the visiting George Washington Colonials. Despite possessing a sub-.500 record after the regular season, the Flames looked good in their post-season opener against the Stony Brook Seawolves, and they were looking to build off the positive momentum.
It was a record night for the Flames as a whole, and for freshman guard Tarkus Ferguson. As a team, UIC tied the CBI single-game mark with 24 assists, and Ferguson tied the individual single-game mark, dishing out 12 dimes of his own.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are heading home early this year from the NCAA Tournament as their dreams of being national champions came to an end Saturday afternoon thanks to an outstanding all around performance by the West Virginia Mountaineers.
“They’re really good, they’re really good, they got the look, they could play for a while” said Head Coach Mike Brey concluding the game.
Notre Dame was close to being a first round tournament exit on Thursday, after a sluggish performance against Princeton, only beating the Tigers by two points.
But if the past has told us anything, it was that first round matches have always been tough for the Irish. Even when the Irish narrowly lost to the Kentucky Wildcats in the Elite Eight back in 2015, they were close to going home early on the first day.
After Thursday’s win and the then thought “tournament jitters” were gone, the Irish were expected to turn it up a notch with a more formidable opponent knocking at their door.
West Virginia proposed a tough matchup with their defensive intensity and their ability to alter offensive rhythm through their tight full court press.
Mike Brey Stated:
“Our start really hurt us, you know we were in a 10-0 hole and you’re kinda digging out against them the whole day, it was hard to get over it. Their style of play is really hard to deal with, I think you know it wore on us at times”.
SAN MARCOS, Tex. — Instate battles in the regular season are always exciting.
When they take place in the post-season, and the stakes are much, much higher, they get taken to another level.
On Thursday night down in San Marcos, Texas, the CIT provided an all-Texas battle in the first round. The Lamar Cardinals, who were making their first appearance in the post-season since 2012, went on the road to take on the Texas State Bobcats, who fell in the Sun Belt tournament finale over the weekend.
While it’s not considered an instate rivalry by any means, having bragging rights over a team in your same state is never a bad thing.
On their home court, the Bobcats came out with a strong first half, setting the tone towards the end of the frame. An 11-1 run by the Bobcats gave them a nine-point lead, which would expand to a 12-point lead at the break.
The second half saw Lamar try to cut into the lead and get back into the game, but Texas State always had an answer for what the Cardinals threw at them.
ALBANY, N.Y. — The last time the Saint Peter’s Peacocks won a post-season game was back in 1980.
Back then, Post-It Notes were just hitting the market, John Lennon was shot outside of his apartment, and millions of people tuned in to find out who killed J.R. Ewing on the hit TV show ‘Dallas’.
Many things have changed, and while Post-It Notes continue to be made and sold, the Peacocks haven’t won a post-season game since the 1980 NIT. After accepting an invite to the 2017 CIT, they were hoping to put an end to their lengthy drought.
In order to reverse their fortunes, the Peacocks would have to do so on the road against the Albany Great Danes.
Albany, who fell in the America East final to the Vermont Catamounts, were looking to give their home fans at least one more victory to cheer about. After the first half, the Great Danes held a one point lead.
The second half was a different story. Albany stretched their lead to as many as nine points early on, but the Peacocks were determined to end their drought in the post-season.
With 3:38 to play in the game, Quadir Welton got a layup to drop, giving the Peacocks a slim one-point lead, at 53-52.
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Coming into Thursday, home teams were a combined 6-1 in the 2017 CIT.
After the first two games of the night, they were now 6-3.
In the first game of the evening, the Furman Paladins paid a visit to Spartanburg, South Carolina for a date with the USC Upstate Spartans. It was the first-ever meeting on the hardwood between the two programs.
Fresh off a share of the Southern Conference regular season title, the Paladins took control of the contest out of the gate against the Spartans. Furman went on an 8-0 run to open the game, highlighted by a pair of three pointers from Devin Sibley, to take control from the opening tip.
The lead for the Paladins would reach 10 points in the opening half, but the Spartans managed to trim it down to four with just over two minutes in the half.