BROOKLYN – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving Day? How about a great tournament field for next year’s annual preseason NIT tourney to be held in November of 2018?
The NIT Season Tip-Off will return to Barclays Center for a fourth-straight season during Thanksgiving Week of 2018, featuring an elite group of nationally-ranked teams from college basketball’s top conferences. The field is scheduled to include: the Kansas Jayhawks of the Big 12 Conference, the Louisville Cardinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the BIG EAST Conference’s Marquette Golden Eagles and the Tennessee Volunteers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). A round-up of the competition, includes:
Next year will mark the fourth-straight year at Barclays Center for the NIT Season Tip-Off, which has been played in New York City every November since 1985.
The current field for play this week features Seton Hall, Virginia, Vanderbilt and Rhode Island.
THE BAHAMAS – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – Villanova and Marquette picked up tournament wins and Providence won a home game at the buzzer in Wednesday’s BIG EAST conference action.
Jalen Brunson (1)
Villanova, ranked No. 5 in this week’s Associated Press poll, defeated Western Kentucky 66-58 in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Jalen Brunson scored a game-high 18 points and Mikal Bridges added 17 points. Bridges also had eight rebounds and five steals. The Wildcats used a 12-4 run early in the second half to take control.
Providence’s Kyron Cartwright provided the dramatics of the day with a 3-pointer at the buzzer that gave the Friars a 66-65 win over Belmont at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The top-of-the-key trey was his only 3-pointer of the night. Cartwright finished with 17 points. Rodney Bullock added 15 points and eight rebounds.
Marquette returns to the mainland after a posting a 2-1 record at the Maui Invitational. On Wednesday, the Golden Eagles beat LSU 94-84 in the third-place game. Andrew Rowsey continued his torrid shooting with 30 points, including 16-of-16 from the foul line. He leads the BIG EAST with a 24.8 scoring average.
In between the turkey and the pumpkin pie, BIG EAST fans can feast on six league teams in action on Thursday. Villanova starts the day’s action at 12:30 p.m. ET against Tennessee at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis. St. John’s meets Oregon State in the first round of the Advocare Invitational on ESPNU at 2 p.m.
At 5 p.m., Xavier begins play in the Las Vegas Invitational. FS1 will televise the Musketeers’ game against George Washington. Seton Hall battles Rhode Island in the NIT Season Tip-Off on ESPNU at 6 p.m. from Barclays Center. Butler and DePaul are playing in the 16-team PK80 Tournament in Portland, Ore. The Bulldogs meet Texas at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and the Blue Demons take on No. 5 Michigan State at 11:30 p.m.
BIG EAST teams are a combined 34-7 this season going into Thursday.
NEWARK – Goalie controversy? What goalie controversy?
“My role is the same,” said Anton Khudobin, who made 40 saves to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on Wednesday night.
Jake DeBrusk and Patrice Bergeron scored in the first period, and Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winner in the 11-round shootout for Boston (9-7-4). The Bruins have won three in a row behind Khudobin.
“He was great,” Bergeron said of Khudobin. “Everything he sees — and doesn’t see — right now, he’s stopping.”
Even though the Devils outshot Boston 42-29, New Jersey dropped to 12-5-4.
Cory Schneider made 27 saves, and Jesper Bratt and Brian Gibbons scored for the Devils.
“We played well enough to win,” New Jersey coach John Hynes said.
The Bruins went into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead, thanks to DeBrusk and Bergeron.
DeBrusk opened the scoring with his fifth of the season at 1:25. Boston’s lead doubled 9:37 later when Bergeron finished a two-on-one with David Pastrnak by one-timing a feed from the left circle past a diving Schneider.
Bratt’s power-play goal at 17:10 got the Devils on the board. The goal was his sixth of the season.
“We were playing but we weren’t digging in and attached to the game,” Hynes said. “We didn’t respond as well as we needed to in the first.”
Neither team scored in the second, even though Boston had three power plays. Blake Coleman had the best scoring chance with a short-handed breakaway, but Khudobin stoned New Jersey’s rookie center.
“We’re playing with our heart right now,” Khudobin said. “We put everything into one game and focus on that game.”
New Jersey killed all four Boston power plays.
The Devils spent the third period pressuring the Bruins, and it paid off when Gibbons redirected Damon Severson’s shot at 15:16 to force overtime.
“We talked about (how to) close games,” Bergeron said. “It took us way longer than we wanted but we found a way and we need more of that.”
