David DeJulius had 21 points and seven assists to propel host Cincinnati to an 81-72 victory over Virginia Tech in the opening round of the NIT on Wednesday.
Former Virginia Tech player Landers Nolley II added 15 points and 12 rebounds as fourth-seeded Cincinnati (22-12) advanced to a second-round game against Hofstra (25-9), which toppled top-seeded Rutgers in overtime on Tuesday night.
Jeremiah Davenport scored all but one of his 12 points in the second half. Mika Adams-Woods and Ody Oguama contributed 10 points each for the balanced Bearcats.
Viktor Lakhin added nine points and eight rebounds to help Cincinnati win the battle of the boards 42-29.
Justyn Mutts had 19 points and six rebounds to lead Virginia Tech (19-15). Grant Basile added 17 points and seven rebounds, while Hunter Cattoor tallied 11 of his 13 points in the second half.
In a game that was tight all the way, neither team led by more than six points until the final minute. There were 13 ties and 11 lead changes.
Virginia Tech matched its biggest lead of the game, 40-34, early in the second half when MJ Collins made a 3-pointer.
But Cincinnati answered with 3-pointers from Adams-Woods, Nolley and Davenport to set the scene for a tight second half.
When Davenport drained his third 3-pointer of the half with 5:43 left, it gave the Bearcats the lead for good. Lakhin helped stretch the edge to 72-66, scoring four points on consecutive possessions.
Cincinnati had the best of it at the end as DeJulius hit a floater in the lane with 1:15 left and then made 7 of 8 free throws in the final minute.
The Hokies missed all seven of their 3-point attempts in the final 2:18.
In the final 3:25 of the first half, Mutts scored three baskets to crack the 1,000-point mark in his three seasons at Virginia Tech and help the Hokies to a 33-29 lead at intermission.
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