Scotty Hopson scored 18 points to lead No. 24 Tennessee to a 78-68 victory over No. 7 Villanova on Friday in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Senior point guard Melvin Goins was the key late for the Volunteers (5-0), scoring seven of his nine points and coming up with two big steals in the final 2:17.
Goins and Hopson did an outstanding defensive job on Villanova's three guards, considered one of the best backcourts in the country.
Corey Fisher finished with three points on 1-for-10 shooting from the field for the Wildcats (5-1), while Maalik Wayns had 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting and Corey Stokes had 11 on 3-for-9 shooting.
Never miss a local story.
"I thought Goins' defense, I thought the physicality of his defense and the ball pressure he put on Wayns, I thought was very, very significant," Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl said. "And I thought Scotty's length bothered Corey, and Scotty stayed down and Corey was getting some shots he was getting but he wasn't getting to the rim and he was having to shoot over that 6-foot-6 frame."
Tennessee took the lead for good on a rebound basket by Hopson, a University Heights graduate, with 11:52 to play. Villanova was never able to get any kind of a run going as its three-guard offense couldn't get going against the Volunteers.
The Wildcats closed within 56-55 on a basket by Dominic Cheek with 7:26 to play. The Volunteers went on a 7-0 run capped by a three-pointer by Cameron Tatum with 5:35 left.
The closest Villanova could get the rest of the way was five points. Hopson, the tournament MVP, scored on a drive to make it a seven-point game and Goins then stole the ball from Wayns and went in for a breakaway layup.
"We worked all year to get to this point," Hopson said. "We're still learning. Still battling. Still just want to win championships, come out and compete every day. It's a whole process to get to where we want to be. I think this team can still get better. It's a long way to go."
No. 3 Ohio St. 66, Miami (Ohio) 45: David Lighty scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, leading the third-ranked Buckeyes to a win in Columbus, Ohio. Lighty hit all four of his three-point shots after the break to spur a lethargic Ohio State (5-0) offense. Freshmen Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger added 15 and 12 points, respectively.
No. 4 Kansas St. 84, Texas Southern 60: Jacob Pullen rediscovered the shooting touch that deserted him against Duke and scored 16 points, leading Kansas State to an easy victory at home.
This was a rout from start to finish. The Wildcats (5-1), coming off their first loss, an 82-68 setback to No. 1 Duke on Tuesday, unleashed a 14-0 run in the early going.
One of the stars for the Tigers (1-5) was former Kentucky point guard Kevin Galloway, who had 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
No, 6 Kansas 98, Ohio 41: Marcus Morris scored 26 points and had eight rebounds to lead Kansas past Ohio in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational. Morris was 11-for-14 from the field for the Jayhawks (5-0), who will play Arizona (4-0) on Saturday.
With 1:39 left in the first half, Ohio's Ricardo Johnson (Holmes) was ejected for a flagrant foul on Elijah Johnson, who was driving to the basket.
No. 21 Temple 65, Georgia 58: Scootie Randall had 18 points, Ramone Moore scored 14 and Temple beat Georgia in the second round of the Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Juan Fernandez made a huge three-pointer late and Rahlir Jefferson converted a three-point play with 41.4 seconds remaining to lift the Owls (3-1), who rebounded from a tough loss to unranked California in the first round.
Gerald Robinson scored 16 points, and Trey Thompkins had 13 in only his second game this season for Georgia (3-1), which looked tired and out of sync after losing in double overtime to Notre Dame a night earlier.
No. 23 Brigham Young 77, South Florida 75 (2OT): Noah Hartsock made the game-winning shot as time expired in double overtime, lifting BYU to a win in the third round of the South Padre Invitational in South Padre Island, Texas.
Jimmer Fredette scored 32 points — 8-for-8 from the line — to help the Cougars improve to 7-0. Jackson Emery was 5-for-13 from three-point range and had 20 points, and Hartsock added 10 points.
Mississippi 84, Penn State 71: Trevor Gaskins scored a career-high 24 points and Chris Warren added 20 as Mississippi defeated previously unbeaten Penn State in Oxford, Miss.
Talor Battle had 26 points, four assists and three steals to lead Penn State. Jeff Brooks (Doss) added 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds for the Nittany Lions.
Mississippi State 92, Troy 83 (OT): Ravern Johnson scored 33 points to lead Mississippi State to an overtime victory in Starkville, Miss. The Bulldogs (3-0) opened the extra period on a 10-4 run.
