The SMS Bears advanced with a resounding 105-82 win over Rice University in their opening round game in the NIT. The Bears scored 65 points in the second half and Rice head coach Willis Wilson, who was ejected two minutes into the second half.

The Bears led 40-29 after the first half, before exploding over the final 20 minutes of the game, hitting 66.7 percent of their shots in the second half. Tamarr Maclin led the way for the Bears with 20 points and nine rebounds. Blake Ahearn had 15 points, Tyler Chaney had 13, Kellen Easley had 12 and Anthony Shavies pitched in 10.

With the win, SMS improved to 19-12 on the season and will host Davidson in the next round on Saturday in Springfield.