The first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Basketball Tournament featured mostly close games with five out of the seven games being decided by 10 points or less, including a game that broke an NCAA Division I history record. Here are the recaps of each First Round game:
Fairfield 101, George Mason 96 (OT)
Mike Evanovich scored a career-high 32 points and made the game-tying three-point shot with one second left in regulation, in helping the Fairfield University Stags erase a huge deficit en route to a 101-96 overtime win. Evanovich set a school record with nine three-point baskets to help Fairfield (23-10) erase a 27-point second-half deficit en route to a 101-96 overtime win over George Mason (17-15) in the first round of the CIT.
According to the NCAA record book, the 27-point comeback was the greatest during the month of March in Division I history and the Stags comeback is tied for fourth for second-half comebacks for all Division I games.
George Mason, which was once leading 63-36 with 16:08 remaining in the second half, was without its leading scorer Cam Long but had big nights from forward Mike Morrison and guard Andre Cornelius as Morrison scored 25 points, had nine rebounds, and six blocked shots. Cornelius scored 28 points and had nine rebounds. For Fairfield, Anthony Johnson had 25 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks and Derek Needham had 21 points and 7 assists.
Fairfield advances to play at Creighton on Monday March 22 at 8pm ET on FCS Broadband.
Marshall 90, Western Carolina 88
Damier Pitts sank a pair of free throws with 0.5 seconds remaining, lifting Marshall (24-9) past Western Carolina (22-12) 90-88 in the first round of the CIT on Tuesday night. The Western Carolina Catamounts battled back from a 10-point deficit with 2:21 remaining to tie the score 88-88 on a Brandon Giles three-point basket with six seconds to go. The Herd advanced the ball to midcourt where Harounda Mutombo forced Tyler Wilkerson turnover. The ensuing struggle over the ball resulted in Mutombo being credited with the steal, but he called a timeout as time expired.
However, Western Carolina spent their allotment of five timeouts earlier in the contest. After a conference in which the referees consulted the replay monitor, the referees put 0.5 seconds on the clock, but issued a technical foul. Pitts, who connected on 13-of-15 free throws earlier in the game, made both, giving Marshall the lead. Western Carolina got the ball to Giles who attempted a long three-pointer which fell short, pushing the Herd to the victory.
Marshall advances to the Quarterfinals when they host Appalachian State on Monday March 22 at 7pm ET on FCS Broadband.
Creighton 89, South Dakota 78
Creighton drained 12 three pointers, including four each from Ethan Wragge and Cavel Witter, as the Bluejays topped South Dakota 89-78 Tuesday night in opening-round action of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.
Creighton improved to 17-15 with the win, while South Dakota had its 13-game win streak snapped to end its season at 22-10.
The Bluejays move on in the CIT, hosting a quarterfinal game next Monday at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, against the Fairfield Stags at 8pm ET on FCS Broadband.
Appalachian State 93, Harvard 71
Appalachian State University men's basketball recovered from a sluggish start to shoot a blistering 57 percent from the floor and top Harvard, 93-71, in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Wednesday at the Holmes Center.
Guard Donald Sims led the Appalachian State Mountaineers, scoring 22 points and shooting 6-11 from beyond the arc. Christian Webster led Harvard with 24 points, shooting 6-6 from beyond the arc and Jeremy Lin scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and five assists but Harvard couldn't overcome the Mountaineers scoring attack as five different players scored in double figures for Appalachian State.
The Mountaineers look for their second NCAA Division I postseason win on Monday, as they travel to face the Marshall Thundering Herd at 7pm ET on FCS Broadband.
Missouri State 87, Middle Tennessee State 79
Missouri State got 24 points from sophomore Kyle Weems and shot a season-high 60.4-percent from the field to turn back visiting Middle Tennessee, 87-79, in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament here Wednesday.
Missouri State's victory was well earned as it held off a pesky Blue Raiders team down the stretch. MTSU finished with an impressive shooting performance of its own, firing at a 53.6-percent clip for the game, while senior Desmond Yates notched a game-high 30 points, including 10 in the final four-and-a-half minutes.
