St. Joe's lets lead get away in loss to N.C. State in Paradise Jam

USA Today Images

St. Joe's lets lead get away in loss to N.C. State in Paradise Jam


ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Dennis Smith Jr. scored a career-high 24 points and N.C. State held off Saint Joseph's for a 73-63 victory Monday in the third-place game of the Paradise Jam tournament.

Torin Dorn added 19 points, Terry Henderson 15 and Abdul-Malik Abu had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack (4-1), who overcame an 11-point deficit in the first half to lead by as many as 14 points.

"I think we just started really slow," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. "I don't know if it was because of last night's game (an 81-68 loss to Mississippi in the semifinals Sunday). We didn't have a lot of zip early. But around the 12-minute mark of the first half, we really started to play. We got going, started to execute and our defense was better. Our guys really responded."

Shavar Newkirk scored 23 points and Charlie Brown added 14 for the Hawks (3-2), who shot just 32.9 percent from the field (24 of 73) including 5 of 22 from 3-point range.

Still, Saint Joseph's managed to make N.C. State sweat in the closing minutes. Down 57-43 with less than 11 minutes remaining, the Hawks pulled to within six points three times, the last at 69-63 with 2:29 remaining.

But Smith connected of a pair of free throws less than a minute later, followed by a Henderson dunk that pushed N.C. State's lead back to double digits.

"We had some terrific numbers - 22 offensive rebounds, 73 shots, eight turnovers, 10 for 12 from the foul line," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "Just terrific numbers. We just didn't have enough guys making shots."

Big picture
Saint Joseph's: Sophomore guard Lamarr Kimble struggled in Monday's game, missing his first 10 shots. He finished with three points on 1-of-15 shooting, including 1-of-7 3-pointers.

N.C. State: Smith showed why he was voted the ACC's preseason rookie of the year and put on the league's preseason first team. While not particularly effective shooting (6 of 15 from the field, 3 of 6 on 3-pointers), he made 9 of 10 from the free throw line and added eight assists.

Up next
Saint Joseph's: Takes a few days off, then hosts Temple on Nov. 30.

N.C. State: Hosts fellow Paradise Jam participant Loyola-Chicago on Saturday.

Penn State holds off Marquette to reach NIT semifinals

USA Today Images

Penn State holds off Marquette to reach NIT semifinals


MILWAUKEE -- Lamar Stevens tied his career high with 30 points, Tony Carr added 25 and Penn State beat Marquette 85-80 on Tuesday night to advance to the NIT semifinals.

The Nittany Lions (24-13) will face Mississippi State (25-11) at Madison Square Garden in New York on March 27. They advanced to the NIT semis for the first time since winning the 2009 tournament.

Stevens hit three crucial buckets in the final three minutes, including a dunk off an alley-oop pass from Josh Reaves for an eight-point lead with one minute left. The 6-foot-8 Stevens then maneuvered through a couple Marquette players to secure a rebound off Andrew Rowsey's missed 3 with 46 seconds left.

Carr went 5 of 8 from the foul line over the final 30 seconds to give Marquette another chance. Rowsey hit a 3 and a layup to get the Golden Eagles as close as 83-80 with six seconds left before the Golden Eagles ran out of time.

Shep Garner scored 19 points and set two Penn State records, including most 3s in a season (112). Garner's 73 career wins are the most in a four-year span since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1992-93.

Rowsey, a senior, scored 29 points for Marquette (21-14).

The Golden Eagles had whittled a 14-point deficit early in the second half to 72-68 with 2:39 left on three foul shots by Rowsey. Penn State went nearly three minutes without a bucket and got sloppy with the ball and the sharpshooting Golden Eagles started hitting 3s to get back in the game.

Villanova, Penn with polar opposite NCAA Tournament draws

Villanova, Penn with polar opposite NCAA Tournament draws

No surprises on the Main Line and well, the Quakers have quite the hill to climb to advance.

Villanova on Sunday night was awarded the 1-seed in the East Region and will face the winner of the LIU Brooklyn/Radford game Thursday in Pittsburgh. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. on TNT.

The Wildcats have been a top-two seed since 2014 and it's the second straight year they're a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova was the No. 1 overall seed in last year's tournament.

Penn was named the 16th seed in the Midwest Region and will face the No. 1-seeded Kansas Jayhawks on Thursday at 2 p.m. on TBS in Wichita, Kansas.

Steve Donahue has the Quakers back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 in his third season as Penn's head coach.

The Quakers are 24-8 and this will be their 24th-ever appearance in the tournament.

'Nova survived a scare from Providence on Saturday night to win its second straight Big East title and its third in the past four years.

If the Wildcats beat LIU Brooklyn/Radford, they'll face the winner of the No. 8-seeded Virginia Tech and No. 9 seed Alabama. Purdue is the No. 2 seed in the East.

Also in the East are No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 4 Wichita State.