After a poor day of basketball saw the St. Mary’s Gaels knocked out of the NIT and the San Jose State Spartans knocked out of the CBI, the Santa Clara Broncos got the Bay Area on the board with an opening round victory over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in the 2011 CIT postseason college basketball tournament. The Broncos dominated the first half jumping out to a 36-21 lead. The Lumberjacks fought back couldn’t quite close the deal, losing 68-63.
Santa Clara received a strong collective team effort in fighting to victory. They received double digit points from Troy Payne (18), Kevin Foster (13), Marc Trasolini (12) and Evan Roguemore (11). They made up for a 19-14 turnover deficit by outrebounding Northern Arizona 38-27 and knocking down nine more free throws.
Northern Arizona was led by 18 points from Cameron Jones, 15 from Gabe Rogers and 13 from Eric Platt. The rest of the team contributed 17 points, which made a chance at a win fairly difficult.
Santa Clara does not yet know who they will face in the second round, or even what one of two teams they will face. The CIT uses the old school NIT format where first round matchups are scheduled and second round matchups are determined after the first round without the use of a bracket. According to the CIT website, four of the first round winners will receive byes into the quarterfinals, with the remaining eight teams facing off to advance to the quarterfinals.
The early victors so far include Ohio over Marshall, East Tennessee State over Furman, Jacksonville over East Carolina, Northern Iowa over Rider, Air Force over North Dakota, and Buffalo over Quinnipiac. Hawaii is hosting Portland this evening and there will be four more games tomorrow. The second round takes place later this week on March 18 and 19.