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The NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments aren’t the only college basketball competitions that have reached the Final Four.
The semifinals of the 2023 men’s NIT in Las Vegas took center stage in the college hoops world Tuesday, with Wisconsin facing North Texas in the first game and Utah Valley playing UAB in the second one.
Here is what the bracket looked like coming into the semifinals action:
#NIT2023 SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS! 🔥
SEE YOU IN LAS VEGAS! #NITMBB
🎟 Tickets here ➡️ https://t.co/sjL6u18KcN pic.twitter.com/Tqi3y30pqn
The championship game is scheduled for Thursday at 9:40 p.m. ET in Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena.
All that was left for Tuesday was to decide who would play in that title matchup.
NIT Semifinals Scores
- North Texas 56, Wisconsin 54
- UAB 88, Utah Valley 86 (OT)
North Texas 56, Wisconsin 54
It was no surprise the first game was a methodical, low-scoring affair considering Wisconsin is 342nd in KenPom.com’s tempo rankings and North Texas is last at 363rd.
However, it didn’t look like that would be the case at first when the Badgers poured in 41 first-half points. Chucky Hepburn caught fire from deep, and the Mean Green had no answers for Tyler Wahl on the blocks.
And then the real Wisconsin showed up in the second half.
The Big Ten representatives scored a measly 13 points after intermission and didn’t tally a single point in the final nine minutes of the game. While North Texas’ defense deserves some credit, it was a brutal display from an offense that looked nothing like the one that set the tone in the early going.
The result was a 56-54 win for the Conference USA team.
Tylor Perry finished with 16 points, five rebounds and two steals, while Kai Huntsberry did a little bit of everything on his way to 12 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals. The victors didn’t score a single point in the last two minutes, either, but they didn’t need to thanks to their defense.
Wisconsin didn’t even get a shot off in the final seconds after calling a timeout to diagram a play, which was a fitting end to the game.
UAB 88, Utah Valley 86(OT)
The second semifinal was another nail-biter as UAB held off Utah Valley to win 88-86 in overtime.
Trey Woodbury tied the game at 74 with 33.9 seconds on the clock with a right-handed floater.
The Western Athletic Conference @WACsports
Heading to OT ‼️@UVUmbb tied with UAB at 74 at the end of regulation! Trey Woodbury’s floater tied it up!
📺 ESPN2/ESPN+ (https://t.co/72rcUSjIj7)#NIT2023 pic.twitter.com/FEqJDekqBr
The Blazers had two opportunities to seal the win on their final possession. A jumper from Jordan Walker couldn’t find the mark, and KJ Buffen was unable to score inside after cleaning up the offensive rebound.
Although the Wolverines scored first in overtime, UAB quickly took control with seven straight points and didn’t look back from there. Walker sank a pair of free throws to put his team up 87-83 with 12 seconds remaining, and that put the game out of reach for good.
It was a night to remember for Ty Brewer.
UAB Men’s Basketball @UAB_MBB
THE PUTBACK SLAM 💪
📺 ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/xEVix1bChN
TY BREWER PUTTING ON A SHOW! ⭐️@UAB_MBB | #NIT2023 | #NITMBB
📺 ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/WjZjA3VV7R
It really is the Ty Brewer show 🤩@UAB_MBB | #NIT2034 | #NITMBB
📺 ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/F2k6DCSRJc
The senior forward matched his career high with 30 points on a cool 13-of-17 shooting, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. He collected 12 rebounds to complete his second double-double of the season and added five steals for good measure.
Watch March Madness Live to stream every tournament game through the Final Four.
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