TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alex Len finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds and had a key block in the final seconds to help Maryland escape with a 58-57 victory over Alabama on Tuesday night in the NIT quarterfinals.
Len’s fifth block came on Rodney Cooper’s drive with 3 seconds left. Then Trevor Lacey got off another potential game-winner at the buzzer after a pump-fake but it bounced off the rim.
The Terrapins (25-12) are making their first trip to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden since 2005 and are seeking their first title since 1972.
Alabama (23-13) wiped out most of a 10-point second-
half deficit but never reclaimed the lead.
Len had been on the bench with four fouls, but came up big at the end despite missing two free throws with 27 seconds left. Dez Wells and Jake Layman each had 13 points.
Levi Randolph led Ala-bama with 15 points.
WAKE FOREST: Jeff Bzdelik will be back for a fourth season as head coach, athletic director Ron Wellman said Tuesday.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Wellman re-affirmed his support for Bzdelik and said he is “very encouraged about the future of our program.”
Bzdelik came under fire from a frustrated fan base after a third consecutive losing season and no postseason tournament appearances, a slide that followed a run of two consecutive NCAA Tournament berths in former coach Dino Gaudio’s final two seasons.
The Demon Deacons went 13-18 this year with upset wins at home over No. 2 Miami and No. 18 North Carolina State, and they ended their season with a loss to Maryland in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. They’re winless in that tournament since 2007.
BUFFALO: Hired Bobby Hurley as head coach.
Hurley, who was introduced at a news conference Tuesday, completed his first season as an associate coach at Rhode Island this month, working under his brother, Dan Hurley. He spent the previous two seasons as an assistant at Wagner, also with Dan serving as head coach.
At Buffalo, he takes over for Reggie Witherspoon, who was fired two weeks ago after 14 seasons on the job. Witherspoon went 4-20 this past season.
Hurley, a superstar high school guard while playing for his father, Bob, Sr., in New Jersey in the 1980s, is best known for his playing days at Duke, where he established himself as one of the nation’s top all-time point guards. He led the Blue Devils to three Final Four berths, including 1992, when he was named most outstanding player.