Three Tournaments Line the Friday Basketball Slate
Three games, all in-season tournaments (in warm weather locales!), are on tap for Friday. UMass faces a tough opponents in New Mexico in a bid to stay perfect this season. VCU looks to rebound from its first loss with a game against Long Beach State and La Salle opens the Paradise Jam versus Morgan State.
(RV) MASSACHUSETTS Minutemen (4-0)
vs. No. 19/20 NEW MEXICO Lobos (3-0)
2:30 pm | TD Arena
ESPN2 | Charleston Classic
No. 10 VCU Rams (3-1)
vs. LONG BEACH STATE 49ers (1-4)
7:30 pm | Coliseo Roberto Clemente
ESPNU | Puerto Rico Tip-Off
LA SALLE Explorers (2-2)
vs. MORGAN STATE Bears (0-4)
9:00 pm | UVI Sports and Fitness Center
>>UD has been powerful against the power conferences. The Flyers are 20-9 in the last six years against BCS programs. UD, which beat Georgia Tech Wednesday, has won the last five meetings against ACC programs.
>>The Minutemen have an all-time record of 79-69 in regular season tournaments, including a 9-8 mark in Derek Kellogg’s six years at the helm after Thursday’s victory.
>>GW is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2009-10 when it won its opening four games en route to a postseason appearance in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). The Colonials were rewarded for their solid start by receiving a vote in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll released on Monday. It marks the first time the program received votes in the national rankings since concluding the 2006-07 season with three votes in the final AP Poll.
>>Coming off a pair of wins over previously unbeaten teams from the ACC and SEC in a span of 46 hours to open the season, Massachusetts then beat previous undefeated Youngstown State. The Penguins were 4-0 before facing UMass. The Minutemen did it again Thursday, beating 3-0 Nebraska 96-90. UMass will try to do it again Friday versus 3-0 New Mexico.
>>Nine A-10 teams are averaging 77 or more points per game and eight teams are holding opponents to under 70 points per game.
>>La Salle is playing in an in-season tournament away from home for the first time since the 2010 Cancun Challenge. La Salle is back at the Paradise Jam for the third time. The Explorers participated in 2004 and 2008. La Salle is looking for its first tournament title during a regular season tournament since winning the 2004 Dr. Pepper Classic by defeating South Carolina State and host Chattanooga.
MASSACHUSETTS 96, NEBRASKA 90
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Derrick Gordon had 20 points to lead five Massachusetts players in double figures and the Minutemen held on in the final minute to open the Charleston Classic with a 96-90 victory over Nebraska on Thursday.
Gordon scored 12 of his points in the second half as Massachusetts built a 13-point lead with just under 10 minutes to play. The Cornhuskers (3-1) rallied down the stretch, closing to 89-87 with 1:39 left on Tai Webster's foul shots.
Nebraska was down 91-88 moments later, but Gordon stood firm on defense and drew a charging call on Deverell Biggs.
Texas Tech transfer Terran Pettaway led the Cornhuskers with a career-high 28 points.
The Minutemen started 4-0 for the third time in the past four seasons. They'll take on either No. 19 New Mexico or UAB in Friday's semifinals of the eight-team tournament.
Sampson Carter scored 16 points and Cady Lalanne 15 for Massachusetts.
SAINT LOUIS 72, ORAL ROBERTS 55
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jordair Jett scored 15 points Thursday night and Saint Louis defeated Oral Roberts 72-55 in the first round of the Cancun Challenge to remain unbeaten.
Saint Louis scored 17 points off 18 Oral Roberts (2-2) turnovers while giving up only six themselves. Mike McCall Jr. and Dwayne Evans each scored 11 points for the Billikens.
After trailing 31-28 at halftime, Saint Louis (4-0) got the hot hand, hitting 53 percent from the field in the second half and outscoring the Golden Eagles 44-24.
With the score tied at 44 and 11 minutes remaining, the Billikens ran away with the game, outscoring Oral Roberts 28-11 and capping the run with a 3-pointer by Mike Crawford just before the buzzer.
Shawn Glover led the Golden Eagles with 18 points while their leading scorer, Obi Emegano -averaging 26.3 points per game- was held to just six points.
FLORIDA STATE 85, VCU 67
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Ian Miller scored 22 points and Devon Bookert added 18 to help Florida State cruise past No. 10 VCU 85-67 on Thursday night at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
The Seminoles (4-0) have scored at least 80 points in each of their games. Montay Brandon added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Treveon Graham had 14 points to lead the Rams (3-1), who were denied their first 4-0 start since the 1993-94 season.
Florida State lost in overtime to Virginia Commonwealth in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2011 NCAA tournament. There would be no repeat this time as the Seminoles took control late in the first half and then used an 11-0 spurt to open the second half.
VCU also came in averaging more than 80 points per game and it made for a pace that was rapid from the outset.