The College Basketball Invitational quarterfinals are officially underway, as the final eight teams attempt to make it to the semifinals.
The Penn State Nittany Lions weren't able to pull out a win against the Siena Saints, losing at the last second 54-52 to exit the tournament early. Meanwhile, the Old Dominion Monarchs completely trounced the Radford Highlanders, winning 82-59 thanks to a big performance from an unexpected contributor.
Meanwhile, the Fresno State Bulldogs beat the Princeton Tigers and the Illinois State Redbirds pulled off a slightly surprising win against the Texas A&M Aggies.
Below is an updated look at the scores for each quarterfinals matchup as they come in, followed by an updated bracket and schedule for the semifinals.
Siena 54, Penn State 52
Both the Nittany Lions and Saints entered this game with losing records at 16-17, but that didn't keep them from trying to prove that they were better than their records indicated.
Throughout most of the first half, Penn State had the lead, going up by as many as eight points at 17-9 with just over seven minutes left. However, the Saints were able to make a nice run at the end of the half to go up 25-21 at halftime.
The Saints continued to push their lead in the second half, but the Nittany Lions were able to stay in it and eventually take the lead at 38-37 thanks to a three-pointer from Geno Thorpe. With time winding down, the Saints were eventually able to grab a five-point lead with around 1:20 left in the game.
With the game tied at 52-52, Evan Hymes was able to drive inside for the go-ahead layup with just four seconds remaining to give Siena the big win.
As a team, the Nittany Lions seriously struggled shooting the ball, making just 29.8 percent of their shots from the floor and 54.5 of their free throws. D.J. Newbill scored 17 points but went just 5-of-18 from the line, while no one else scored more than eight points.
Meanwhile, the Saints had three players in double figures, with Lavon Long leading the way with 17 points. While they only made 21 of their 52 shots, they were still able to pull out the win thanks to their defensive effort.
Old Dominion 82, Radford 59
While the other early game may have been a close one, the matchup between the Highlanders and Monarchs wasn't nearly as close.
The two sides traded baskets for a while, but Old Dominion went on a 12-0 run early to go up 25-7 early in the first half. The Monarchs continued to extend their lead thanks to junior forward Richard Ross. While he's only averaged 9.6 points per game this year, he was red hot early, dropping 13 points in the game's first 13 minutes, according to Ed Miller from the Virginia Pilot:
By halftime, the score was 39-23, and the Monarchs coasted without much trouble for the rest of the game to take home the 82-59 win.
Ross was terrific throughout for the Monarchs, grabbing a career-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four assists. It was a completely dominant performance for Old Dominion, as they're going to be red hot heading into their semifinals game.
Illinois State 62, Texas A&M 55
The Aggies got off to a strong start early in their game against the Rebirds, going up 7-2 on a big three from the high-scoring freshman Jamal Jones, according to the team's Twitter account.
Unfortunately, that was one of the few shots Jones actually made in the game, as he missed three after three from behind the arc. The Redbirds were able to come back and keep the game close throughout, with the score at 27-27 at halftime.
While the game was close for most of the second half, the Redbirds were able to avoid letting the Aggies take the lead late in the game with some big shots. The Redbirds were able to take a 58-51 lead with around two minutes to go, and were eventually able to grab the 62-55 win.
Neither team shot particularly well from the field, but the Aggies went just 18-of-15 and 4-of-21 from the perimeter. Despite making a very early three, Jones went just 2-of-12 from behind the arc and 4-of-17 overall, scoring 14 points.
Daishon Knight was the leading scorer for Illinois State, putting up 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. John Jones was strong coming off of the bench, grabbing 12 points and four rebounds.
Fresno State 72, Princeton 56
Despite a strong 21-8 record this season in the Ivy League, the Tigers couldn't take down the Bulldogs in the quarterfinals, sending Fresno State to the semifinals.
Princeton was in trouble early in the first half, and it didn't get any better later. The Bulldogs had a strong 9-0 run that ended with around four minutes left in the half to go up 27-16, and the Tigers were never really able to recover.
While the Tigers did pull to within one point at the beginning of the second half, Fresno State made a strong 15-3 run halfway through to ensure a win.
It was tough for Princeton to get anything going in the game, as they went just 20-of-63 and 8-of-30 from the perimeter. The bench failed to do much either, with Clay Wilson scoring six points, which was the only scoring to not come from a starter.
For the Bulldogs, Tyler Johnson was on it, scoring 23 points while adding eight rebounds, four assists and two steals on 10-of-17 shooting. Paul Watson and Cezar Guerrero combined for another 28 points while going a combined 16-of-28 from the floor, helping their team advance to the semifinals.
|CBI Semifinals Schedule|
|Wednesday, March 26||Illinois State at Siena||7 p.m.||TBD|
|Wednesday, March 26||Old Dominion at Fresno State||10 p.m.||TBD|