Cal cruises in NIT opener; USF knocked off by LSU 

David Kravish had 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, Jordan Mathews added 13 points off the bench and the host Cal men’s basketball team beat Utah Valley 77-64 Wednesday in the first round of the NIT.

The shorthanded Golden Bears (20-13) played without Pac-12 Conference leading rebounder Richard Solomon, forcing coach Mike Montgomery to go with a four-guard lineup to complement Kravish. It worked well, as the trio of Justin Cobbs, Jabari Bird and Tyrone Wallace repeatedly beat the Wolverines down the lane and with timely buckets from the perimeter.

Cobbs finished with 13 points and seven assists, Bird scored 11 and Wallace had nine points for Cal.

The second-seeded Bears will host No. 3 seed Arkansas in the second round Monday night.

LSU 71, USF 63

Jarell Martin scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half and LSU beat host USF in the first round of the NIT. Shavon Coleman and Johnny O’Bryant III each added 13 points as the Tigers (20-13) won their first NIT game in 12 years. Cole Dickerson scored 24 points to lead the Dons (21-12). Tim Derkson added 12 points.

NCAA TOURNAMENT

Cal Poly 81, Texas Southern 69

Chris Eversley scored 19 points and Cal Poly avoided its 20th loss of the season and won its first NCAA Tournament game with a victory over Texas Southern in the First Four. The Mustangs (14-19) lost 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.

Tennessee 78, Iowa 65 (OT)

Jarnell Stokes dominated inside as Tennessee finally caught up in the closing minutes of regulation, and then opened overtime with a three-point play that got the Volunteers headed to a victory over Iowa in the First Four. The Volunteers’ late comeback sent them to Raleigh, N.C., where they’ll play sixth-seeded Massachusetts on Friday in the Midwest Regional.

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