Chris Eversley scored 19 points, and Cal Poly won its first NCAA tournament game – and avoided its 20th loss of the season – with an 81-69 victory over Texas Southern on Wednesday night in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio.
The Mustangs (14-19) were 0-3 and 4-9 early before losing nine of 11 heading into the Big West Conference tournament – which they won to earn the program’s first NCAA bid.
The team with the worst record in the tournament now moves on to face the one with the best – top-seeded Wichita State (34-0) – in the second round in St. Louis on Friday.
Aaric Murray, the former La Salle and West Virginia player, closed out his career with 38 points for Texas Southern (19-15), champs of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament.
Illinois St. 77, Morehead St. 67: Daishon Knight scored 18 points, Bobby Hunter added 16, and both grabbed five rebounds in the Redbirds’ first-round victory at home.
Illinois State (17-15) led 33-25 at halftime, then held on from there. Reggie Lynch finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots, and Nick Zeisloft chipped in 13 points.
Kareem Storey scored 19 points for Morehead State (20-14).
Penn St. 69, Hampton 65: The Nittany Lions watched an eight-point halftime lead shrink, but held off Hampton’s charge in a first-round win at home.
D.J. Newbill had 19 points, Brandon Taylor added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Tim Frazier and Geno Thorpe scored 10 points apiece for Penn State (16-17). Frazier grabbed seven rebounds and dished three assists.
Brian Darden scored 22 points, and Deron Powers chipped in 19 for Hampton (18-13), which was outscored 30-21 at the free-throw line.