Brandon Armstrong scored 29 points, including eight of Pepperdine’s last nine points, as the Waves defeated Wyoming, 72-69, on Wednesday night in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament at Laramie, Wyo.
Pepperdine (22-8) will play the winner of the Baylor and New Mexico game in the second round.
It was only the second home loss for Wyoming (20-10).
Armstrong was only seven of 18 from the field, but made 12 of 13 free throws--including five of sixin the final 15 seconds.
Kelvin Gibbs had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Derrick Anderson had 13 points for the Waves. Josh Davis led Wyoming with 17 points and Uche Nsonwu-Amadi added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Cowboys took a 56-55 lead on a basket by Nsonwu-Amadi and Chris McMillian’s three-point basket with 5:06 left, but Gibbs put Pepperdine ahead for good with back-to-back baskets.
Armstrong’s three-point basket with 22 seconds left put the Waves ahead, 66-61, and he thwarted any Wyoming comeback by making five free throws.
In other first-round games, Edmund Saunders had 15 points and 11 rebounds at Storrs, Conn., to lead Connecticut (20-11) to a 72-65 victory over South Carolina (15-15) in Eddie Fogler’s final game as Gamecock coach. . . . Marckell Patterson scored 21 points to lead Mississippi State (17-12) past Southern Mississippi, 75-68, at Starkville, Miss. Mario Myles scored 20 points for the Golden Eagles (22-9). . . . Ricardo Greer scored 26 points as Pittsburgh (19-13) defeated St. Bonaventure, 84-75, at Pittsburgh. J.R. Bremer scored 20 points for St. Bonaventure (18-12). . . . Marquis Daniels scored 15 points and Kyle Davis set an NIT record with 13 blocked shots as Auburn (18-13) held off Miami, 60-58, at Auburn, Ala. The Hurricanes (16-13) scored only 17 points in the second half. . . . Keith Waleskowski scored 19 points to help Dayton (20-12) to a 68-59 victory over North Carolina-Wilmington (19-11) at Dayton, Ohio.
Maynard Lewis scored a career-high 26 points as Purdue (16-14) defeated Illinois State, 90-79, at West Lafayette, Ind. The Redbirds (21-9) got 38 points from Tarise Bryson. . . . Rashad Phillips scored 17 points to lead Detroit Mercy (23-10) to a 68-49 victory over Bradley (19-12) at Peoria, Ill. . . . Kevin Burleson scored 21 points as Minnesota (18-13) defeated Villanova, 87-78, at Minneapolis. Ricky Wright scored 26 points for the Wildcats (18-13). . . . Brandon Wolfram scored 24 points to lead Texas El Paso (23-8) to an 84-74 victory over McNeese State (22-9) at El Paso.