McNeese St. 86, Dayton 75
LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) _ Forwards Jerome Batiste and Kenny Jimerson combined for 45 points as McNeese State claimed its 21st consecutive homecourt victory with an 86-75 triumph over Dayton in Wednesday night’s first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
McNeese, the 21-10 Southland Conference runnersup, advanced to the NIT’s second round at an unannounced site against an unspecified opponent.
Dayton, led by Damon Goodwin’s 31 points, finished its season at 17-13 and a 2-11 record on the road.
Batiste, an honorable mention All-America, had 24 points and led the Cowboys with 12 rebounds. Jimerson scored 21 points and Mike Marshall had 15 for McNeese.
Ronald Cox also had 10 points for McNeese, including a jumper with 15:03 left in the first half that gave the Cowboys a 10-8 lead they never relinquished.
McNeese, 15-0 at home this season, built a 39-28 halftime lead and extended that to 81-60 with 1:50 left in the game. Dayton, a Midwest independent, then managed a 15-5 spurt, but it fell far short.
A big factor was McNeese’s 33-for-53 field goal shooting, 62.5 percent. Dayton managed 31-of-59 for 52.5 percent, although the Flyers were a perfect 13-of-13 from the foul line, where McNeese got 20 of its points.