GEORGIA 63, VERMONT 56
ATHENS, Ga. — Charles Mann scored a career-high 29 points, including a three-point play with 2:25 remaining that gave Georgia the lead, and the Bulldogs beat Vermont 63-56 on Wednesday night in the first round of the NIT.
Georgia (20-13) led by 11 points early in the second half before Vermont took a 47-38 lead with an 18-2 run. Georgia went 8 minutes without a field goal before Kenny Gaines' steal and fast-break layup ended the drought.
Mann's basket and free throw gave Georgia a 56-54 lead. Marcus Thornton, who had 16 points, added another three-point play as Georgia ended the game with a 14-2 run.
Georgia will play Louisiana Tech, which beat Iona on Wednesday night, in the second round.
Sandro Carissimo led Vermont (22-11) with 11 points and Candon Rusin had 10.
Georgia overcame a season-high 22 turnovers, including seven by Mann.
LOUISIANA TECH 89, IONA 88
RUSTON, La. — Kenneth "Speedy" Smith put back a rebound with 2.2 seconds left to give Louisiana Tech a victory.
The back-and-forth game featured 14 lead changes and eight ties, with four lead changes in the final 69 seconds as the teams matched shot-for-shot.
The Bulldogs (28-7) had six players in double figures led by Jaron Johnson's 15 points. Smith added 14.
David Laury, whose two free throws gave the Gaels (22-11) a one-point lead with 13.2 seconds remaining, led Iona with 21 points and 16 rebounds. A.J. English scored 21 points as well, 19 of which came in the first half.
Chris Anderson, whose missed the shot Smith grabbed for the game-winning basket, had a double-double for the Bulldogs with 13 points and 10 rebounds
SOUTHERN MISS 66, TOLEDO 59
HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Michael Craig scored 16 points, Neil Watson added 12 and Southern Mississippi rallied to beat Toledo.
It was a strange night for Southern Miss (28-6), which grabbed a big lead in the first half, lost it early in the second and then rallied to win by a fairly comfortable margin.
The Golden Eagles took a 34-19 lead into halftime by shooting 14 of 28 from the field, but Toledo responded with a 24-6 run to open the second half and had a 43-40 lead with 11 minutes remaining.
The game remained tight until Aaron Brown's corner 3-pointer with 4:22 left gave Southern Miss a 57-51 advantage. The Golden Eagles play Missouri next.
Julius Brown led the Rockets (27-7) with 19 points.
ILLINOIS 66, BOSTON U. 62
BOSTON - Rayvonte Rice scored seven straight points late in the game and finished with 28 to rally Illinois.
The second-seeded Illini fought back from a 30-13 first-half deficit. Rice made the key play with 2:07 left when his steal and three-point play trimmed it to 61-60. He added two free throws and a driving layup to give Illinois a 64-61 lead.
Dom Morris missed a contested layup on an inbounds play with 11 seconds left that would have tied it for BU, the regular-season champion in the Patriot League. Nnanna Egwu added two free throws to ice it for Illinois (20-14), which advanced to play No. 3 seed Clemson in the second round. Malcolm Hill had 10 points for the Illini.
It was the first meeting between Illinois and BU (24-11), which was seeking its first win in the NIT after five losses. D.J. Irving had 17 points for the seventh-seeded Terriers and point guard Maurice Watkins had seven points and 12 assists. Morris scored 10.
LSU 71, SAN FRANCISCO 63
SAN FRANCISCO — Jarell Martin scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half and LSU beat San Francisco.
Shavon Coleman and Johnny O'Bryant III each added 13 points as the Tigers (20-13) won their first NIT game in 12 years.
Cole Dickerson scored 24 points to lead the Dons (21-12). Tim Derkson added 12 points.
San Francisco's Matt Glover was called for a flagrant foul after officials went to the replay with 9:33 remaining to play. Andre Stringer made the ensuing free throws, keying 9-0 run that put LSU ahead 61-45 less than 90 seconds later.
Anthony Hickey and Tim Quarterman hit 3-pointers 7 seconds apart to cap the spurt.
The Tigers will visit top-seeded SMU in the second round.
Hickey's lay-up in the closing seconds of the first half gave the Tigers a 33-30 lead at the break.
SMU 68, UC-IRVINE 54
DALLAS — Cannen Cunningham scored 17 points and SMU gave Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown his first college postseason victory in 26 years.
Ben Moore added 11 points in the Mustangs' first NIT win since 2000. Nick Russell had 10.
Top-seeded SMU (24-9) used a 23-7 run in the second half to erase a 35-29 deficit, scoring inside and hitting free throws to balloon the lead to 53-42 with 8:16 left.
However, less than 2 minutes later, officials determined the Mustangs inadvertently were given a 1-and-1 opportunity too early, and they subtracted two points from the hosts to make it 51-44 with 7:24 left.
Luke Nelson led No. 8 seed UC-Irvine (23-12) with 13 points, and Alex Young chipped in 10.
CALIFORNIA 77, UTAH VALLEY 64
BERKELEY, Calif. — David Kravish had 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, Jordan Mathews added 13 points off the bench for Cal.
The short-handed Golden Bears (20-13) played without Pac-12 leading rebounder Richard Solomon, forcing coach Mike Montgomery to go with a four-guard lineup to complement Kravish. It worked well, as the trio of Justin Cobbs, Jabari Bird and Tyrone Wallace repeatedly beat the Wolverines down the lane and with timely buckets from the perimeter.
Cobbs finished with 13 points and seven assists, Bird scored 11 and Wallace had nine points for California.
The second-seeded Bears will host No. 3 seed Arkansas in the second round Monday night. Cal beat the Razorbacks 85-77 on Nov. 25 in the Maui Invitational.
Holton Hunsaker scored 22 points for seventh-seeded Utah Valley (20-12).
First Round Results
Tuesday, March 18
Robert Morris 89, St. John's 78
Florida State 58, Florida Gulf Coast 53
Georgetown 77, west Virginia 65
Belmont 80, Green Bay 65
Minnesota 88, High Point 81
Clemson 78, Georgia State 66
Arkansas 91, Indiana State 71
Missouri 85, Davidson 77
Saint Mary's (Calif.) 70, Utah 58
Wednesday, March 19
Illinois 66, Boston University 62
Louisiana Tech 89, Iona 88
Georgia 63, Vermont 56
Southern Miss 66, Toledo 59
SMU 68, UC Irvine 54
LSU 71, San Francisco 63
California 77, Utah Valley 64
Friday, March 21
Robert Morris (22-13) at Belmont (25-9), 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 23
Illinois (20-12) at Clemson (21-12), 11 a.m.
Southern Miss (28-6) at Missouri (23-11), TBA
Saint Mary's (Calif.) (23-11) at Minnesota (21-13), TBA
Monday, March 24
Georgetown (18-14) at Florida State (20-13), TBA
Arkansas (22-11) vs. California (20-13)
Louisiana Tech (28-7) vs. Georgia (20-13), TBA
SMU (24-9) vs. LSU (20-13), TBA