Nevada Falls in First Game of CBI Finals Series
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) Lyonell Gaines scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Morehead State to an 86-83 victory over Nevada in the opening game of the College Basketball Invitational finals on Monday night.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series will be played Wednesday at Reno, Nevada. If necessary, a third game would be played Friday at Reno.
Morehead (23-12) has won 11 of its past 12 games, the lone loss coming to Tennessee Martin in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Included in that span is a pair of CBI road victories.
Nevada (22-14), out of the Mountain West, had a three-game winning streak halted.
DeJuan Marrero added 15 points for the winners and Brent Arrington added 13.
Nevada's Tyron Criswell led all scorers with 31 points. Eric Cooper, Jr. came off the bench to add 15 points. Cameron Oliver added 12 for his 11th straight game in double figures. Marqueze Coleman had 10 points.
Both teams led by as many as six points in the first half, with Morehead taking a 38-36 lead at halftime.
Gaines had a first-half double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. He came in averaging 13.4 points and 8.3 rebounds over his previous eight games, with three double-doubles.
Morehead again opened a six-point lead several times early in the second half, the last at 53-47 with 14:18 left.
But Nevada rallied to tie it at 59 midway through the period.
The game stayed close the rest of the way, with Nevada taking its last lead at 72-71 with 5:50 left.
Morehead's Xavier Moon, who came into the game 22 of 22 from the free-throw line in CBI play, missed his only two chances of the game with 31 seconds left and Morehead leading 86-83.
Nevada had two chances to tie, but Coleman's 3-pointer with 19 seconds left was off the mark.
Oliver missed a 3-pointer just ahead of the buzzer, with Morehead's Ronnye Beamon grabbing the rebound.