sunny.png
Friday October 22nd, 2021 6:26PM

Penny wise: Memphis wins NIT title, has bigger goals for '22

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Memphis has its first title with Penny Hardaway as coach, and these young Tigers could be set up for more.

Boogie Ellis scored 23 points and Memphis never trailed after a fast start to beat Mississippi State 77-64 in the NIT championship game Sunday, wrapping up Hardaway’s third season coaching his alma mater after the Tigers just missed out on their first NCAA Tournament since 2013-14.

“We want to win championships, and the NIT is just a start,” Hardaway said.

With no seniors on the roster, the Tigers won 11 of their last 13 games. The only setbacks in that span were a pair of one-possession losses six days apart against NCAA Elite Eight team Houston.

"If this group wants to stay together, we’ll be really dangerous. We’ll be very dangerous because now we know the system,” Hardaway said. “The guys for the first time this year, they know how I coach, they know what I’m expecting, they know what the culture is, and they know what we have to buy into for us to be champions next year at the next level.”

Landers Nolley II opened the second half with a jumper and a 3-pointer that put the Tigers (20-8) ahead to stay to stay while winning college basketball's oldest tournament for the second time — they also were NIT champs in 2002. Nolley was one of three sophomore starters for the Tigers, who also had a freshman and junior among the starting five.

“We had a goal of cutting the nets down in the NCAA Tournament, but I do feel like we should’ve been there," sophomore guard Lester Quinones said. “But I feel like this was kind of a message to just show them that we kind of deserved to be there."

Their 2002 NIT title was the spark for a strong NCAA tourney run for the Tigers under John Calipari. Memphis made six of the next seven NCAAs, losing in overtime to Kansas in the 2008 championship game.

Memphis led the NIT finale 13-0 in less than 7 1/2 minutes before missing 11 shots in a row and 21 of 26 before halftime. Mississippi State (18-15) tied the game at 33-all when Andersson Garcia had a steal at midcourt and drove for a layup to beat the halftime buzzer.

The Tigers then shot 67% after halftime (16 of 24) and struck first with Nolley's baskets. The Tigers made 6 of 8 3s after the break, with Ellis hitting consecutive long-range shots early on.

D.J. Jeffries had 15 points for the Tigers, while DeAndre Williams had 12 points. Quinones had eight points with 16 rebounds and did a tremendous defensive job against Bulldogs guard DJ Stewart, who was held to four points after averaging 21.7 the first three NIT games.

Cameron Matthews paced Mississippi State with 19 points, while Deivon Smith had 17. Abdul Ado had eight points and 11 rebounds.

The Bulldogs missed their first 10 shots before Smith’s 3-pointer with 12:42 left in the first half made it 13-3. Garcia's half-ending play was part of a 10-2 run in the final two minutes, but Mississippi State had a turnover and missed two inside shots to open the second half.

“I wanted us to get off to a good start because of how poor we started off the first and that really didn’t happen,” Bulldogs coach Ben Howland said. “We struggled to score again to start the second half and we struggled to get stops. And that allowed them to break open and get a six, eight-point lead on us.”

AWAY FROM THE BIG APPLE

After the first-ever NIT cancellation last year because of COVID-19, this year's tournament was reduced from 32 to 16 teams and played entirely in North Texas, more than 1,500 miles from its usual home of New York City. The semifinals and championship game were played outside of Madison Square Garden for the first time in the 83-year history of the event.

STYMIED BULLDOG GUARDS

After being the first Mississippi State player with three consecutive 20-point postseason games, Stewart was 1-of-10 shooting, and 0-for-5 on 3s. Iverson Molinar, who had 25 points in the semifinal win over Louisiana Tech, finished with six points on 2-of-7 shooting for Memphis.

"We’re not gonna win many games when DJ and Iverson are only 3 of 17," Howland said.

CLOSE CALLS

The last four Memphis losses were by a combined eight points. Sixth-ranked Houston hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at home to beat the Tigers 67-64 in the regular-season finale, before winning 76-74 in the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinals.

