Nevada Tops Morehead State in OT to Win CBI
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Since Nevada guard Tyron Criswell started playing basketball in his youth, he's won several individual awards, but it took his last college basketball game to win his first team championship after Nevada's 85-82 win against Morehead State in the ninth-annual College Basketball Invitational championship series Friday.
"It feels good to win an individual award, but when you win a big one with your team it feels so much better, especially when you know you're team's been through so much," said Criswell, who scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in front of 9,043 in attendance at Lawlor Events Center.
Nevada freshman Cameron Oliver added 20 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Lyonell Gains led Morehead State with 17 points, converting 8-of-13 field goals.
Winning game three of the best-of-three series wasn't easy for Nevada.
Morehead State junior Xavier Moon's nearly tied the game with a last second half-court shot in overtime that bounced off the rim.
"With the half-court shot, from my vantage point, I said, `Here we go: double overtime," Nevada head coach Eric Musselman said.
In his pursuit of his first team championship, it was Criswell who erased a one-point Morehead State lead and put Nevada (24-14) in position to win with 13 seconds left in overtime.
After Nevada guard D.J. Fenner's pass to guard Lindsey Drew was deflected under the basket, Criswell grabbed the loose ball and made a layup to put the Wolf Pack up 83-82.
On the Eagles next possession, junior DeJuan Marrero missed a layup and Fenner grabbed the defensive rebound. He converted on both free throws before Moon's last second shot missed and the game ended.
"Mission accomplished: send our seniors out the right way," Musselman said. "For our freshman (they) can sit back and think about all the experience they got...to springboard us into next year...all those guys got better obviously with all these extra games and extra time together. Even myself, I know I'll be a better coach coming back next year getting these extra games."
Throughout, Nevada's ability to get to the free-throw line proved vital. The Wolf Pack shot 37.5 percent from the field, but converted on 39-of-45 shots from the line. Morehead State (23-14) shot 46.7 percent from the field, but only converted on 6-of-13 free-throw shots.
Nevada's large crowd, far surpassing the season average (6,416), proved important for the Wolf Pack as it did throughout the CBI tournament. Home teams were 13-3 in the tournament.
Nevada led by as much as 12 with 15:06 left in regulation, but Morehead State stormed back.
"That's what we did all year," Morehead State head coach Sean Woods said. "We don't stop playing. We are going to play until the final buzzer and that's what we did tonight."
With six seconds left in regulation and the Eagles down two points, junior forward Marrero went to the free-throw line and banked his first shot off the glass. He made the second free throw.
Nevada freshman Cameron Oliver missed a 3-pointer to win the game in regulation.