PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Frantz Massenat had 18 points and 14 assists, and Chris Fouch added 19 points as Drexel shook off the disappointment of not making the NCAA tournament by trouncing Central Florida 81-56 in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday night.
The Dragons (28-6), out of the Colonial Athletic Association, were viewed as one of the bigger snubs from the NCAA field, and coach Bruiser Flint made it a point this week to say the team would bounce back and "try to go out and win the NIT."
So far, so good.
Drexel, which set a school record for wins, scored the first nine points, and never looked back. The Dragons led 37-24 at the half and will now prepare to host Northern Iowa in the second round next week.
Keith Clanton led the Knights (22-11) with 12 points.
NORTHERN IOWA 67, SAINT JOSEPH'S 65
Seth Tuttle sank two free throws with 1.3 seconds left and finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead Northern Iowa over Saint Joseph's.
Marc Sonnen scored 15 points for the Panthers (20-13), who play at Drexel in the second round. The Dragons advanced with an 81-56 win over Central Florida.
Ronald Roberts Jr. tied the game 65-all for the Hawks (20-14) on a thunderous dunk with 7 seconds left to bring them back after they trailed most of the second half.
Roberts fouled Tuttle before the Hawks turned the ball over on their last possession.
Carl Jones scored 24 points and C.J. Aiken had 16 for the Hawks.
MINNESOTA 70, LA SALLE 61
Rodney Williams tied his career high with 21 points, Austin Hollins had 16 and Minnesota beat La Salle to advance to the second round.
Andre Hollins added 13 points for the Golden Gophers (20-14), who will play Miami on Sunday for a spot in the quarterfinals. Minnesota won the NIT in 1993 and '98.
The Gophers closed with a 15-6 run to give coach Tubby Smith his 100th win at the school. Only seven coaches in the program's history have won at least 100 games.
Earl Pettis scored 19 points for La Salle (21-13), while Ramon Galloway added 13 and Jerrell Wright 12. It was the first postseason game for the Explorers since the 1992 NCAA tournament.
MIAMI 66, VALPARAISO 50
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Rion Brown scored 18 points to help Miami beat Valparaiso and advance to a second-round matchup against Minnesota.
The Hurricanes stretched a four-point lead and finished the game with a 16-0 run over the final 3:41. Malcolm Grant and Shane Larkin keyed the run with consecutive 3-pointers.
Larkin scored 12 points and Trey McKinney Jones finished with 10 for Miami (20-12).
The Hurricanes played without leading scorer Durand Scott, who began serving a six-game suspension after he was declared ineligible last week for receiving impermissible benefits.
Ryan Broekhoff had 18 points and Richie Edwards added 16 for the Crusaders (22-12).
NEVADA 68, ORAL ROBERTS 59
TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Dario Hunt had 18 points and 10 rebounds to help Nevada beat Oral Roberts and advance to the second round.
Deonte Burton added 17 points as the Wolf Pack (27-6) earned a matchup against Bucknell, which beat Arizona 65-54.
Burton, Olek Czyz and Malik Story each had eight points in the second half to help rally Nevada after trailing 30-29 at halftime.
Dominique Morrison and Rod Pearson had 13 points apiece for the Golden Eagles (27-7), who were outrebounded 45-29.
BUCKNELL 65, ARIZONA 54
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Mike Muscala had 20 points and nine rebounds to help Bucknell advance to a second-round matchup against Nevada.
Joe Willman had 15 points and Bryson Johnson added 14 for Bucknell (25-9), which dominated from the opening tip and led by as many as 13 in the first half.
The Wildcats briefly took at two-point lead in the second half, but Bucknell held Arizona to 35 percent shooting for the game.
Solomon Hill led the Wildcats (23-12) with 17 points and nine rebounds, and senior Jesse Perry added 14 points. Arizona fell to 0-4 all-time in the NIT.
ILLINOIS STATE 96, MISSISSIPPI 93, OT
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - Tyler Brown scored 26 points, Nic Moore added 24 and Illinois State put on a record-setting shooting display in a first-round win over Mississippi.
Illinois State (21-13) set a Tad Smith Coliseum record for 3-pointers, making 17 of 23 (73.9 percent) from beyond the arc. Brown was 8 of 9, while Moore made all six of his attempts.
LaDarius White scored 25 points and Terrance Henry added 21 for Ole Miss (20-14).
Brown put Illinois State up 61-49 after his seventh 3-pointer with 12:22 remaining in regulation and it looked as if the Redbirds would cruise, but Ole Miss rallied to tie it at 84 and Jarvis Summers just missed a 10-foot jumper at the buzzer to send it to overtime.