Kicking off another opportunity for a great week of college basketball, Monday evening’s slate set the tone. We were provided with games coming down the wire, some amazing individual performances, and a few lopsided wins.
Saint Mary’s holds off Washington
The 85-81 victory over Washington gave the Gaels 30 wins on the season — a program record. Saint Mary’s executed a balanced offense with five players in double-figures, headlined by 26 from Jordan Ford. Ford scored the last six points for Saint Mary’s, including a triple with 49 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. Jaylen Nowell responded immediately, knocking down a three of his own, but Ford closed out the game at the foul line for the Gaels.
The Gaels had a difficult time slowing down Noah Dickerson. His 22-point, nine-rebound effort got Washington within striking distance. His efforts weren’t enough as Saint Mary’s made timely stops and shot the lights out (56 percent for the game). Calvin Hermanson and Jock Landale added 14 apiece, Tanner Krebs scored 10, and a huge boost came from Evan Fitzner, with 20 points off the bench. Saint Mary’s moves into Wednesday’s NIT quarterfinals to face Utah at 10 p.m. ET.
Western Kentucky rallies late past USC
A ultra-competitive nightcap occurred between Western Kentucky and USC. The back-and-forth affair ended with the Hilltoppers coming out on top, 79-75. Paced by 23 points and six rebounds from Justin Johnson, Western Kentucky kept its season alive by executing down the stretch.
Questionable shot selection from the Trojans helped to seal the deal. Western Kentucky was able to get a thunderous dunk late from Dwight Coleby (13 points), making it a four-point game. Western Kentucky will play Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Campbell beats New Orleans on a late second Pull Up Jumper
The Fighting Camels trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half behind a dominant performance from Ezekiel Charles (19 points). However, Campbell’s offense began to find its stride and Chris Clemons went off.
Clemons went 10-18, including 6-11 from three and 9-11 from the foul line. He finished with 35 points, five assists, and three steals. Of his 35, 23 came in the second half, none bigger than the step-back 35-footer that gave the Camels a 69-66 lead with 19.8 to play.
Not to be outdone, Charles answered Clemons, tying the game with 7.3 to go at 69 all. New Orleans doubled Clemons on the inbounds, leaving Cory Gensler as the recipient of the inbounds pass. Gensler pushed up the left wing, crossed to get just above the elbow, stopped, popped, and did this:
71-69 was your final. Campbell advances to face San Francisco, which handled Utah Valley, 79-73. Campbell will travel out west for the Thursday matchup.
Jordan Duffy poured on 31 points as North Texas routed Mercer, 96-67. The Mean Green connected on 12 three-pointers and shot 55 percent from the field to advance to the semis.
Jacksonville State rolled against Central Arkansas, 80-59, using its defense as the catalyst. The Gamecocks forced 15 turnovers, 11 steals, and held Central Arkansas to just 22 percent three-point shooting. Jacksonville State will play North Texas Wednesday at 8 p.m.
The lone CIT game saw Sam Houston State hang on to beat Eastern Michigan, 69-62. Eastern Michigan got 23 points from Kevin McAdoo, as free throws and playing catch-up from a 13 point deficit doomed the Eagles.
The Bearkats were in control for much of the contest, before allowing the Eagles to get back in the game during the final 10 minutes. Josh Delaney carried the Bearkats with 19 points, but after the Eagles missed an opportunity at the line and Tim Bond missed a three that would have tied the game, Cameron Delaney and John Dewey III closed to game at the line. Sam Houston State travels to UTSA, Thursday at 8 p.m.