Wildcats advance in NIT with 59-57 win

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - David Hoskins drove for the go-ahead bucket with 33 seconds left, capping a second-half comeback that carried Kansas State past Vermont 59-57 Wednesday night in the first round of the NIT.

Vermont led 51-39 with about 10:30 left after trailing by as many as eight in the first half. But the Catamounts missed eight shots and had three turnovers in the final 5:09, allowing Kansas State to go on a 9-0 run.

Kansas State (23-11) went 5:41 without a field goal early in the second half while the Catamounts (25-8) began getting inside for easy buckets. A 3-pointer by Kyle Cieplicki followed by a layup from Chris Holm put Vermont on top 51-39.

After Blake Young tied it at 55 with a pair of free throws, the Catamounts inbounded the ball with 51 seconds to go. But Holm lost the ball in traffic and Hoskins connected on the other end.

Martin Klimes led Vermont with 16 points, while Cartier Martin had 19 and Hoskins 13 for Kansas State. The Wildcats advanced to a second-round game against DePaul, which beat Hofstra 83-71.

Kansas State, furious at being snubbed by the NCAA tournament, seemed destined to go out in the first round of its first postseason appearance since 1999. But suddenly the Catamounts, whose rebound margin of 9.7 was tops in nation, reverted to the shooting form they had early in the game when they missed 13 of their first 16 shots.

Martin, after Cieplicki went to the bench with his fourth foul, sank a pair of free throws after the Wildcats had missed six of seven, and then Akeem Wright connected for two quick buckets.

Klimes got inside for an easy bucket that made it 57-50 with about 5 minutes left, but that would be the final points for Vermont, which had won 22 of its last 24 games and tied the school record with 25 victories.

Wright, scoreless in the first half, wound up with 12 points for the Wildcats.

In his last game for the Catamounts, Holm had 10 points and 14 boards, boosting his school career record to 401 rebounds.

First-year Kansas State coach Bob Huggins sparked the crowd to a deafening roar late in the second half when Martin got called for an offensive foul while driving into the lane with Vermont leading 57-53.

Screaming, "Awful, awful,'' Huggins walked almost to the free throw lane and then stood silent for about 20 seconds, giving the official who made the call an icy stare as the coliseum thundered with a chorus of boos.