Louisiana-Lafayette had never won a national post-season tournament. Their women won the WBI.
Loyola-Chicago had not won a national post-season tournament since the 1963 NCAA championship. They won the CBI.
West Virginia's women have never won a national post-season tournament, and UCLA hasn't since 1978 when women's sports were still the wild, wild west. One of them will win the WNIT.
And now Evansville, which had never won a national post-season tournament as a member of Division I, has one. Egidijus Mockevicius drained 27 points and hauled down 12 boards as the Aces defeated Northern Arizona 71-65.
Evansville led by eight at halftime, but the Lumberjacks stormed back, up five with less than six minutes to play. Evansville ignited then, though, launching a 20-9 run that buried Northern Arizona.
Mockevisius stole the spotlight from teammate D.J. Balentine, who finished with 16 points. But Balentine earned the CIT Most Valuable Player trophy for his offensive fireworks throughout the tournament.
We led with a rundown of all the firsts this post-season has delivered. If not for a questionable foul with 3.4 seconds remaining in overtime, we'd have had another. But that foul sent Stanford's Chasson Randle to the line, where he drained a pair and prevented Miami from winning their first national post-season championship.
Randle, the NIT Most Valuable Player and Stanford's all-time leading scorer, came up huge for the Cardinal; his game-high 25 included Stanford's key final four points of regulation and the closing free throws. But the foul that led to those free throws was atrocious.
It's Stanford's third NIT title, and second in the last four years. MVP Randle is one of the rare souls who can say he's won the NIT twice.
Results, and you know what the green means by now:
|NATIONAL INVITATION TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME|
|FINAL||Stanford 66, Miami (FL) 64 (OT)||Chasson Randle (STAN), 25|
|COLLEGEINSIDER.COM TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME|
|FINAL||Evansville 71, Northern Arizona 65||Egidijus Mockevicius (EVA), 27|
No basketball tonight, thanks to Loyola sweeping the CBI. Join us tomorrow for the Final Four!