by Josh Ouellette, SWX Content Coordinator - email
The crowd taking in the NCAA Tournament action at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on Wednesday. (Photo: Neil Stover)
The NCAA Tournament tipped off at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on Thursday, Mar. 20, beginning with Cincinnati and Harvard at 11:10 a.m.
The games will continue throughout the day as Delaware takes on Michigan State, San Diego State will face New Mexico State and Oklahoma will play North Dakota State in the late game.
Stay tuned as SWX will air all of the live post-game press conferences from Spokane Arena. Follow @SWXRightNow on twitter for scores and updates from the Arena. After all the games are completed on Day 1, practices and pre-game news conferences will take place on Friday, and SWX will offer live coverage on TV, online and on mobile devices.
The pregame news conferences, which give members of the media time to ask about teams’ games on Saturday, begin at 1:35 p.m. and last until 5 p.m.
The schedule is as follows:1:35-1:55 p.m. - Harvard or Cincinnati (players) 1:55-2:15 p.m. – Harvard or Cincinnati (coach)
2:20-2:40 p.m. – Delaware or Michigan State (players) 2:40-3 p.m. – Delaware or Michigan State (coach)
3:10-3:30 p.m. – Oklahoma or North Dakota State (players) 3:30-3:50 p.m. – Oklahoma or North Dakota State (coach)
3:55-4:15 p.m. – San Diego State or New Mexico State (players) 4:15-4:35 p.m. – San Diego State or New Mexico State (coach)
Recaps from Thursday's Games
No. 12 Harvard 61, No. 5 Cincinnati 57
Harvard controlled most of the game, with Cincinnati keeping it close thanks to a handful of runs where they came within arms reach of the Crimson. The final few minutes of the game proved to be decisive. The Cats pulled within one-point, 54-53, but Harvard was able to pull through thanks to clutch free throws by Siyani Chambers and Wesley Saunders down the stretch.
Saunders led the Crimson with 12 points and 4 assists, while Chambers and Laurent Rivard each scored 11 in the win for Harvard. Sean Kilpatrick scored 18 for Cincinnati, with Justin Jackson adding a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
No. 4 Michigan State 93, No. 13 Delaware 78
Michigan State got off to a slow start, and Delaware forced an early 8-8 tie, before the Blue Hens were outmatched by Adreian Payne and the rest of the Spartans late in the first half and down the stretch in the second. With the win, No. 4 MSU will move on to face No. 12 seed Harvard on Saturday at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Payne managed to go on a 12-0 run by himself, scored 17 of the Spartans final 20 first half points and hada total of 23 in the first frame alone, to give Michigan State a 44-33 lead at the break. The 6-foot-10 senior forward went on to lead all scorers with 41 points going 4-of-5 from behind the arc and a perfect 17-of-17 from the charity stripe. Payne also finished with 8 rebounds, a tie for the game-high in rebounds.
Delaware was able to cut the lead as close to nine in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Spartans were able to break down the Blue Hens full-court press and open up the game thanks to scoring stretches from Travis Trice and company. Trice added 19 points to the MSU cause, while Gary Harris scored 10.
Senior guard Devon Saddler led Delaware with 21 points and Davon Usher ended his Blue Hens career with 20.
No. 12 North Dakota State 80, No. 5 Oklahoma 75
North Dakota State carried the lead for over 20 minutes of play into the second half, fending off every Oklahoma attack until one late final push with 2:06 left in the game. The Sooners' Cameron Clark made a long three pointer to cut the lead to one, then took the OU lead--62-61--on a pair of points from the charity stripe.
The Bison were able to push back, thanks to Isaiah Cousins going 2-of-4 at the line twice in back-to-back possesions for the Sooners, letting Lawrence Alexander nail a trey with 11.2 seconds left and tie it up at 66. The Sooners failed to score on a couple of chances in the final seconds and the contest went into overtime.
Late in overtime period NDSU's Carlin Dupree made two free throws to take the with 1:10 left to play, and then made a runner over OU's Ryan Spangler on the ensuing possession with just over 40 seconds left to help the Bison secure the win. Those four points in that brief span were his only ones of the game as the Sooners failed to make a shot as time dwindled down.
North Dakota State was led by Lawrence Alexander's team-high 28 points and 8 rebounds. TrayVonn Wright and Marshall Bjorklund combined for 27 points and 11 boards in the Bison's win. NDSU will dace the winner of San Diego State and New Mexico State.
Cameron Clark scored 25 in his final game for OU and kept them in it down the stretch. Isaiah Cousins added 17 and had a team-high 8 rebounds for the Sooners.
No. 4 San Diego State 73, No. 13 New Mexico State 69
The game between San Diego State and New Mexico State started off slow with both teams struggling to find any semblance of rhythm from the field, but it didn't end that way.
The Aztecs were able to take 12 point lead, 32-20 into the locker rooms at the half thanks to Xavier Thames' nine points and the Aggies failing to make any noise from the field. SDSU was able to hold NMSU's 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar to only 2 first half points and 1 rebound, while tagging 3 fouls on the Aggies big man.
New Mexico State wasn't down and out. The Aggies went on a 14-3 run early in the second half and cut the lead to 2, 40-38. San Diego State replicated NMSU and went on a hot streak of its own, outscoring the Aggies 16-6 into the waning minutes of the game.
Before the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena could blink, New Mexico State was right back in the game and only trailing by three, 60-57, with 19 seconds left. The Aggies drove down the court and with six seconds to play, Kevin Aronis nailed a three to force overtime.
In the extra frame the Aztecs jumped out to a 65-60 lead by the 2:47 mark, only to have NMSU fight back, yet again. The Aggies pulled within two, 70-68, and began to put SDSU at the line. Both teams played the game at the charity stripe over the final minute of the game and the Aztecs pulled out the win, 73-69.
Daniel Mullings scored a team-high 18 points for the Aggies, while Bhullar added 14 points and 7 rebounds after his slow start.
San Diego State's Xavier Thames led all scorers with 23 points, with a clutch 10-of-12 from the free throw line. Josh Davis recorded a double-double, he finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds in the win. The Aztecs will face North Dakota State on Saturday at the Spokane Arena in the third round of the NCAA Tournament