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Tuesday, 18 March 2008 19:57
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 SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -Freshman forward Donte Greene scored a season-high 27 points, and undermanned Syracuse survived 16 3-pointers by Robert Morris in an 87-81 victory on Tuesday night in the first round of the NIT.
Paul Harris had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Scoop Jardine had 15 points, Kristof Ongenaet 13, and Arinze Onuaku added seven points and 10 rebounds for Syracuse (20-13). The Orange, who gave coach Jim Boeheim his 30th 20-win season in 32 years, will play either Minnesota or Maryland in the second round.
Robert Morris (26-8) ended its first NIT appearance with a second straight loss after 14 wins in a row.
A.J. Jackson led the Colonials with 19 points, Jimmy Langhurst and Jeremy Chappell each had 15, Bateko Francisco and Mezie Nwigwe each had eight, and Tony Lee had 10 points and seven assists.
Ohio St. 84, UNC-Asheville 66
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Jamar Butler scored 21 points and added 10 assists to lead Ohio State.
During one span in the second half, the senior point guard scored or assisted on 15 consecutive points for the Buckeyes (20-13), who were passed over by the NCAA tournament a year after reaching the title game.
Othello Hunter had 16 points, Kosta Koufos 15 and David Lighty 13 for Ohio State, which shot 56 percent from the field while making their eighth NIT appearance. The Buckeyes will face either New Mexico or California in the second round.
Reid Augst had 20 points, Bryan Smithson 17 and K.J. Garland 10 for the Bulldogs (23-10).
Massachusetts 80, Stephen F. Austin 60.
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - Dante Milligan had a career-high 24 points to go with nine rebounds and seven blocked shots to lead Massachusetts.
Gary Forbes scored 19 points, while Ricky Harris added 16 for the Minutemen (22-10), who advanced to face either Florida State or Akron in the second round.
Josh Alexander had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Lumberjacks (26-6), and Matt Kingsley and Eddie Williams each scored 10 points.
Stephen F. Austin opened the second half on a 9-2 run to pull to 35-34. However, Etienne Brower and Chris Lowe each had five points in UMass' 12-0 run that and the Minutemen dominated from there.
Maryland 68, Minnesota 58
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Greivis Vasquez had 16 points and six rebounds and made sure Maryland didn't lose another big lead.
Bambale Osby added 14 points and six rebounds for the fifth-seeded Terrapins (19-14), who advance to play top-seeded Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in the second round.
Damian Johnson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for fourth-seeded Minnesota (20-14).
Johnson also had four blocks and Lawrence Westbrook added 11 points, but the Gophers were outmuscled in the paint and outhustled in transition in the final game of Tubby Smith's first season as coach here.
S. Illinois 69, Oklahoma St. 53
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Matt Shaw scored 21 points and nine rebounds to lead Southern Illinois.
The Salukis (18-14) advanced to the second round behind an active defense that held the Cowboys (17-16) to 35 percent shooting, including just 4-of-25 on 3-pointers.
Randal Falker had 15 points and nine rebounds for Southern Illinois. Joshua Bone added 11 points and Tony Boyle had 10 points.
The Salukis will face Arizona State in the second round.
Terrel Harris scored 20 points and James Anderson added 13 for Oklahoma State.
Akron 65, Florida State 60, OT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Nick Dials scored 13 of his 21 points in overtime, including three consecutive 3-pointers, to lead Akron.
The Zips (24-10) got first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team despite being decisively outrebounded and making only 10 of 19 free throws. It was Akron's second postseason victory in school history.
Uche Echefu had 20 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double double of the season for Florida State (19-15), which was in the NIT for the third straight year.
Akron was unable to protect a 51-47 lead in the final 1:30 of regulation, missing a dunk shot and three free throws to go along with a costly turnover. However, Dials took over in the overtime. His first two baskets from long range put the Zips ahead both times and he hit four straight free throws at the end to preserve the victory.
Creighton 74, Rhode Island 73
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Cavel Witter hit a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left to cap Creighton's comeback from a 17-point deficit in the second half.
P'Allen Stinnett and Booker Woodfox each had 22 points for the Bluejays (22-10), with Stinnett scoring 18 in the second half. Creighton will face either San Diego State or Florida in the second round.
Will Daniels led Rhode Island (21-12) with 16 points. Jimmy Baron added 13 and Lamonte Ulmer 12. The Rams lost eight of their final nine games.
Creighton trailed 70-58 with 3:14 left, but the Rams didn't score another field goal. Stinnett hit a 3 and then made a steal and layup and Woodfox made back-to-back 3s to pull the Bluejays to 72-69 with a minute left. Witter's two free throws made it a one-point game.
Marquis Jones made one of two free throws with 11.5 seconds left to put the Rams up by two points.
Arizona St. 64, Alabama St. 53
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - James Harden had 25 points and a season-best 13 rebounds for Arizona State.
Harden's fellow freshman Ty Abbott added 15 points on five first-half 3-pointers for the Sun Devils (20-12), who reached the 20-win mark for just the fourth time in 27 years.
Andrew Hayles scored 12 and Brandon Brooks 10 for Alabama State (20-11), the SWAC regular season champions which shot just 32 percent (19-of-59).
Arizona State shot only 41 percent overall, 32 percent (7-of-22) in the second half.
 

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