A.J. Hoggard hit the go-ahead free throws with 30.3 seconds left and Michigan State scored the game’s final nine points to push past No. 22 Connecticut, 64-60, in Thursday’s Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals at Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Gabe Brown scored 16 points for the Spartans (5-1), who blew a 14-point lead before halftime and shot just 32% after the break. But Michigan State did enough to take back momentum after the Huskies had gone up 60-55 with 1:41 left and finally secure a spot in Friday’s championship game.
Adama Sonogo had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Huskies (5-1), while Tyrese Martin added 16 points and 12 boards despite being uncertain to play because of a sprained left wrist suffered in the Auburn win.
No. 6 Baylor 69, VCU 61 — At Paradise Island, Bahamas: Matthew Mayer scored 15 points to help Baylor hold off VCU in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals. Freshman Kendall Brown added 14 points for the reigning national champion Bears (6-0), who had to clean up a mistake-filled first half and keep the Rams at arm’s distance throughout the second half.
Iona 72, No. 10 Alabama 68 — At Lake Buena Vista, Fla.: Nelly Joseph and Walter Clayton Jr. made key free throws in the final seconds to lift Iona over Alabama in an opening-round game at the ESPN Events Invitational. Clayton got an offensive rebound and made one of two free throws to make it 70-68 with 20 seconds left. After Jahvon Quinerly missed a shot for Alabama, Joseph secured the win with two free throws with 9 seconds remaining.
No. 4 Kansas 71, North Texas 59 — At Lake Buena Vista, Fla.: Ochai Agbaji had 18 points and Christian Braun added 16 as Kansas beat North Texas in the first round of the ESPN Events Invitational. Agbaji became the 63rd player to reach 1,000 points in Kansas history when he hit a 3 to open the scoring 2½ minutes into the game. The guard entered the game just one point away from the milestone.
No. 19 Auburn 62, Loyola Chicago 53 — At Paradise Island, Bahamas: Freshman Jabari Smith had 14 points to help Auburn regroup from a double-overtime loss and beat Loyola Chicago in the consolation round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. The Tigers (4-1) held the Ramblers to just two field goals over an 11-minute span in the second half, building a 10-point margin heading into the final minutes. Marquise Kennedy scored 13 points to lead the Ramblers (4-2), who shot 62% in the first half.
Belmont 74, Drake 69 — At Orlando, Fla.: Tremell Murphy scored 18 points, but the Bulldogs lost in the ESPN Events Invitational. Nick Muszynski led the Bruins with 31 points.
(Wednesday’s late game)
Iowa State 82, No. 25 Xavier 70 — At New York: Izaiah Brockington scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half, and Iowa State won in the NIT Season Tip-Off. Tyrese Hunter added 19 points for Iowa State (5-0), while Gabe Kalscheur scored 12 points and George Conditt had 10.
University of Iowa transfer Jack Nunge scored 24 points off the bench for Xavier.