SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Too much Orange for San Diego State.
The largest crowd in NIT history - an orange-clad swarm of 26,752 - braved sleet, snow and a biting March wind to give the Carrier Dome a championship atmosphere Monday night, and the Syracuse Orange responded with an 80-64 second-round victory over San Diego State.
For the team's four seniors - Demetris Nichols, Terrence Roberts, Darryl Watkins and Matt Gorman - it was their last home game, and they relished every minute.
It had been eight days since the NCAA selection committee overlooked Syracuse (24-10) despite a resume that included a 6-1 record in February and a dominating 14-point victory over Georgetown, the Hoyas only loss in the past 21 games.
That oversight may be in the past. It certainly won't be forgotten.
"It's always going to be in the back of your mind, no matter what you say and no matter how much you try to forget about it," Roberts said. "All we can do now is try to win out."
Sixth-seeded San Diego State (22-11) was one of three teams to pull a first-round upset on the road, beating third-seeded Missouri State 74-70.
CLEMSON, S.C. - Freshman Trevor Booker had a career-high 21 points and Cliff Hammonds added 18 as Clemson won its eighth straight NIT home game.
The Tigers (23-10) also improved to 4-0 this season against the Southeastern Conference. They defeated Mississippi State, South Carolina and Georgia during the regular season.
Mississippi, the SEC's West champion, ended its first season under coach Andy Kennedy at 21-13. The Rebels were trying to extend their first postseason appearance since 2002.
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Jacob Burtschi scored 21 points and Air Force won its school record 25th game, a blowout of the Bulldogs.
The Falcons (25-8), whose NCAA bubble burst with four straight losses to end the season, surpassed last year's win total in surprisingly easy fashion.
Terrance Woodbury's 16 points led the fourth-seeded Bulldogs (19-14), whose quest for their first 20-win season since 2002 ended.
MANHATTAN, Kan.- Sammy Mejia and Wilson Chandler had 18 points each, and Draelon Burns added 17 for third-seeded DePaul.
The Blue Demons (20-13) reached the 20-win mark for the third time in the last four seasons and won two straight postseason games for the first time since the 1990 NIT. They will face top-seeded Air Force on Wednesday in Colorado Springs
David Hoskins led Kansas State (23-12) with 24 points.