Arizona shook off erratic shooting to go on an 11-0 run midway through the second half last night to defeat Kentucky, 63-51, in New York for its third Preseason NIT championship.
No. 8 Arizona (4-0) and No. 11 Kentucky (3-1) had shooting struggles until midway through the second half. Leading 35-33, Arizona suddenly found its accuracy.
Consecutive three-point plays by Richard Jefferson and Gilbert Arenas started the run. After another basket by Jefferson, Jason Gardner made a three-pointer to give Arizona a 46-33 lead.
Jefferson was 7 of 10 and had 15 points; Arenas was 6 of 10 and had a game-high 20 points.
Tayshaun Prince scored a team-high 18 points for Kentucky, which made 21 of 59 shots.
* MICHIGAN STATE 59, SOUTH CAROLINA 56: It was not supposed to be this difficult for No. 3 Michigan State. Even without star guard Mateen Cleaves.
Morris Peterson, Charlie Bell and Andre Hutson rallied the Spartans to secure a spot in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Shootout in Bayamon.
The Gamecocks' Travis Kraft tried a heave at the buzzer for the tie, but it fell short.
The Spartans (3-0) will face No. 20 Texas for the title. South Carolina (3-1) will play No. 18 DePaul for third place.
Michigan State started strong, led by 14 points at one point and entered halftime up 33-20. But the Gamecocks went on a 12-4 run to take a 44-43 lead with 7 minutes 21 seconds remaining.
However, Bell made a three-pointer to give Michigan State the lead. After South Carolina's Damien Kinloch tied it, Bell followed with a jump shot. Peterson made two free throws and two running layups, the last after stripping the ball from point guard Aaron Lucas, and the Spartans (3-0) led 57-50 with 2:25 left.
* TEXAS 68, DEPAUL 64: Chris Mihm, who suffered a leg injury earlier in the tournament, scored 23 points to lead the 20th-ranked Longhorns to the Puerto Rico Shootout championship game in Bayamon. They will play No. 3 Michigan State. Quentin Richardson led the Blue Demons (2-1) with 27 points and 10 rebounds.
* INDIANA 67, TEMPLE 59: A.J. Guyton scored 22 points and Kirk Haston added 20 as the Hoosiers (2-0) cruised in the Tip-Off Classic in Springfield, Mass.
Lynn Greer made six three-pointers and scored 25 points to lead the No. 5 Owls (1-1), who played without point guard Pepe Sanchez (sprained ankle).
* CINCINNATI 91, CLEVELAND STATE 56: The top-ranked Bearcats' veteran front court and young back court again worked well together in an opening round win in the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawaii. Cincinnati is 2-0, the Vikings are 0-2.
* TENNESSEE 86, LONG ISLAND 47: Freshman forward Ron Slay scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the No. 17 Volunteers (3-0) to the home win. Tennessee has won 23 consecutive home nonconference games. The Blackbirds were forced into 20 first-half turnovers in their season opener.
* KANSAS 111, XAVIER 70: Jeff Boschee scored 16 points as the No. 10 Jayhawks (3-0) advanced to the title game of the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage. Kansas will play Georgia Tech, which beat Washington.
* GONZAGA 81, E. WASHINGTON 47: Reserve Zach Gourde scored 22 points as the No. 25 Bulldogs (2-0) cruised in their first-ever home game as a ranked team. The Eagles fell to 0-3.