BLACKSBURG, VA. (AP) - Jeff Allen scored 19 points to help Virginia Tech overcome the sting of not making the NCAA tournament with a 79-54 win over Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday night in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Virginia Tech (22-11), making its 12th appearance in the NIT and fifth in eight seasons under head coach Seth Greenberg, will meet Wichita State in the second round on Sunday after the Shockers beat Nebraska 76-49.
“This isn’t about not getting in,” Greenberg said, referring to the Hokies’ exclusion from the NCAAs. “If we’re motivated by not getting in, then we’re motivated by the wrong thing. We’re motivated because we want to win games.”
Tech connected on 10 of its first 11 shots and took a 23-9 lead after Allen’s basket with 13:01 left in the half. The Hokies led by as many as 23 in the first half and shot 61.3 percent (19 of 31).
Bethune-Cookman (21-13), the regular-season champion in the MEAC, was making its first appearance in postseason play since 1980 as a Division II program.
Wichita State 76, Nebraska 49
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ David Kyles scored 13 points and hit four of Wichita State’s 11 3-pointers.
J.T. Durley had 12 points and Graham Hatch added 11 for Wichita State (25-8), which will play at the Bethune Cookman-Virginia Tech winner in the second round.
“That’s about as well as we’ve played in quite a while,” Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said.
Jorge Brian Diaz and Lance Jeter each scored 12 for the Cornhuskers (19-13), who ended their season with three straight losses.
Wichita State went 11 of 26 from 3-point range, while Nebraska was just 2 for 18.
California 77, Mississippi 74
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) _ Jorge Gutierrez scored 25 points and made two free throws with 14.8 seconds left.
Allen Crabbe had 20 points and Harper Kamp added 11, including a key basket down the stretch, one day after receiving IV treatments due to the flu.
California (18-14), which played without starting center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, advances to play at top-seeded Colorado on Friday. The Buffaloes beat Texas Southern 88-74 earlier.