MB Invitational: WVU rolls; Coastal nets invite for 2019

The eight schools scheduled to compete in the 2019 Myrtle Beach Invitational were announced Thursday during the opening round of the inaugural event at the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina University.

Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt) will be joined in the 2019 Myrtle Beach Invitational field by Villanova (BIG EAST Conference), which has won two national championships in the last three seasons, Baylor (Big 12), Memphis (American Athletic), Middle Tennessee (Conference USA), Mississippi State (Southeastern), Ohio (Mid-American) and Utah (Pac-12).

Five of the eight schools scheduled for the second annual event appeared in the 2018 postseason with Villanova defeating Michigan for the NCAA championship title in San Antonio and Utah losing to Penn State in the National Invitational Tournament finale in New York City. Baylor, Middle Tennessee and Mississippi State also competed in the 2018 NIT.

The 12-game bracketed event will be played November 21, 22 and 24, 2019, at the HTC Center.

Thursday’s results

Despite a determined effort from the Monmouth Hawks, the West Virginia Mountaineers proved to be too imposing to scale in front of a packed house at the HTC Center.

West Virginia used rapid runs of 9-0 and 12-0 in the second half to break open what had been a surprisingly close game and pull away from Monmouth 71-53 in Thursday’s opening round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Monmouth trailed by only two points at 41-39 five minutes into the second half, and the large West Virginia contingent at HTC Center was beginning to get antsy.

But the Mountaineers (1-1) ripped off eight consecutive points in a three-minute flurry that included two blocked shots, two offensive putbacks and a steal.

Then with Monmouth (0-4) still lurking around at 54-45 with seven minutes remaining, the Mountaineers drained a pair of 3-pointers in just 25 seconds, sparking their game-clinching run.

* Western Kentucky 83, Valparaiso 71: The Hilltoppers sank 51 percent of their shots, including 53 percent of their 3-pointers, while Valpo’s numbers were 39 percent and 29 percent.

* St. Joseph’s 89, Wake Forest 69: The Hawks (3-0) quickly broke open a game that was tied 46-46 at halftime by making 53.3 percent of their shots in the second half, holding Wake Forest to 30.4 percent shooting, outrebounding the Demon Deacons 21-12 and playing such stifling defense that Wake managed only a single assist.

St. Joe’s sophomore forward Charlie Brown Jr. led all scorers with 26 points, including 17 in the second half on 6-of-8 shooting.

The Deacs (1-1) had four players score in double figures, though junior guard Brandon Childress was the only member of that group to shoot better than 38 percent from the field.

* UCF 68, Cal State Fullerton 52: The Knights (2-1) shut down Fullerton (1-2), which had averaged 100 points per game to open the season.

The Titans sank only 25 percent of their shots in the first half in falling behind 32-22 at halftime, and UCF maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Photo courtesy of MB Invitational

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