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Wednesday, February 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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NIT men: BYU advances to semifinals; Saint Mary’s falls short

Freshman Zac Seljaas made 5 of 6 3-pointers and scored 19 points and BYU used a big second half to beat Creighton 88-82 on Tuesday night in the NIT quarterfinals in Provo, Utah.

The Cougars (26-10) will face Valparaiso (29-6), which beat BYU’s fellow West Coast Conference member Saint Mary’s, at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

Seljaas nailed an open 3-pointer to give BYU its first double-digit lead at 61-51 with 11:19 left. Then Seljaas and Nick Emery hit 3s on the Cougars next two possessions to cap a 12-1 run for a 67-52 lead.

Kyle Collinsworth missed two free throws with 41.2 seconds left and Cole Huff made a contested layup to cut Creighton’s deficit to 82-77. But Emery made 4 of 4 free throws from there to secure it.

Kyle Davis added 18 points for BYU. Emery had 17 and Collinsworth battled through the flu bug to finish with 10.

Geoffrey Groselle led Creighton (20-15) with 22 points. Huff had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Creighton led by as many as 12 points in the first half but made just two of its last 11 field-goal attempts and trailed BYU 38-37 at halftime.

Valparaiso 60, Saint Mary’s 44: Alec Peters scored 20 points for his seventh straight 20-plus game and the Crusaders (29-6) advanced to their first NIT semifinals with a victory over the Gaels (29-6) in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Tevonn Walker opened the second-half scoring with a 3-pointer to give Valparaiso a 32-31 lead – its first since 17-16. Shane Hammink’s putback extended it to 40-31 and capped a 16-0 run. Saint Mary’s was held scoreless for nine-plus minutes, spanning the halves, and missed it first 10 shots of the second half.

The shooting troubles continued for Saint Mary’s as the Gaels shot 20.7 percent in the second half and scored just 13 points.

Keith Carter added 11 points for Valparaiso and Vashil Fernandez caused problems inside with nine points, seven rebounds and six blocks. Peters has totaled 74 points and 24 rebounds in three NIT games.

Peters sank a 3-pointer from the wing to cut Valparaiso’s deficit to 31-29 at halftime. He scored 11 in the first half, but the Crusaders were hurt by seven turnovers.

Dane Pineau led Saint Mary’s with 11 points. The Gaels made four of their first seven 3-pointers but hit 1 of 12 after that.

Valpo set an Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC) record with 5,444 attendees.

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