(NEW YORK) — In 2013, Rick Pitino hoisted the NCAA Championship trophy with his Louisville Cardinals. On Thursday, he watched his son, Richard, hoist up the NIT title after leading Minnesota to a 65-63 win over Southern Methodist University at Madison Square Garden.
Austin Hollins hit a go-ahead three with 46.1 seconds left that put the Golden Gophers (25-13) up 62-59. Minnesota held strong and prevented a potential comeback by SMU to win their third-ever NIT championship.
“We made some big-time plays,” said Pitino, who is in his first year as a head coach. “We gutted it out. That is a very good team…They deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament.”
The 25 wins are a program record for Minnesota, who lost in the NIT finals to Stanford two years ago. SMU (27-10) is coached by Hall of Famer Larry Brown, who returned to MSG, where he coached the New York Knicks to a 23-59 record in the 2005-06 season.
“I’m proud of my team,” said Brown. “We picked ourselves up and we competed at the highest level against quality teams and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Hollins finished with a game-high 19 points while Nic Moore led all Mustang players with 17 points in the loss.
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Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com