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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dons overcome Denver

Associated Press

Tyrone Riley made a layin with 1.3 seconds left and the West Coast Conference San Francisco Dons (17-13) won their first postseason game in 26 years, defeating the Denver Pioneers 69-67 in an opening-round game of the NIT on Wednesday night.

John Cox scored 15 of his 27 points in the final 11 minutes, 11 seconds, rallying the Dons from a 49-44 deficit. Cox, Kobe Bryant’s first cousin, scored three straight baskets to get the Dons back in it. His 3-pointer with 7:17 remaining tied the game at 55.

After Denver’s Erik Benzel, formerly of Ferris High, hit a 3 to make it 65-64 with 1:19 left, Cox converted two free throws with 43 seconds to go.

Rodney Billups, the younger brother of Detroit Pistons star Chauncey Billups, then hit a 3 from the top of the arc with 29 seconds left. USF set up a final play with 20.9 to go, but Cox called timeout near midcourt with 7 seconds on the clock under defensive pressure by Andrew Carpenter.

Then USF’s Andre Hazel drove into the paint and made a pretty pass to Riley for the winning basket. Carpenter received a baseball pass, but missed a short baseline jumper at the buzzer.

Riley finished with 16 points and six rebounds for USF, which advances to play Friday night at home against Cal State Fullerton. Denver finished 20-11.

Other opening-round games:

Cal State Fullerton 85, Oregon State 83 (OT): At Corvallis, Ore., Ralphy Holmes hit a jump shot at the buzzer and the Titans (20-10) held off the Beavers (17-15) to advance in the NIT for the first time.

Buffalo 81, Drexel 76 (OT): At Amherst, N.Y., Mark Bortz had 20 points and Turner Battle added 19 to lift the Bulls (23-9) to a win over the Dragons (17-12).

W. Kentucky 88, Kent St. 80 (OT): At Bowling Green, Ky., Antonio Haynes scored 29 points and had three steals, leading the Hilltoppers (22-8) to victory over the mistake-plagued Golden Flashes (20-13).

Saint Joseph’s 53, Hofstra 44: At Philadelphia, Saint Joseph’s got an emotional lift from John Bryant’s return to action and Pat Carroll scored 16 points to lead the Hawks (20-11) to a win over the Pride (21-9). Bryant missed three weeks with a broken arm after taking a hard foul from a Temple player, ordered by coach John Chaney.

Davidson 77, Virginia Commonwealth 62: At Richmond, Va., Brendan Winters scored 14 points and the Wildcats (22-8) used a 26-5 run spanning the halves to take command and beat the Rams (19-13).

Wichita State 85, Houston 69: At Wichita, Kan., Jamar Howard scored 21 points and Kyle Wilson added 20 to lead the Shockers (21-9) past the Cougars (18-14).

SW Missouri State 105, Rice 82: At Springfield, Mo., Tamarr Maclin scored 20 points to lead the Bears (19-12) to a win over the Owls (19-12).

First-round games:

TCU 60, Miami-Ohio 58: At Oxford, Ohio, Nile Murry hit an 18-foot jumper with 4 seconds left to lift the Horned Frogs (20-13) to a win over the RedHawks (19-11). RedHawks senior Chet Mason was called for an offensive foul with the scored tied at 58 and 35.5 seconds remaining.

Vanderbilt 67, Indiana 60: At Bloomington, Ind., Corey Smith had 25 points and Commodores (19-13) held off a late rally by the Hoosiers (15-14) for a victory.

Texas A&M 82, Clemson 74: At College Station, Texas, freshman center Joseph Jones scored a season-high 25 points to lift the Aggies (20-9) to their first postseason win in 23 years, at the expense of the Tigers (16-6).

Maryland 85, Oral Roberts 72: At College Park, Md., Travis Garrison had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the Terrapins (17-12) ended a four-game losing streak by beating the Golden Eagles (25-8).

Memphis 90, Northeastern 65: At Memphis, Tenn., Jeremy Hunt scored a career-high 24 points and five Memphis players scored in double figures, leading the Tigers (20-15) to a win over the Huskies (21-10).

Georgetown 64, Boston U. 34: At Washington, D.C., Jeff Green and Darrel Owens had 17 points apiece, and coach John Thompson III got his first postseason victory as the Hoyas (18-12) routed the Terriers (20-9).

Selvig gets Big Sky coach of year

Montana head coach Robin Selvig was named the 2005 Big Sky Conference women’s basketball coach of the year for leading the team to the second straight Big Sky Conference title and a berth in the NCAA championship tournament.

Cal fires women’s coach

California women’s basketball coach Caren Horstmeyer was fired after her fifth straight losing season. Horstmeyer went 52-91 in her five years with the Golden Bears.

ACC slaps Hewitt’s wrist

The Atlantic Coast Conference reprimanded Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt for criticizing the officiating in Sunday’s ACC tournament championship game. ACC commissioner John Swofford said the comments violated the conference’s sportsmanlike policy prohibiting public criticism of officiating.

Stokes headed to East Carolina

East Carolina will hire South Carolina assistant Ricky Stokes to replace Bill Herrion as men’s basketball coach, The Associated Press learned. Stokes is the former coach of Virginia Tech and played at Virginia under Terry Holland, now the athletic director at East Carolina.

Langford could miss opener

Kansas swingman Keith Langford missed practice because of a recurrence of the flu and remains questionable for the Jayhawks’ NCAA Tournament opener against Bucknell.

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