The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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PONY DOWN: Mustangs fall short in NIT championship

NIT Minnesota SMU Basketball
Minnesota’s Elliott Eliason (55) passes the ball away from SMU’s Shawn Williams (2) during the first half of the NIT championship game Thursday. (Courtesy of AP)

NEW YORK – The comeback kids just couldn’t get it done for a fifth straight win and the NIT Championship. The SMU men’s basketball team fell 65-63 to Minnesota in New York City

last night.

 

The team’s bid for SMU’s first NIT championship fell short with Minnesota playing a complete game and taking advantage of 14 SMU turnovers, scoring 21 points en route to the NIT title.

“Both teams played hard down the stretch,” senior Shawn Williams said. “I’m just fortunate to be able to play with a great group of guys and be coached by such a great coaching staff.”

Williams and fellow senior Nick Russell end their collegiate career as NIT runner ups. After being snubbed by the NCAA tournament, the Mustangs won four straight games, all coming from behind.

Most importantly, the extra games and practice provided a young team more time to grow.

“For the young guys, it’s a good foundation for them,” Russell said. “They know what it takes to win games. Next year, they won’t do the things that we did this year so we can win those games.”

Looking back on the season, SMU Head Coach Larry Brown said there’s plenty of time to do that, but for now there’s a sick feeling in his stomach.

“I know everybody at SMU is real excited and I think from a personal standpoint, I love these kids,” Brown said. “I’m not looking at 27 wins, I’m looking at two seniors, [and] I wanted to send them on their way, the right way.”

The team rallied around Williams and Russell and wanted to “finish the right way,” but couldn’t complete the run in the NIT. The team was up seven points late in the game, but turnovers allowed Minnesota back into the game.

“Generally a turnover results in a pretty easy basket. They were struggling to score and got some pretty easy layups,” Brown said. “When you lose a game like this, one team executes late and the other comes up a little short.”

SMU was led by Nic Moore’s 17 points and seven assists, while the Golden Gophers got 19 points from Austin Hollins and 14 points from Andre Hollins.

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