College Basketball Invitational
Western Michigan 72, North Dakota State 71 (OT)
KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- (gobison.com) Connar Tava's two free throws with 13.9 seconds left in overtime lifted Western Michigan to a 72-71 victory over North Dakota State in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational presented by Buick on Wednesday, March 20.
Shayne Whittington had 18 points and three blocks for Western Michigan (21-12) and Brandon Pokley added 15 points for the Broncos, who advanced to next Monday's quarterfinal round at Wyoming.
North Dakota State made its first five field goal attempts and scored on its first seven possessions to race out to a 15-2 lead. Pokley had a pair of transition 3-pointers on a 12-4 run to help Western Michigan close within three late in the period.
NDSU led 32-28 at halftime and WMU scored on its first three possessions of the second half to force a 34-34 tie. The Broncos went on an 18-4 run over a span of 9 1/2 minutes to build a 58-47 lead with 4:23 left.
The Bison crawled back into the game employing a full-court pressure defense and holding Western Michigan to just four free throws in the final four minutes of regulation.
Wright's 3-pointer with 1:04 left got the Bison within 62-60, Chris Kading made a block on the other end, and Wright was left open to bury a 16-foot jumper from the elbow tying the game 62-62 with 3.0 seconds left.
Alexander made a 3-pointer on NDSU's first overtime possesion and the Bison stayed ahead until Tava's winning free throws with 13.9 seconds left.
Both teams shot 42 percent overall. NDSU was 12-for-12 at the foul line and WMU was 20-for-26. The Bison had a 36-34 edge in total rebounds.
College Basketball Invitational
Purdue 81, Western Illinois 67
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- (goleathernecks.com) The Fighting Leathernecks led nearly all of the first half, but Purdue proved to be too much, downing Western 81-67 in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational Wednesday evening inside Mackey Arena.
The Leathernecks conclude their historic season with a 22-9 overall record, better than any other WIU team in the program's NCAA Division I history. Western falls to 0-5 all-time versus Purdue and 0-2 in CBI play.
Although Western was without its two All-Summit League First Team players, Ceola Clark III and Terell Parks, the Leathernecks battled, and led by as many as nine points midway through the first half. Purdue regained the lead near the end of the first, though, and held onto it for the remainder of the game.
Four Western Illinois players finished in double figures led by Don McAvoy III who finished with 16 points. Remy Roberts-Burnett tallied 15, and had a team-best five assists.
Adam Link also dished out a team-high five assists and recorded 12 points while pulling down a team-best five rebounds.
Michael Ochereobia, like Link, also finished with 12 points in the loss. Both Link and Ochereobia finished 5-of-9 from the field.
Senior Jack Houpt knocked down a pair of treys for six points, had two assists and a steal.
A.J. Hammons led four Boilermakers in double figures with 15 points.
Purdue shot 58.5% from the field, while the Leathernecks made 50 percent of their shots.
Western led for nearly all of the first half, gaining its first lead of the game just over two minutes into the game and holding onto it until the five minute mark of the period.
A Houpt triple gave WIU its early 5-4 advantage. Purdue quickly tied the game at 7-7 five minutes in, but the Leathernecks recaptured their lead courtesy of an 18-9 run where they held their biggest lead of the game, nine points (25-16), midway through the half.
Purdue slowly chipped away at the lead, until the Boilermakers' Ronnie Johnson finished a layup making it 33-32 in favor of Purdue with five minutes remaining.
Purdue's advantage was a big as five in the first half, 37-32, but Western would cut its deficit to three points at the break, 37-34. Western knocked down 13-of-23 (56.5) shots in the first, while Purdue connected on 15-of-28 (53.6) field goal attempts.
The second half was all Purdue. The Boilermakers outscored Western 44-33 in the half, and held its largest lead of the game, 21 points (70-49), with just under seven minutes to play.
Purdue advances to face Santa Clara next Monday, March 25, at home in the second round of the CBI.