CIT - First Round Overview, Wednesday Session
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Western Michigan 74, Tennessee Tech 66
Southern Methodist 64, Oral Roberts 57 (OT)
The Southern Methodist Mustangs defeated the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in a thrilling overtime tilt in the opening round of the College Insider Tournament from Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas. It was a back-and-forth affair for much of the evening as both squads fought for their postseason lives. Papa Dia was a beast on the interior for SMU, scoring 17 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. The Mustangs had but two players score in double figures, but were able to get to the free-throw line 22 times, converting on 18 of those. Dominique Morrison had 21 points and 8 rebounds for the Golden Eagles, who fell just short in the extra period and finished the season at 19-16. SMU will host Jacksonville in the second round on Saturday.
Iona 85, Valparaiso 77
The Iona Gaels played a near-flawless game in defeating the Valparaiso Crusaders on the road. Iona marched into the Athletics-Recreation center in Valparaiso, Indiana, and registered a mild upset in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Iona coach Tim Cluess had his team clued in, especially at the offensive end of the floor. The Gaels, the second-place finisher in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in both the regular season and the league tournament, hit 58 percent of their shots in the eight-point win. Iona was eclipsed on the offensive boards by Valpo, 13-5, but when a team makes 58 percent of its shots, it’s not going to have a need for many offensive boards. Four Iona starters scored in double figures, led by Michael Glover, who popped in 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting. You’re not going to lose very often when your best player hits 80 percent of his field-goal attempts. Iona earned a second-round bye with this win; the Gaels await a yet-to-be-determined opponent in the CIT quarterfinals next week.
San Francisco 81, Idaho 73
The San Francisco Dons fought past the Idaho Vandals in the CIT’s last opening-round clash late Wednesday night in the City By The Bay. San Francisco, playing its first game since a crushing West Coast Conference Tournament loss to Gonzaga in which an errantly-called bench timeout led to a game-deciding technical foul in the final seconds of regulation, managed to blot out that nasty memory and advance to the second round of this tournament. The Dons will go to Hawaii for a second-round soiree on Saturday night.
The Dons prevailed over Idaho and its coach, Don Verlin, by getting to the foul line and taking advantage of the shot that’s called “free” for a reason. San Francisco nailed 25 of 28 free throws to compile a plus-12 scoring margin at the charity stripe. San Francisco’s 25 makes almost doubled up Idaho’s 13 makes in 20 attempts. In an eight-point game, it’s fair to say that a 12-point spread carried more than a little relevance.
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