ATHENS, Ga. (AP) 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. (AP) – 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. (AP) – 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 (AP) – 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.