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.
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.
ORLANDO, Fla. — It may have been the second game of the NCAA Tournament, but it also provided fans with another exciting finish.
Coming into the 2017 NCAA Tournament, the UNC Wilmington Seahawks were a trendy upset pick against the Virginia Cavaliers.
The Seahawks came into the afternoon averaging a shade over 85 points per contest, good for 10th in the nation. On the flip side, Virginia makes their mark on the defensive end of the floor.
Early on, it looked as though the Seahawks’ offense was going to break the defense of the Cavaliers. An early 16-2 run gave UNC Wilmington a 26-11 lead with 7:25 to play in the opening frame.
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett made a lineup change, going with a smaller lineup. It worked.
The Seahawks were held without a field goal the rest of the way in the first half, and the Cavaliers took a one-point lead into the break. In the second half, the teams went back and forth, but it was the play of a senior guard that pushed Virginia to the win.