Tuesday Night’s NIT Recap: Winston Shepard’s triple-double, Washington’s shootout highlight night

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
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No. 1 South Carolina 88, No. 8 High Point 66: Despite some pregame drama, the Gamecocks had no problem dispatching High Point in emphatic fashion Tuesday evening.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin announced the indefinite suspension of five reserves just shortly before tipoff for “conduct issues.” The suspensions, though, weren’t a story on the floor as Laimonas Chatkevicius scored 30 points on 15 of 16 shooting and added five rebounds and two assists for the Gamecocks. Sindarius Thornwell added 20 points. South Carolina shot a scintillating 60 percent from the floor.

The Gamecocks get the winner of No. 4 Georgia Tech vs. No. 5 Houston.

No. 3 Ohio State 72, No. 6 Akron 63: The Buckeyes overcame a halftime deficit and outscored the Zips 10-1 in overtime to keep their season alive. JaQuan Lyle had a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds while also dishing out six assists. Marc Loving and Kam Williams both also had 18 points. Loving had 12 rebounds.

The Buckeyes advances to face Florida in the second round because …

No. 2 Florida 97, No. 7 North Florida 68: … the Gators smacked around the Ospreys on the strength of six players posting double-figures. Dorian Finney-Smith led the way with 15 points, nine boards, four steals and two assists.

After the game, Florida announced that center John Egbunu would undergo season-ending thumb surgery to repair torn ligaments.

No. 2 Saint Mary’s 58, No. 7 New Mexico State 56: The Gaels advance to face the winner of No. 3 Georgia and No. 6 Belmont after surviving the Aggies. SMC blew a double-digit second half lead, but after NMSU tied the game with two seconds left, they fouled Joe Rahon, who hit a pair of free throws with 1.5 seconds left on the clock to win the game.

No. 3 Washington 107, No. 6 Long Beach State 102: Defense was optional in Seattle on Tuesday night as the Huskies avoided an upset at the hands of the 49ers. DeJuonte Murray and Andrew Andrews combined for — get this — 55 points and 10 assists to lead Washington to the win. Marquesse Chriss added 27 points and 12 boards.

The Huskies trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, but Andrew Andrews hit eight free throws in the final minute to seal the win and allow U-Dub to advance to take on …

No. 2 San Diego State 79, No. 7 IPFW 59: … the Aztecs thanks to a triple-double from Winston Shepard, who had 10 points, 12 assists and 10 boards to go along with the 15 points Malik Pope scored.

No. 4 Florida State 84, No. 5 Davidson 74: Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley combined for 44 points on 14 of 29 shooting to help the Seminoles into the second round. Florida State was just 3 of 14 from the 3-point line, but made 21 of 24 free throws. Davidson made 13 of 32 3-pointers (40.6 percent) but got just 17 points from leading scorer Jack Gibbs.

The Seminoles will advance to take on …

No. 1 Valparaiso 84, No. 8 Texas Southern 73: … the Crusaders, who got 28 points from Alec Peters and 10 boards and eight blocks from Vashil Fernandez in the win.

No. 4 Creighton 72, No. 5 Alabama 54: Mo Watson popped off for 20 points and three assists and Geoffrey Groselle chipped in with 12 points and 14 boards as the Bluejays advanced past Avery Johnson and the Crimson Tide. Creighton draws the winner of No. 1 St. Bonaventure vs. No. 8 Wagner in the next round.