Paul Pressey scored 20 points, 11 in the final 7:50, to pace Tulsa to an 89-87 victory over West Virginia in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament tonight.
In the other Madison Square Garden semifinal, Dan Schayes scored two points and had two rebounds in the final minute as Syracuse defeated Purdue, 70-63.
The final will be played Wednesday night.
Pressey was held scoreless in the first 12:10 of the second half but his basket at 7:50 cut the West Virginia lead to 72-69. The 6-foot-5 swing man scored again to make it 78-77 and his three-point play with 4:25 remaining in the game gave the Golden Hurricane an 80-78 lead and also fouled out West Virginia captain Greg Nance.
"I never like a guy to score on me," said Pressey. "Defense is a matter of self-pride. If we're behind, we go into the press with me on top. We try to work hard to slick the ball and make something happen."
"You can't turn it over 29 times like we did and expect to win," said West Virginia Coach Gale Catlett. "When they press you, you've got to realize what's happening and make good decisions. Sometimes we did, but most of the time we didn't."
In the second game, Schayes, son of Dolph Schayes, former Syracuse Nationals pro great, hit a tie-breaking basket with a minute to go to give Syracuse a 63-61 lead it never relinquished. Schayes, although hampered by an injured ankle, also hit a free throw with 30 seconds to go to give the Orangemen a 66-63 advantage, then got two rebounds that led to easy baskets by Erich Santifer and Leo Rautins in the final moments.