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NIT Roundup

March 21, 2000

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) _ For the past couple of years, Penn State coach Jerry Dunn’s players begged him to let them play a more up-tempo game.

Then the Nittany Lions met Siena, and the race was on.

Penn State won the shootout 105-103 Monday night _ in regulation, not overtime _ but the Lions looked too exhausted to celebrate their second-round NIT victory.

``I enjoy it, to be honest with you,″ Joe Crispin said of the fast pace. ``But it wore on me. I’m sure it was a very entertaining game _ for people to watch.″

A fast pace is what Siena wanted. That’s what it always wants.

But Penn State had little trouble keeping up: The Lions went 42-of-49 from the line, and in the end beat the No. 3 scoring team in the country at its own game. The Lions shot 59 percent from the field, getting 28 points from Crispin, 22 from Jarrett Stephens and 18 from Titus Ivory.

``Usually, in those type of games, we win in the end, any game in the 100s,″ the Saints’ Jim Cantamessa said. ``We’re used to playing that way. But they did a pretty good job of staying with it.″

In the third round, Penn State (17-15) gets Kent in State College on Wednesday. Kent defeated Villanova 81-67.

In other National Invitation Tournament games Monday, it was Notre Dame 76, Xavier 64, and BYU 82, Southern Illinois 57. The Irish get a third home game Wednesday against the Cougars.

Tonight, it’s Arizona State at North Carolina State, New Mexico at Wake Forest, Southwest Missouri State at Mississippi and Georgetown at California.

Near the end of the Penn State-Siena game, when it seemed the scoring was over, Siena roared back for a wild finish.

Penn State led 101-93 with 1:46 left. But when Marcus Faison hit a layup and two 3-pointers, it was 103-101 with 34 seconds left.

Then Dwayne Archibald stole the inbounds pass, and Cantamessa tied it at 103 with 27 seconds left.

At the other end, Crispin held the ball at halfcourt, then passed to Ivory, who drove into the lane and put in the winner off the glass with 2.4 seconds to play. Fans stormed the court as if Penn State was headed to the Final Four, not the quarterfinals of the NIT.

``Certainly wasn’t boring,″ Dunn said. ``This is as wide-open a game as I’ve ever been involved in.″

Faison had 27 points, Cantamessa 20 and Scott Knapp 19 for Siena (24-9).

``Our guys did about everything they could to win this game,″ coach Paul Hewitt said. ``It’s a shame we had to lose that way.″

Penn State has pop sensation Ricky Martin to thank for home-court advantage.

The Saints have the best record of any team in the NIT and drew 3,000 more fans than Penn State in the first round, so they expected to be hosts for the second round. But the game ended up in State College because Ricky Martin was booked to play at Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y., Siena’s home court.

``I could even purchase a few Ricky Martin tickets when they come to town,″ Dunn said. ``But I’ll probably just send him a T-shirt.″

Penn State hadn’t scored more than 100 points since Jan. 11, 1992, when it beat Morgan State 102-57.

BYU 82, Southern Illinois 57

Terrell Lyday scored 19 points, Michael Vranes had 17 and Mekeli Wesley added 16 for BYU.

The Cougars (22-10) shot 51 percent. Visiting Southern Illinois (20-13) struggled to find an offensive rhythm and got buried by 22 turnovers and 28 percent shooting.

Kent 81, Villanova 67

At Villanova, Kyrem Massey scored 17 points and Demetric Shaw added 12, including eight straight in a clinching second-half run for Kent (23-7). John Whorton added 15.

Gary Buchanan led Villanova with 20 points. The Wildcats’ two senior starters, Malik Allen and Brian Lynch, combined for 11 points on 5-for-18 shooting.

Notre Dame 76, Xavier 64

David Graves scored 24 points and Troy Murphy added 21, giving the Irish (20-14) their first 20-win season in more than a decade.

The Musketeers (21-12) took 36 3-pointers, but hit only four in the final 10 minutes.

Xavier cut the Notre Dame lead to 64-61 on Maurice McAfee’s 3-pointer with 2:09 left. But Murphy converted a three-point play on Notre Dame’s next possession, and the Irish went 9-of-10 from the line in the final 1:19.

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