Rayvonte Rice scored seven straight points late in the game and finished with 28, rallying Illinois past Boston University 66-62 on Wednesday night in the first round of the NIT.
The second-seeded Illini fought back from a 30-13 first-half deficit. Rice made the key play with 2:07 left when his steal and three-point play trimmed it to 61-60. He added two free throws and a driving layup to give Illinois a 64-61 lead.
Dom Morris missed a contested layup on an inbounds play with 11 seconds left that would have tied it for BU, the regular-season champion in the Patriot League. Nnanna Egwu added two free throws to ice it for Illinois (20-14), which advanced to play No. 3 seed Clemson in the second round. Malcolm Hill had 10 points for the Illini.
It was the first meeting between Illinois and BU (24-11), which was seeking its first win in the NIT after five losses. D.J. Irving had 17 points for the seventh-seeded Terriers and point guard Maurice Watkins had seven points and 12 assists. Morris scored 10.
Louisiana Tech 89, Iona 88: Kenneth "Speedy" Smith put back a rebound with 2.2 seconds left to give Louisiana Tech the victory in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The back-and-forth game featured 14 lead changes and eight ties, with four lead changes in the final 69 seconds as the teams matched shot-for-shot.
The Bulldogs (28-7) had six players in double figures led by Jaron Johnson's 15 points. Smith added 14.
David Laury, whose two free throws gave the Gaels (22-11) a one-point lead with 13.2 seconds remaining, led Iona with 21 points and 16 rebounds. A.J. English scored 21 points as well, 19 of which came in the first half.
Chris Anderson, whose missed shot Smith grabbed for the game-winning basket, had a double-double for the Bulldogs with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Cal Poly 81, Texas Southern 69: Chris Eversley scored 19 points to help Cal Poly avoid its 20th loss of the season and win its first NCAA tournament game.
The Mustangs (14-19) were 0-3 and 4-9 early before losing nine of 11 heading into the Big West Conference tournament — which they won to earn the program's first NCAA bid.
The team with the worst record in the tournament now moves on to face the one with the best — top-seeded Wichita State (34-0) — in the second round in St. Louis on Friday.
There have been 23 teams with losing records in the NCAA tournament since 1955. Only three teams had won in the first/opening round.
Aaric Murray closed out his career with 38 points for Texas Southern (19-15), champs of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament.