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Minnesota wins second NIT title

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Austin Hollins scored 19 points with four steals to lead the Minnesota Golden Gophers to a 65-63 win over the SMU Mustangs and secure the program's second official NIT title.

Andre Hollins and Deandre Mathieu netted 14 and 13, respectively, for Minnesota (25-13), which capped Richard Pitino's inaugural season at the school with a championship victory at Madison Square Garden.

"Obviously extremely happy for our guys to win a championship," said Pitino. "They were a lot of fun to coach. I thought they all got better."

The Golden Gophers also won the NIT crown back in 1993, defeating Georgetown by a 62-61 margin, and won a vacated title in 1998, while also appearing in the tournament's championship game in 2012 -- a 75-51 loss to Stanford.

Nic Moore paced the Mustangs (27-10) with 17 points, while Nick Russell tallied 15 and Shawn Williams added 11 before fouling out late.

Austin Hollins' layup with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game gave the Gophers a 45-44 edge. Markus Kennedy then capped a 9-1 run for SMU with a dunk that helped the Mustangs to a 53-46 advantage.

Mathieu countered with a three-point play and Austin Hollins followed with a layup before Maurice Walker tied the game at 53-apiece with a jumper just before the four-minute media timeout.

With just under two minutes left, Austin Hollins followed a pair of free throws from Mathieu with a layup to push SMU's lead to three, 57-54.

Russell followed with a wing 3-pointer to tie the game, but Hollins put all the pressure on Larry Brown's squad less than a minute later.

Andre Hollins drove and kicked it to his wide-open brother Austin, who buried a trey for a 62-59 edge with under a minute to play.

Moore split a pair at the line on the ensuing Mustangs possession and cut the deficit to one, 63-62, with 5.8 seconds left.

Andre Hollins nailed a pair at the stripe in the closing seconds and Pitino elected to foul Russell on the next SMU touch.

Russell made 1-of-2 from the line and Minnesota ran out the remaining time to earn the championship victory.

"I'm proud of my team," said Brown. "Obviously both teams were kind of disappointed we weren't able to play in the NCAA, and I think all the teams that were here showed a lot of character picking themselves up and making a run."

The Gophers led by six after an Andre Hollins layup late in the first half, then Williams responded with a trey which capped the scoring in the opening stanza and cut the deficit to 30-27 at the break.

Game Notes

SMU now leads the all-time series between the two schools, 6-4, but all nine previous meetings took place in consecutive years between 1954-1963 ... Pitino's father Rick was seated behind the Gophers' bench for the contest ... The Mustangs defeated UC Irvine, LSU, California and Clemson to reach the title game ... Minnesota took out High Point, Saint Mary's, Southern Miss and Florida State en route to the championship ... Minnesota shot 24-for-49 from the field, while SMU made 22-of-45 shot from the floor ... There were 17 lead changes and 14 ties ... The Mustangs owned a 31-25 edge on the boards ... The Gophers had a 10-0 margin on the fastbreak and a 21-9 edge with points off turnovers.

04/03 23:15:29 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 10
NOS 28
Final
ORL 98
WAS 105
Final
MIN 97
DET 91
Final
CLE 90
NYK 95
Final
DAL 120
UTA 102
Final
LAC 93
OKC 90
7:00pm Tonight
IND
MEM
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
CLE
 
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
PHI
 
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
POR
 
10:00pm Tonight
PHO
SAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
LAC
 
Final
LOU 31
FSU 42
Final
GASO 42
TROY 10
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
CIN
8:02pm Tonight
MEM
TULSA
Final
BUF 2
BOS 3
Final
PIT 3
LOS 0
Final
NJD 2
WIN 1
Final
FLA 2
ARI 1
Final
OTT 4
CHI 5
Final
TAM 4
PHI 3
Final
STL 2
ANA 0
Final
MIN 4
SJS 3
Final
COL 5
NYI 0
Final
VAN 3
MON 2
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
LOS
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
NAS
 
Final
CAR 10
NOS 28