Western Kentucky 79, Boston College 62
Where: E. A. Diddle Arena, Bowling Green, Kentucky
BOWLING GREEN – Justin Johnson scored 19 points with 12 rebounds to lead fourth-seeded Western Kentucky past fifth-seeded Boston College 79-62 in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on Tuesday night at E. A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky.
Western Kentucky (25-10) advances to face Region 3 top seed Southern California. The Trojans (24-11) posted a 103-98 win over No. 8 seed UNC Asheville in double overtime on Tuesday.
It was the 15th double-double of the season for Johnson and the 39th of his career. Taveion Hollingsworth scored 18 points and Darius Thompson added 17 points, eight assists and six boards for the Hilltoppers, who shot a blistering 55.4 percent (31 for 56).
Ky Bowman finished with 18 points and seven rebounds and Jerome Robinson had 17 points for Boston College (19-16). The Eagles won a pair of ACC tournament games before falling short to then-No. 19 ranked Clemson in their first tourney quarterfinal appearance since 2013.
Western Kentucky nearly played its way into the NCAA Tournament after winning its first two Conference USA tournament games before a heartbreaking 67-66 loss to fourth-seeded Marshall in the championship game.
Hollingsworth’s 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer put Western Kentucky up 59-44 entering the fourth.
The Hilltoppers stretched their lead to as many as 17 points early in the final period before Boston College cut the deficit to 10 at 70-60 with 3:56 remaining on a pair of Bowman free throws. The hosts scored the next seven points to seal the result.
During the third period, Johnson moved past Chris Robinson into 12th place on the Hilltoppers’ all-time scoring list, putting the Hilltoppers up 56-43 at the time.
Western Kentucky led 41-33 at halftime after outscoring the visitors 22-9 in the second quarter.
Boston College was ahead 24-19 after one.
–Field Level Media