CHICAGO (AP) — Isaiah Wilkerson scored 20 points to help NJIT edge Houston Baptist 65-64 in the first round of the Great West Conference tournament Thursday.
The fourth-seeded Highlanders (14-16) will face top-seeded Utah Valley in the semifinals Friday.
Chris Flores scored 13 points and had six steals, while Ryan Woods and Lamar Kearse added 10 points each for NJIT, which has won four in a row.
Tyler Russell’s 17 points paced the fifth-seeded Huskies (10-20), who had eliminated NJIT the last two years. Jonathan Evans and Art Bernardi scored 14 points apiece.
The Highlanders committed only nine turnovers while forcing 20, helping them win despite shooting only 40 percent (27 of 68) to Houston Baptist’s 50 percent (24 of 48).
NJIT led 65-60 with 1:10 to go. Russell cut it to 65-62, and after an NJIT turnover, Bernardi made it a one-point game with 11 seconds left. But the Highlanders held on.