BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Southern Miss needed a win over Minnesota to earn a trip to the NIT semifinals. The Golden Eagles failed to complete the mission as the Golden Gophers battled back and pulled away in the second half to earn a spot to the Big Apple.
Austin Hollins led Minnesota drilling a career-high 32 points helping the Golden Gophers crack the NIT semifinals for the second time in three years. Hollins knocked down all 10 foul shots and six straight in the final 48.1 after the Golden Eagles battled back and trailed by 5.
Neil Watson led Southern Miss with 16 points as the Golden Eagles closed out another successful season under head coach Donnie Tyndall. Southern Miss posted 29 victories and suffered their seventh loss of the season.
Joey King and Maurice Walker combined for 27 points in helping Minnesota (23-13) advance to the semifinals.
Southern Miss was trying to crack the NIT semifinals for the first time since the Golden Eagles captured the 1987 NIT Championship under head coach M.K. Turk who passed away a few months ago.
The 29 victories tied the Southern Miss school record for wins in a single season.