The NCAA’s major men’s basketball tournament is down to its Final Four but there are other tournaments that will be having its championship games in the next few days.
Update: Evansville topped Northern Arizona (71-65) on Thursday night for the CIT title. Mockevicius scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Purple Aces to their first Division I tournament crown in school history. The double-double was Mockevicius’ 20th of the season.
The NIT whittled its competitors for the championship down from four to two last night as Miami (Fla.) defeated Temple (60-57) and Stanford defeated Old Dominion (67-60) in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden. Both teams that advanced were No. 2 seeds and both defeated No. 1 seeds.
Miami, which was already missing starting point guard Angel Hernandez, got off to a slow start and lost starting center Tonye Jekiri six minutes into their semifinal victory over Temple. However, the Hurricanes’ star guard Sheldon McClelland scored 12-of-his-16 points in the second half as Miami overcame a five-point halftime deficit. McClelland, who knocked down consecutive three-pointers to put Miami up for good around eight minutes left, also added 11 rebounds.
Temple’s Quenton DeCosey missed a game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
Freshman Obi Enechionyia had a career night for the Owls. Enechionyia posted career-highs with 17 points and five blocks while also tying a career-best with eight rebounds. But star guard Will Cummings made just 3-of-15 shots and finished with 11 points.
Chasson Randle scored 24 points to lead Stanford past Old Dominion 67-60. The Cardinal jumped out to a 25-4 lead but led just 33-27 at halftime. Old Dominion took its first lead with 11 minutes left in the game. The Cardinal went up for good on a Marcus Allen dunk in transition with less than eight minutes left.
Randle, who hit some big shots in the second half, passed Todd Lichti to become Stanford’s all-time leading scorer with 2,350 career points. Stefan Nastic added 17 points for the Cardinal.
Ambrose Mosley led Old Dominion with 16 points while Richard Ross added 15.
The NIT championship will take place on Thursday at 9 p.m. (ET) at Madison Square Garden. The game will be televised on ESPN and the WatchESPN app. Miami will be without Jekiri (concusion) according to David Furones.
Update: Randle drew a controversial foul on a Miami defender and subsequently converted both free throws to give Stanford a 66-64 overtime win and the NIT championship. Randle finished with 25 points.
Loyola (Chicago) at UL Monroe, CBI Championship series
The Loyola Ramblers (23-13) will look to capture its first ever College Basketball Invitation title tonight at Monroe, Louisiana. Loyola leads the series 1-0 after taking the first game 65-58 on Monday in Chicago.
Loyola, which trailed 26-24 at halftime, scored 41 points and shot 53.3 percent from the field in the half. Earl Peterson, who led the Ramblers with 16 points, and Christian Thomas combined for 22 second half points. Thomas finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Montel James had 11 points and six rebounds, and Devon Turk scored 10 points. Turk has 203 career three-pointers and with two more triples, he will become the school’s all-time leader in that category.
UL Monroe (24-13) had four players reach double figures in game one. Jamaal Samuel led the way with 15 points while Tylor Ongwae contributed 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists despite shooting just 3-of-19 from the floor. Justin Roberson added 11 points and Majok Deng finished with 10 points to go along with six caroms. The Warhawks shot 37.9 percent from the field.
This is the eighth edition of the CBI and first appearance in the title series by both teams. Six of the previous seven championship series have gone all three games according to CBI’s official website. In five of the seven tournaments, the team that won the opening game of the series captured the title.
About the teams
Loyola has won 20 games for the first time in eight years and are in the postseason for the first time since reaching the NCAA’s Sweet 16 in 1985 according to the school’s athletic website.
The Ramblers have won four straight and seven-of-eight. Loyola has also defeated Rider (62-59), Oral Roberts (86-78) and Seattle (63-48) to reach the championship series. Loyola finished sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Milton Doyle and Thomas average 11.3 points a contest apiece and are the only two Ramblers in double figures.
UL Monroe has won five-of-seven games. The Warhawks also have defeated Eastern Michigan (71-67), Mercer (71-69) and Vermont (71-65) in the tournament. Monroe finished tied for second in the Sun Belt during the regular season.
Ongwae (13.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Deng (10 ppg, 7.2 rpg) are the only two Warhawk players that score in double figures.
Game time: April 1, 8 p.m. (ET)
TV/Live Stream: CBS Sports Network/CBSSports Live Stream
Update: Loyola defeated UL Monroe (63-62) to became just the second team in the history of the CBI to sweep their two game series. Turk, who became the Ramblers all-time leading three-point shooter, knocked down four three-pointers and finished with 14 points.Milton Doyle added 13 points for the champions, who made 54 percent from the floor.
Northern Arizona at Evansville, CIT Championship
This marks the seventh year of the College Insider Tournament.
How teams got to the championship game
Northern Arizona (23-14) advanced to its first ever CIT championship game with a 68-61 victory over NJIT last night. Quinton Upshur, who knocked a three-pointer to give NAU a 56-54 lead, led the way for the Lumberjacks with 23 points. NAU trailed by as many as 12 points early in the second half.
Aaseem Dixon contributed 19 points and eight rebounds while Kris Yanku finished with 10 points and five assists for NAU, which shot just 30.4 percent from the field. Jordy Martin set a single-game postseason school record with 17 caroms.
Yanku has now reached double figures 29 times this season while Upshur has 28 double-digit scoring games and Dixon has 25.
“I feel like I’m in a dream. I’m so proud of our guys,” said head coach Jack Murphy. “We didn’t make a lot of shots but we made the ones that counted. We played Lumberjack basketball in the second half and I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”
Evansville (23-12) advanced to its first-ever CIT championship game by defeating UT-Martin 79-66 last night. The Purple Aces also reached the tournament’s semifinals in 2013.
D.J. Balentine led the way with for Evansville with a game-high 28 points, on 10-of-16 shooting. Adam Wing contributed 16 points for the Purple Aces while Blake Simmons finished with 13 points and seven dimes.
About the teams
NAU has won four straight and seven-of-eight. The Lumberjacks have also defeated Grand Canyon (75-70), Sacramento State (78-73) and Kent State (74-73 OT) in the CIT. NAU finished third in the Big Sky Conference regular season.
The Lumberjacks are averaging 68.1 points a game (No. 160 in the country) but have topped the 70-point plateau in five -of-their-last-seven games. NAU is surrendering 66.9 points a game.
Upshur leads the way for NAU with 14.6 points a game. Yanku (13.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 5.1 apg) and Dixon (13.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg) are also averaging double digits for the Lumberjacks. Martin leads the squad with 7.7 rebounds a game while Len Springs, who had 14 rebounds and five block shots against NJIT, averages 1.9 blocks a contest.
Evansville won four straight but is just 7-7 in its last 14 games. The Purple Aces have also defeated IPFW (82-77), Eastern Illinois (83-68) and Louisiana-Lafayette (89-82) in the CIT. Evansville finished fifth in the MVC during the regular season.
The Purple Aces rank No. 125 in the nation in scoring with 69.3 points a game they shoot an excellent 47.8 percent from the field, which ranks 23rd in the country. Evansville surrenders 64.6 points a contest.
Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius are the only two Purple Aces averaging double figures. Balentine is averaging 20.2 points to go along with 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game. Mockevicius, a 6’10” center, averages 12.1 points and 9.8 rebounds a game as well as 2.1 blocks.
Game time: April 2, 7 p.m. (ET)
TV/Live Stream: CBS Sports Network/CBSSports Live Stream
Update: Evansville topped Northern Arizona (71-65) for the CIT title. Mockevicius scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Purple Aces to their first Division I tournament crown in school history. The double-double was Mockevicius’ 20th of the season. Balentine, who was named the tournament MVP, tallied 16 points.