___

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Capitals hold on to beat Rangers for 10th win in 11 games
Tom Wilson had two goals, Alex Ovechkin scored the 724th of his career and the Washington Capitals held on to beat the New York Rangers 5-4 for their 10th victory in 11 games
3:57PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Penny wise: Memphis wins NIT title, has bigger goals for '22
Boogie Ellis scored 23 points and Memphis beat Mississippi State 77-64 in the NIT championship game
3:56PM ( 4 minutes ago )
The Latest: Romanian woman, 104: Vaccine is only solution
A 104-year-old Romanian woman has received her second vaccine against COVID-19, becoming the oldest person in Bucharest to be fully inoculated against the disease
3:39PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Hamilton holds off Verstappen to win tense F1 season-opener
Lewis Hamilton just managed to hold off Max Verstappen to win the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and clinch the 96th F1 win of his career
2:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
John Isner wins two tiebreakers to advance at Miami Open
John Isner won a match that had no break points, sweeping two tiebreakers to edge No. 11-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime in the third round of the Miami Open
1:44PM ( 2 hours ago )
Hamilton holds off Verstappen to win F1 season-opener
World champion Lewis Hamilton just held off Max Verstappen to win the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and clinch the 96th F1 win of his career
12:52PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
LeBron James, Chadwick Boseman honored at NAACP Image Awards
LeBron James received the President’s Award for his public service achievements at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards that highlighted works by entertainers and writers of color
10:02PM ( 17 hours ago )
Davis' jumper gives Arkansas 72-70 win over Oral Roberts
Davonte Davis hit a short jumper with 2.9 seconds left, and Arkansas advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in 26 years with a 72-70 win over Oral Roberts in the South Region semifinals
10:01PM ( 17 hours ago )
Close range: Baylor grinds to Elite 8 in 62-51 win ova 'Nova
Top-seeded Baylor overcame some frigid outside shooting to move into the Elite Eight, getting 16 points from Adam Flagler in a 62-51 victory over Villanova and its versatile defense
9:52PM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
NCAA Sweet 16: Williams, Bueckers lead UConn past Iowa 92-72
Christyn Williams scored 27 points and Paige Bueckers added 18 to lead No. 1 UConn to a 92-72 win over fifth-seeded Iowa in the Sweet 16 of the women’s basketball tournament
3:17PM ( 1 day ago )
Williams, Bueckers lead UConn past Iowa 92-72
Christyn Williams scored 27 points and Paige Bueckers added 18 to lead No. 1 UConn to a 92-72 win over fifth-seeded Iowa in the Sweet 16 of the women’s basketball tournament
2:59PM ( 1 day ago )
Love and basketball: UM's Howard faces his friend at FSU
It’s not that Juwan Howard doesn’t love his old friend and mentor, Leonard Hamilton
1:57PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Oregon State sues AP to stifle request in volleyball case
Oregon State University is suing The Associated Press to block disclosure of details about an investigation of abuse allegations in its volleyball program
1:36PM ( 2 days ago )
Georgia Tech's Parham to return, Devoe considers NBA options
Georgia Tech senior guard Bubba Parham will take advantage of the extra year of eligibility provided by the NCAA due to the coronavirus pandemic and return for the 2021-22 season
12:47PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Capitals hold on to beat Rangers for 10th win in 11 games
Tom Wilson had two goals, Alex Ovechkin scored the 724th of his career and the Washington Capitals held on to beat the New York Rangers 5-4 for their 10th victory in 11 games
3:57PM ( 3 minutes ago )
The Latest: Romanian woman, 104: Vaccine is only solution
A 104-year-old Romanian woman has received her second vaccine against COVID-19, becoming the oldest person in Bucharest to be fully inoculated against the disease
3:39PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Record rains cause flash flooding in Tennessee; 4 dead
Heavy rain across Tennessee has flooded homes and roads, prompting officials to carry out numerous rescues
3:35PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Former Trump adviser takes prominent role in voting battle
A GOP lawyer who advised former President Donald Trump on his campaign to overturn the 2020 election results is now playing a central role coordinating the Republican effort to tighten voting laws around the country
3:26PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Rain swamps Bristol dirt track; NASCAR to try again Monday
NASCAR will try to run its first Cup Series race on dirt since 1970 on Monday after heavy rain swamped Bristol Motor Speedway
3:19PM ( 40 minutes ago )