The SMU Mustangs seem to have a flair for the dramatic, because in the final game at Moody coliseum this season, they made sure it went down to the wire with a chance to play in New York on the NIT semi-finals and championship. Nic Moore hit the winning shot with 6.5 seconds left on the clock with a chance to advance. Fortunately for SMU the final shot put up by Cal would bounce away harmlessly.
The final score was 67-65, but the course of the game was very tight and nothing looked like it was going to be easy on this night in Dallas. This game had an ebb and flow to it which would keep a very vocal and nervous Moody crowd on the edge of their seats from the opening tip to the final court storming of the 2013-2014 season.
The SMU Mustangs advance to play Clemson in the semi-finals in New York behind Markus Kennedy’s 19 points. But one of the biggest stats of the night was the fact SMU had 16 second chance points to California’s zero and the Mustangs out rebounded the Bears 35-22. It was this effort which kept the Mustangs in position to win the game.
When asked about the snub and the desire to win the NIT, Senior Nick Russel said” It’s big, When we didn’t make the NCAA tournament, we said we had to win this tournament to prove them wrong”. While California kept this game closer than the previous two opponents, the players said there was no panic, which wasn’t the case in the stands as fans sat nervously through the back and forth.
As the fans stormed the court when the clock hit all zeroes, the unmistakable sound of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” started playing and fans surrounded the Mustangs to celebrate a great victory. While the team will enjoy this victory for the next 24 hours, Coach Brown has already made it clear the team will start practicing for Clemson on Friday.
The team will leave for New York on Sunday, and they will face Clemson on Tuesday night from Madison Square Garden at 6 pm central time on ESPN. The winner of that game will advance to the NIT finals which are scheduled to be played on April 3rd.
The Mustangs are closer to the goal they set for themselves, and this team has the makings of finishing this NIT run with something special.Please be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook