Kissimmee, Fla., November 19, 2016 – The championship of the 2016 Tire Pros Invitational is a game so nice they’re going to play it twice.
No. 11 Xavier (4-0) will take on Northern Iowa (3-0) at 7:30 p.m. Sunday for the TPI championship in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN2. It will be the first meeting in the history of the two programs. Then in a quirk of scheduling, the teams will play each other again next Saturday in a regular-season game at Xavier.
“Our guys wanted to play in the championship game, and they found a way to get there,” UNI coach Ben Jacobson said. “Now we get a chance to play against one of the best teams in the country. We’ll roll it out, and then we’ll see them again in a week.”
Both teams had to win thrillers to make it to the title tilt. Xavier built an 11-point second-half lead against Clemson in Friday’s second round, then held off a late comeback attempt by the Tigers before prevailing 83-77.
“It was a battle,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “They gave us a punch with about seven minutes to go, and I thought our guys responded to close out the game.”
The Panthers, meanwhile, roared back from an 18-point second-half deficit to knock off Oklahoma in overtime 73-67. UNI junior forward Klint Carlson scored 14 of his game-high 22 points in the final 6:27 of regulation, then hit a 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining in overtime to complete the comeback victory.
Sunday’s final-round action begins at noon ET with Missouri (1-2) facing Tulane (1-3), followed by Davidson (2-1) vs. Arizona State (3-1) at 2:30 p.m. ET. Then in the third-place game at 5 p.m. ET, Clemson (2-1) will take on Oklahoma (2-1). This will be the sixth in-season tournament for the Sooners since Lon Kruger became the team’s head coach, and they have never finished worse than third.
The Missouri vs. Tulane game will be broadcast on ESPN3, while the next two games will be shown on ESPNU.