Berrick JeanLouis blocked a potential game-tying layup and Nelly Junior Joseph made two clinching free throws to lift Iona to a 72-68 victory over No. 10 Alabama in the first round of the ESPN Events Invitational on Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The Gaels (6-0) will face Belmont in the semifinals on Friday. The Crimson Tide (4-1) will oppose Drake in the consolation round.
Joseph and Walter Clayton Jr. each scored 15 points for the Gaels, who rallied from a nine-point, second-half deficit and avenged a loss to Alabama in the first round of NCAA Tournament last season.
After Clayton made one of two foul shots with 20 seconds remaining for a 70-68 lead, Alabama’s Jahvon Quinerly drove the lane for a potential tying layup, but his shot was blocked by JeanLouis. Joseph got the rebound. Jaden Shackelford scored 19 points and Quinerly added 15 for the Crimson Tide.
No. 4 Kansas 71, North Texas 59
Ochai Agbaji led the Jayhawks in scoring for the fourth time in as many games, scoring 18 points as Kansas toppled the Mean Green in the first round of the ESPN Events Invitational.
The Jayhawks (4-0) advance to the semifinals on Friday against Dayton, a 76-60 winner over Miami.
Remy Martin, the preseason pick as Big 12 Player of the Year, drained three 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the second half after making just two treys on the season. Martin finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. His rapid-fire contribution, along with 16 points from Christian Braun, complemented Agbaji, who came into the tournament as the nation’s leading scorer with a 26.3-point average.
No. 6 Baylor 69, VCU 61
Matthew Mayer scored 15 points and Kendall Brown added 14, all in the second half, as the Bears fought off the Rams in a rugged semifinal game in the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
The Bears remained undefeated and will face Michigan State on Friday in the tournament final. VCU will square off against UConn in the third-place game, also on Friday.
Baylor (6-0) led by a bucket after a gritty first half in which nearly every possession was highly contested. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua added 13 points for Baylor. VCU’s Vince Williams led all scorers with 17 points, with Levi Stockard III hitting for 13 for the Rams (3-3) in the loss.
No. 19 Auburn 62, Loyola Chicago 53
Jabari Smith scored 14 points to lift the Tigers over the Ramblers in the consolation bracket of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Walker Kessler had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Wendell Green Jr. added 10 points for Auburn, which rebounded from a double-overtime loss to Connecticut on Wednesday. Marquise Kennedy scored 13 points and Braden Norris added 10 points in defeat for Loyola Chicago (4-2), which was coming off a two-point loss to Michigan State in Wednesday’s first round.
Auburn (4-1) outrebounded Loyola by a 36-26 margin and forced the Ramblers into 18 turnovers, which helped the Tigers overcome a 27.8 shooting percentage (5 of 18) from 3-point range.
Michigan State 64, No. 22 UConn 60
A.J. Hoggard hit two free throws with 30.3 seconds left to put the Spartans ahead for good as they toppled the Huskies in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Hoggard drove to the bucket and got the call, though replays showed he initiated contact with R.J. Cole. It was the fifth foul on Cole, sending the Huskies’ point guard to the bench. Their last two possessions ended with a turnover and an air ball from 3.
Malik Hall added two foul shots with 17 seconds remaining for Michigan State (5-1) and Tyson Walker sank one more with 2.5 seconds on the clock. Gabe Brown led the Spartans with 16 points. Adama Sanogo scored 18 points and snatched 10 rebounds for UConn (5-1), while Tyrese Martin chipped in 16 points and 12 boards.
–Field Level Media