The Bears (21-12), whose team shooting effort was also a JQH Arena record, will learn their next opponent at the conclusion of the tournament's opening round Thursday night. Winner of Thursday's Southern Mississippi vs. Louisiana Tech game will determine the site of this game. If Southern Miss wins Missouri State will be on the road. If Louisiana Tech wins Missouri State will be at home.
Northern Colorado 81, Portland 73
Senior Will Figures led five the Bears in double figures with 20 points Wednesday night, and Northern Colorado shot a sizzling 72 percent in the second half and scored its second-most second half points of the season in defeating Portland 81-73 in the Opening Round of this year's CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
Tad Boyle's fourth installment of Northern Colorado basketball can now lay claim to the title of "Best team in school history," as the Bears win gave them 25 wins this season, the very most ever won by a Northern Colorado men's basketball team in 106 years of play.
The Bears will potentially get a chance to further solidify their place in school history at home Monday night when the Pacific University Tigers visit them. The game can be seen live on FCS Broadband.
Pacific 86, Loyola Marymount 76
LMU men's basketball, playing in their first postseason in 20 years and first at home in program history, saw their record season come to a close on Wednesday night, as Pacific's Sam Willard had career-highs of 23 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Tigers to an 86-76 victory in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at Gersten Pavilion.
The Tigers (21-11) built up a 20-point first half lead before holding on as the Lions made a run to get back to within three in the second. Pacific, the Big West Conference regular season co-champions making their second successive CIT appearance, shot nearly 70 percent in the first half and connected on a season-high 60 percent for the game, the highest percentage shot against LMU this year.
For the Lions, a historic season comes to a close, having turned around a program that won five games in 2007-08 and three last year. With a roster that features no seniors, LMU (18-16) had the second largest win-turnaround in school history and had the second-best in the country behind Coastal Carolina.
Pacific travels to face Northern Colorado on Monday March 22 in the Quarterfinals of the CIT. The game can be seen live on FCS Broadband.
Southern Mississippi (20-13) @ Louisiana Tech (23-10) 8:00pm ET
To conclude the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Basketball Tournament (CIT), the Southern Miss Golden Eagles visit the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Thursday night at 8pm ET on FCS Broadband.
Southern Miss has been able to establish a consistent interior presence all season long. Larry Eustachy's squad leads C-USA in offensive rebounds per game (12.8) as well as rebounding margin (+7.0). Amazingly, 75% of the team's scoring and 77.5 percent of the rebounding are coming from players who are wearing Southern Miss uniforms for the first time. A case in point is junior college transfer Gary Flowers, who leads the team in scoring at 15.0 ppg, rebounding at 8.3 rpg, and blocked shots (1.8 per game). Also USC-transfer Angelo Johnson is second in scoring at 10.0 ppg and leads the team in assists (2.6 apg) and steals (1.0 per game).
Louisiana Tech is a team built on a core group of five starters (Kyle Gibson, Magnum Rolle, Jamel Guyton, DeAndre Brown and Olu Ashaolu) who have accounted for 87% of the team's scoring on the season, and all average double digits in scoring. The Bulldogs are led by Kyle Gibson, averaging a team-best 18.4 ppg, who is Tech's eighth all-time leading scorer, and Bahamas-born Magnum Rolle, 2nd on the team in scoring (14.0 ppg), and leads the team in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and leads the WAC in blocked shots average 2.1 per game.
Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech will meet for the 69th time, with the Golden Eagles holding a 39-29 advantage. In games played in Ruston, the Bulldogs lead 23-9, including having won the last 10 meetings. Southern Miss has won the last two games and seven of the last ten. Louisiana Tech is 11-2 at home while Southern Miss is 6-7 on the road this season but has won four of its last five games.
Don't forget to catch Thursday nights Southern Miss/Louisiana Tech game at 8pm ET on FCS Broadband. Also on FCS Broadband you can watch the Quarterfinals on Monday March 22 and the Semifinals on Wednesday March 24 with the Championship Game airing live on Tuesday March 30 on FCS Pacific.
Missed any of the action in the CIT, well you have no reason to sweat as fans can also buy any previously telecasted games by clicking here.