DAYTON, Ohio >> Now that Cal Poly has gotten its first NCAA victory out of the way, why stop at one?
Chris Eversley scored 19 points to help Cal Poly become the first team in 59 years with 19 losses to win an NCAA Tournament game, beating Texas Southern 81-69 on Wednesday night in the First Four.
Now the team with the worst record in the tournament (14-19) moves on to face the one with the best — top-seeded Wichita State (34-0) — in the second round in St. Louis on Friday.
The Mustangs were 0-3 and 4-9 early this season. They didn’t exactly inspire confidence heading into the Big West Conference tournament — losing nine of 11 — but they won the title to earn the program’s first NCAA bid.
There have been 23 teams with losing records in the NCAA Tournament since 1955. The only other 19-loss team to win was Bradley (7-19), which won a game but lost in the final eight in 1955.
David Nwaba added 17 points and Brian Bennett — who was 5-for-5 from the field — had 10 for the Mustangs. Held back by injuries all season, a team that shot 41 percent from the field for the season made 57 percent on the biggest stage. The 81 points was its second most in a game all year.
Aaric Murray closed out his career with 38 points for Texas Southern (19-15), Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament champs.
"He was going to get his points either way, so we knew he would just need to take the other players out of the game," said Nwaba
TENNESSEE 78, IOWA 65 OT
DAYTON, Ohio >> Jarnell Stokes dominated inside as the Volunteers (22-12) finally caught up in the closing minutes of regulation, and then opened overtime with a three-point play that got them headed to a victory over the Hawkeyes (21-13).
The Volunteers’ comeback sent them to Raleigh, N.C., where they’ll play sixth-seeded Massachusetts on Friday in the Midwest Regional. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery started the day in Iowa with his teenage son Patrick, who had surgery to remove a thyroid tumor.
SMU 68, UC IRVINE 54
DALLAS >> Cannen Cunningham scored 17 points and the top-seeded Mustangs (24-9) gave Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown his first college postseason victory in 26 years with a win over the Anteaters (23-12) of the Big West.
GEORGIA 63, VERMONT 56
ATHENS, Ga. >> Charles Mann scored a career-high 29 points, including a three-point play with 2:25 remaining, and the Bulldogs (20-13) beat the Catamounts (22-11).
LOUISIANA TECH 89, IONA 88
RUSTON, La. >> Kenneth "Speedy" Smith put back a rebound with 2.2 seconds left to give the Bulldogs (28-7) a victory over the Gaels (22-11).
SOUTHERN MISS 66, TOLEDO 59
HATTIESBURG, Miss. >> Michael Craig scored 16 points, Neil Watson added 12 and the Golden Eagles (28-6) rallied to beat the Rockets (27-7).
ILLINOIS 66, BOSTON U. 62
BOSTON >> Rayvonte Rice scored seven straight points late in the game and finished with 28 to rally the second-seeded Illini (20-14) past the Terriers (24-11).
LSU 71, SAN FRANCISCO 63
SAN FRANCISCO >> Jarell Martin scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half and the Tigers (20-13) beat the Dons (21-12) for their first NIT win in 12 years.
CALIFORNIA 77, UTAH VALLEY 64
BERKELEY, Calif. >> David Kravish had 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks and the Golden Bears (20-13) eliminated the Wolverines (20-12).