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CIT Recap: Northern Colorado and UIC advance to finals

A pair of decisive wins sets up what should be a great finale.

NCAA Basketball: Northern Colorado at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The CIT final is set.

Northern Colorado will face off against UIC in the tournament championship on Friday night at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Both teams won in convincing fashion Wednesday night while bringing an end to the seasons of Liberty and Sam Houston State.

UIC 67, Liberty 51

In the first semifinal, UIC used a dominant second half to cruise past Liberty. Liberty jumped out to a fast start, building an early 12-5 lead, but UIC seized control of the game with its defensive intensity. UIC scored 18 points off turnovers and held Liberty to only nine field goals in the second half. The game was blown open when UIC went on a 14-0 run with just under 12 minutes on the clock that lasted nearly six minutes.

UIC was balanced on the offensive end, having four players in double-figures. Tarkus Ferguson scored 16 points. Tai Odiase scored 11 points, but it was his defense in the paint that was most notable, slowing down Scottie James and holding him to just nine points.

Liberty just couldn’t find the touch offensively, shooting just 33.3 percent for the game. Lovell Cabbil nearly had a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. The Flames finish the season 22-15 overall and 9-9 in the Big South.

Northern Colorado 99, Sam Houston State 80

More hot shooting continued in the second semifinal of the CIT, as Northern Colorado rolled Sam Houston State.

What a night it was for Andre Spight.

Spight dropped a cool 40, the third time this season, and was an absolute marksman from downtown. He connected on 7-15 from three, part of his 15-24 performance from the floor. As a team, they were 59 percent from the field and made 17 threes on the night.

The Bears were hot from the start, making their first 10 shots as they built an 18-7 lead. The scrappy Bearkats would claw their way back into the contest by forcing turnovers and hitting the offensive glass in an effort to offset the hot-shooting Bears.

Chris Galbreath Jr. (24 points, 8 rebounds), Josh Delaney (15 points, five rebounds), and Jamal Williams (17 points) did their part to keep Sam Houston State in the game, but a 20-7 run by Northern Colorado in the second half proved to be too much. The game was never in question as the Bears lead for 98 percent of the contest.

Northern Colorado will host UIC in the championship game.