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Illinois Wins NIT Opener, Illinois State & Northwestern Out in First Round
Illinois 76 Stony Brook 66

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (AP) -- Illinois felt the sting of being left out of the NCAA Tournament.

Then, the Fighting Illini were forced to hit the road to start the National Invitation Tournament despite being a top seed in their bracket because Cirque du Soleil was playing at Assembly Hall. Despite all that, Illinois was able to beat eighth-seeded Stony Brook 76-66 Wednesday night in front of a loud sellout crowd of 4,423 at Stony Brook Arena.

Mike Davis led Illinois (20-14) with 17 points and Demetri McCamey had 16 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. D.J. Richardson contributed 16 points and Mike Tisdale added 15 for the Fighting Illini, who led 38-36 at halftime before getting 3-pointers from McCamey, Tisdale and Richardson to open the second half for a 48-38 lead.

The Illini made all eight of their free throws in the final minute to move into a second-round game at home Monday night against fourth seed Kent State.


Dayton 63 Illinois State 42

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- Chris Johnson scored 13 points and Dayton used a 19-1 second-half run to pull away and beat Illinois State 63-42 in the opening round of the NIT Wednesday night.

Chris Wright grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Dayton (21-12) to a 42-27 advantage on the boards. The Flyers will play at Cincinnati in the second round

Osiris Eldridge, the Missouri Valley Conference's leading scorer, shot only 4 of 15 but led the Redbirds (22-11) with 12 points.

Dayton saw its 13-point lead cut to 42-37 with 10:27 to play, but Johnson started the Flyers' huge run with a 3-pointer.

Four minutes later, Marcus Johnson hit a 3-pointer and a pull-up jumper on consecutive trips to put the Flyers up 54-38 with 6:07 left. Dayton scored the next seven points before Eldridge hit a 3-pointer to end a nearly eight-minute field-goal drought for the Illinois State.


Rhode Island 76 Northwestern 64

KINGSTON, R.I. (AP) -- Akeem Richmond scored 14 of his 16 points during a big first-half run as Rhode Island defeated Northwestern 76-64 Wednesday night in an NIT opener.

The Rams (24-9) will host a second-round game against Nevada.

Michael Thompson led the Wildcats (20-14) with 24 points, while Northwestern's leading scorer, John Shurna, was held to 15, 3.3 below his season average.

Northwestern led 22-20 when Richmond scored 14 consecutive points for Rhode Island in a span of 3:07 which helped give the Rams a 34-28 lead.

Richmond connected on all four of his 3-pointers during the run.

Rhode Island's Orion Outerbridge converted a three-point play with 1:04 left in the half to give Rhode Island a 37-30 lead at intermission.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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