CIT Tournament – First Round Recap
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Jacksonville 71, East Carolina 66 (OT)
On what was a horrible night for Conference USA, Jacksonville stunned East Carolina at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, North Carolina. Conference USA went 0-4 in all postseason tournaments on Tuesday night. Marshall also lost in the CIT, while UAB fell in the NCAA Tournament and UTEP lost in the NIT. Jacksonville, which pulled off a memorable road upset in last year’s NIT first round against Arizona State, turned the trick again in the CIT. The Dolphins advance to the round of eight and must feel that they know how to win first-round games in non-NCAA March tournaments.
East Tennessee State 76, Furman 63
There were three reasons for this mild surprise in round one of the CIT at the Memorial Center in Johnson City, Tennessee. First, the East Tennessee State Buccaneers got two first-rate performances from prime-time players: Mike Smith poured in 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting while teammate Justin Tubbs went for 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Second, ETSU nabbed 12 steals, forcing 17 turnovers from the Furman Paladins. These steals often led to fast-break buckets and enabled ETSU to roll up a big number on Tuesday. Third, Furman hit just 16 of 27 foul shots. Leaving that many points at the line is never a recommended move in a postseason contest.
Northern Iowa 84, Rider 50
The Missouri Valley Conference had a down year this year, but one of its members, Northern Iowa, appears intent on doing something about the matter. The Panthers roared past the Rider Broncs in Cedar Falls, Iowa, ending the season for the third-place team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Rider rode out of town with a lot of bumps and bruises after Northern Iowa was done with the Broncs. UNI hit 54 percent of all its field goals while also making 54 percent of its threes (13 of 24). Rider hit just 33 percent of its field goal attempts and couldn’t even reach 50-percent accuracy from the foul line (6 of 13).
Hawaii 76, Portland 64
Last year, Portland was a legitimate contender for the West Coast Conference crown, but the Pilots crashed and burned in 2011, completing a miserable season with an early exit from the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Hawaii ambushed Portland on the islands, winning easily in Honolulu at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Warriors’ double-digit conquest was fueled by foul shooting. Hawaii compiled 24 more makes (28 to 4) at the charity stripe, a clear indication that the Warriors owned more energy from tip to horn. Portland hit just 35 percent of its field goal attempts and was listless in a game it just didn’t care about.
Santa Clara 68, Northern Arizona 63
The Santa Clara Broncos topped the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at the Leavey Center in Santa Clara, California. The fourth-place team in the West Coast Conference ousted its Big Sky Conference opponent at the foul line. Santa Clara earned a plus-nine margin in free throw makes, 27 to 18, to dig out a five-point triumph. Both teams hit five three pointers and hit just under 41 percent of their field goal attempts (40.9 for SCU, 40 percent even for NAU).
Air Force 77, North Dakota 67
The Air Force Falcons defeated the North Dakota Fighting Sioux in the opening round of the College Insider Tournament at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Falcons, who lost to UNLV in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference tournament, got back to their winning ways with an impressive performance. Michael Lyons shrugged off a horrendous shooting performance the last time he stepped on the court and poured in 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Josh Schuler and Troy Huff led the Sioux with 21 and 20 points respectively. North Dakota, who play in the Great West Conference, finished the season at 18-14. Air Force’s second round opponent will be decided later.
Ohio 65, Marshall 64
The Ohio Bobcats scored a road victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd in the opening round of the College Insider Tournament at the Henderson Center on Tuesday night. The Bobcats, who got behind 10-3 early in the first stanza, rallied in the second half to score the victory. Ohio’s D.J. Cooper gave the Bobcats the lead with 1:30 left. In a comedy of errors, missed free-throws, and lackluster play neither team scored again. The Thundering Herd finished the season at 22-12. Ohio, who shocked Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season, will move on to the second round of the CIT to face an opponent to be determined later.
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