Brian Bryant scored 15 points for the Bulldogs, while Riley Benock (Meade County) added 12.
UAB 70, Arkansas 65 (OT): Jamarr Sanders scored 19 points to lead a balanced scoring attack as UAB defeated Arkansas in overtime in North Little Rock, Ark. Delvon Johnson led Arkansas (3-1) with 18 points.
Notre Dame 57, California 44: Carleton Scott had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Notre Dame held California to five points at halftime to move into the Old Spice Classic championship game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Irish (6-0) took a 21-5 lead in a sloppy first half for both teams, went ahead by 18 points and held on. Notre Dame will play Wisconsin in the finals Sunday.
Austin Peay 70, Charleston Southern 64: Tyshwan Edmondson (University Heights) scored 24 points to with six rebounds and five steals and Austin Peay held off a late rush by Charleston Southern to win in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.
North Carolina A&T 79, Greensboro 58: Thomas Coleman (Jeffersontown) scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead North Carolina A&T to a win at Greensboro College.
Oakland (Mich). 105, Southern 53: Blake Sanford (Lafayette) scored 17 points and had four rebounds and three assists in the Jaguars' loss.
Indiana Wesleyan 78, Campbellsville 76: Indiana Wesleyan held on at Campbellsville after leading by 16 midway through the second half. Campbellsville had four players in double figures, led by Brandon Williams and Monie Hudson (Warren Central) with 19 and 18 points, respectively.
UNLV 80, Tulsa 71: Derrick Jasper's double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds helped UNLV beat Tulsa late Thursday night. The former Kentucky player had three steals and hit three three-pointers.
No. 1 Connecticut 86, Howard 25: Connecticut set the NCAA women's basketball record for consecutive victories with its 82nd in a row.
Maya Moore scored 20 points to help top-ranked UConn break its tie with Washington University in St. Louis, a Division III school, which won 81 straight between Feb. 20, 1998-Jan. 12, 2001.
UConn's last loss came in the national semifinals in 2008 to Stanford. The Huskies stand six wins short of matching the 88-straight victories set in the early '70s by the UCLA men's basketball team.
This was the first of three games in three days for UConn, which is hosting the World Vision Classic. UConn (4-0) will take on Lehigh on Saturday, and hosts LSU on Sunday. The Tigers beat Lehigh 74-63 in the first game Friday.
No. 25 Michigan State 59, Western Ky. 51: Amy McNear collected 12 points and seven rebounds in her season debut for Western Kentucky (0-4) in the first round of the UCF Thanksgiving Classic on Friday in Orlando, Fla. McNear missed the Toppers' first three games because of a violation of team rules. Janae Howard (Owensboro) added 10 points and Arnika Brown (Christian County) had eight points and 10 rebounds for Western.
No. 18 Notre Dame 95, IUPUI 29: Devereaux Peters scored 18 points and No. 18 Notre Dame closed the first half with a 23-2 run, dominating IUPUI in the first round of the Women's Basketball Association Classic in South Bend, Ind. Junior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington Catholic) added 12 points and two assists for the Irish (3-2).
Old Dominion 69, Louisville 65: Shoni Schimmel led four Cardinals in double figures with 19 points in a loss in Norfolk, Va. Monique Reid (Fern Creek) added 16 and Keshia Hines had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Fla. International 78, Morehead St. 65: Ashar Harris piled up the points and rebounds — 22 and 20 — and Chynna Bozeman scored 23, but the Eagles lost to host Florida International in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic.
Lindsey Wilson 93, Missouri Baptist 76: Lindsey Wilson shot 71 percent from the field in the second half and came from behind to win in the McKendree University Classic in Lebanon, Ill. Ashley Rainey, a Warren East graduate who transferred from Louisville, made all 14 of her shots from the field and was 4-for-5 from the free-throw line to finish with a career-high 32 points.
Middle Tennessee St. 87, East Tennessee St. 71: Freshman Ebony Rowe (Paul Dunbar) scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the Blue Raiders' victory.
DePaul 93, Northwestern St. 56: Anna Martin (Lexington Christian) scored a game-high 21 points and had three assists for DePaul.
Samford 71, Alabama St. 55: Emily London (Lexington Christian) scored 17 points and had five assists and three rebounds in the Bulldogs' win.