Kentucky lost its NIT opener, less than a year after the defending national champion Wildcats cut down the nets in the NCAA tournament.
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — At least, Kentucky coach John Calipari could wash down this season’s last piece of humble pie with his hometown brew: Iron City.
Mike McFadden hit two free throws with 8.7 seconds remaining as Robert Morris stunned the Wildcats 59-57 in the first round of the NIT Tuesday night, less than a year after the defending national champions cut down the nets in New Orleans.
“This is humbling,” Calipari said. “They think we’re supposed to win 30 a year, 35 a year, go to the Final Four, win a national title.”
Not this time.
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The Colonials (24-10) led almost the entire way, never blinking in a rare visit from one of college basketball’s Goliaths.
Kentucky (21-12) lost six of its final 10 games, the last one coming just a couple of three-pointers away from the house Calipari grew up in.
“They deserve to win the game,” Calipari said of the Colonials. “If we’d have won at the buzzer, it would have been a shame.”
Kyle Wiltjer’s three-point attempt before the buzzer bounced off the rim, sending hundreds of students onto the court to celebrate the biggest win in school history.
Maryland 86, Niagara 70
In College Park, Md., Nick Faust had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins (23-12), who used a 21-2 run to take charge. Niagara (19-14) hit 1 of 16 shots during the Terps’ run. Antoine Mason scored 24 for the Purple Eagles (19-14).
St. John’s 63,
Saint Joseph’s 61
In Philadelphia, Sir’Dominic Pointer’s jumper from the corner capped a comeback win by St. John’s (17-15), making its record 28th NIT appearance. Carl Jones and Langston Galloway combined for 37 points for Saint Joseph’s (18-14).
La. Tech 71, Florida St. 66
In Tallahassee, Fla., Raheem Appleby scored 27 points and keyed a decisive 11-0 run by the Bulldogs (27-6). Michael Snaer scored 24 for Florida State (18-16), which won the Atlantic Coast Conference a year ago.
In Tuscaloosa, Ala., Levi Randolph had nine points in a 22-0 run by the Tide (22-12), which held the Huskies (20-13) to a season-low point total. Northeastern played without its leading scorer, Joel Smith, who was injured.
Virginia 67, Norfolk St. 56
In Charlottesville, Va., Justin Anderson scored 15 points, including four key free throws in the final minutes, and the Cavaliers (22-11) overcame 15 missed free throws and 18 turnovers to beat the Spartans (21-12).
Denver 61, Ohio 57
In Denver, Brett Olson scored 15 points for the Pioneers (22-9) and his defensive pressure helped turn aside a potential go-ahead layup by the Bobcats (24-10) with 21 seconds remaining.