TULSA, Okla. -- Dario Hunt had 18 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to lead Nevada past Oral Roberts 68-59 on Wednesday night in the first round of the NIT.
Deonte Burton added 17 points as the Wolf Pack (27-6) advanced to a second-round matchup against Bucknell, which beat Arizona 65-54."It took a couple days for us to get back to our regular selves," Hunt said after Nevada failed to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. "But once we got our competitive juices flowing again we kind of forgot about it."Hunt was 9 of 16 from the field and also had four assists."He had a great finish," Nevada coach David Carter said. "He's been a senior leader all year. He missed some easy ones early, but in the second half really settled down."Hunt helped Nevada outrebound the Golden Eagles 45-29."He was a difference-maker," Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton said. "He blocked five shots and altered many more inside."Burton, Olek Czyz and Malik Story each had eight points in the second half to help Nevada rally after trailing 30-29 at halftime. Czyz finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.Dominique Morrison and Rod Pearson had 13 points apiece for the Golden Eagles (27-7)."I thought we came ready to play and were prepared," Pearson said.Oral Roberts led 50-49 before Czyz threw down a dunk with 8:03 left to ignite Nevada's decisive 8-0 run. Hunt scored twice during the spurt.Burton sank three free throws with 2:10 left to stretch Nevada's lead to 62-55 and the Golden Eagles never got any closer."I am glad we finally found some rhythm in the second half," Carter said. "I thought we wore them down a little bit."The Golden Eagles only had three field goals in the final 12 minutes."We just wanted to be aggressive on defense because I knew they were going to keep attacking us," Hunt said.Nevada's first lead came when Jerry Evans Jr. opened the second half with a 3-pointer for a 32-30 advantage. Warren Niles responded with a 3-pointer for Oral Roberts and the game see-sawed before Nevada's late run.Nevada, in the postseason for the ninth time in 10 years, snapped the Golden Eagles' 23-game home winning streak. The Golden Eagles had an NIT home game for the first time since 1982 and were looking for their first postseason win since the 1975 NIT opener.