McAvoy snapped a quick backhander in the 11th round of the shootout, after New Jersey’s Taylor Hall and Boston’s Pastrnak scored in the first and second rounds, respectively.
“When you get that deep into a shootout it’s a bit of a crapshoot,” Schneider said. “Unfortunately they came out on top.”
NOTES: Boston C Ryan Spooner played for the first time after sustaining a torn right adductor against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 15. Even with the addition of Spooner, the Bruins were short-handed as LW Anders Bjork (undisclosed), LW Brad Marchand (upper-body injury), RW David Backes (colon surgery) and D Adam McQuaid (broken right fibula) did not dress. Boston also scratched LW Matt Beleskey, D Torey Krug and D Paul Postma. … New Jersey placed RW Kyle Palmieri on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 20 with a broken right foot. The team announced he is expected to miss four to six weeks. … New Jersey scratched D Dalton Prout and RW Stefan Noesen. … New Jersey’s game Friday against Vancouver will dovetail with the shared NHL and NHLPA program Hockey Fights Cancer. Devils C Brian Boyle announced during training camp he had been diagnosed with leukemia. Boyle has a goal and an assist for two points in the 10 games this season.
MIAMI — The Boston Celtics were about to erase another double-digit deficit and extend their winning streak when two fortunate bounces from a Dion Waiters’ 3-point attempt helped squash the rally. Waiters’ shot late in the fourth quarter bounced off the rim, the top of the backboard and through the net as the Miami Heat held off the Celtics for a 104-98 victory Wednesday night.
The win snapped the Celtics’ 16-game winning streak. The loss was Boston’s first since a 108-100 defeat at Milwaukee on Oct. 18.
Goran Dragic scored a game-high 27 points. Waiters finished with 26 points.
“Those guys didn’t win 16 games for nothing,” Waiters said. “It was a battle.”
The Heat nearly squandered a 14-point lead midway through the fourth as the Celtics (16-3) ran off 13 straight points and got within 91-90 on Marcus Smart’s two free throws with 3:14 remaining.
Waiters’ responded with consecutive 3-pointers for a seven-point advantage. The first of the 3-pointers took the odd bounces that stopped the Celtics’ run and gave the Heat (8-9) the needed rally to withstand another Boston comeback.
“We needed to stop the bleeding,” Waiters said. “I feel like we had great looks but when the tide turns it’s hard.”
Boston’s final victory of the streak against Dallas on Monday required a rally from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter that ended with a Celtics’ win in overtime.
Dragic clinched the victory with three free throws in the final 28 seconds.
Waiters overcame a scoreless outing against Indiana on Sunday. He shot 11-for-24 from the field after an 0-for-10 shooting performance against the Pacers.
Miami snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Celtics. The Heat had not defeated Boston since March 25, 2015.
In addition to the streak-ending victory over the Celtics, Miami shook off the embarrassment of a 25-point loss against the Pacers.
“I don’t even care about the result right now,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s all about behavior and habits. Guys really brought a purity to the work, a focus, a discipline the past two days.”
Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and Jayson Tatum finished with 18 points for the Celtics.
“Teams are coming out and giving us their best shots,” Irving said. “They made shots and got into a bit of a rhythm. You can tell they were locked into this game. They wanted it and proved it.
“They kept hitting us. They deserved that win tonight.”
The Celtics cut a 16-point deficit to 66-58 on Smart’s jumper with 4:09 remaining in the third quarter. Miami, however, outscored Boston 13-5 the remainder of the quarter.
“We were able to erase back quickly to give ourselves a decent chance,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “We have to get better at what we’re trying to do.”
Behind Dragic’s 20 points, the Heat built a 17-point lead in the first half. Dragic’s two free throws with 5:15 remaining in the second period gave Miami its largest lead of the half at 43-26.
Al Horford’s jumper with 30 seconds remaining in the half got the Celtics within 10-points before Dragic’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds left gave the Heat a 54-41 lead at halftime.
“We know that Boston is a great team and they will make a run,” Dragic said. “But we were really cool and calm.”
NOTES: Celtics coach Brad Stevens limited F Marcus Morris’ minutes against Miami because of knee stiffness. Morris played 21 minutes and scored 14 points as a reserve. … The Celtics fell one game short of tying the 1959-60 squad that won 17 straight for the third-best run in club history. … The Heat begin a four-game road trip Friday in Detroit. Miami is 4-4 in its first eight road games.