Vanderbilt 65, Wichita St. 63
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Corey Smith hit a layup as time expired to give Vanderbilt a 65-63 victory over Wichita State on Monday night in the second round of the NIT.
Mario Moore hit nine 3-pointers and scored a career-high 31 points for the Commodores. Vanderbilt (20-13) will play at Memphis on Wednesday night for a berth in the semifinals in New York.
With the game tied at 63 with 0.7 seconds left, Jason Holwerda threw a pass the length of the court to an open Smith, who caught the ball and scored as time expired, touching off a wild celebration on the Memorial Gym floor.
Moments earlier, Wichita State’s Jamar Howard nearly forced overtime by converting an offensive rebound off a missed free throw to tie the game.
Vanderbilt’s DeMarre Carroll blocked a potential layup by Howard with 6 seconds remaining to protect a 61-60 lead. Moore made two free throws to push Vanderbilt’s lead to 63-60. The Commodores fouled Sean Ogirri, who made the first foul shot and missed the second intentionally.
Moore hit four 3-pointers in the final 4 minutes as Vanderbilt recovered from blowing a 12-point lead in the second half.
Julian Terrell scored 14 points and had 14 rebounds for Vanderbilt, which extended its nonconference winning streak to 24 games.
Paul Miller led Wichita State (22-10) with 13 points and six rebounds. PJ Couisanrd, Matt Braueuer and Randy Burns all scored 11.
Moore has a history of playing well in the postseason, averaging 17.2 points in 11 career SEC, NCAA and NIT tournament games while just 9.7 in regular-season games. Against Wichita State, he had 17 points in the first half.
Vanderbilt lost a 12-point second-half lead when Wichita State went on a 17-2 run to take a 50-46 lead with 4:36 to play.
Vanderbilt set a school-record for home victories with 17 and recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1993-94.