The NIT Final Four is set.
Behind 23 points and 13 assists from senior guard Pierre Jackson, Baylor beat Providence, 79-68, to advance to the semifinals of the NIT and round out the tournament’s Final Four that will advance to New York City.
Baylor was efficient with the basketball Wednesday, turning the ball over just five times and shooting 52 percent from the floor. One of the biggest beneficiaries of Jackson’s big night as a facilitator was Cory Jefferson, who had 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting. He added two blocks.
The Bears move on to New York City along with BYU, Maryland, and Iowa, teams that all won their NIT quarterfinal games and have earned the right to advance. Baylor will play BYU, while Iowa and Maryland will play in the other semifinal.
Other than No. 1-seeded Kentucky losing in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris, all other No. 1 seeds lost in this quarterfinal round. Southern Miss lost to BYU, Alabama lost to Maryland, and Virginia lost to Iowa. No seed lower than No. 4 Providence made it to the quarterfinal round.
Both semifinal games take place April 2, less than one week before the NCAA tournament championship game.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.