In a back-and-forth game between two No. 1 seeds, Austin Hollins hit a three with just under a minute remaining to lift Minnesota to a 65-63 victory over SMU Thursday night in the NIT Championship game at Madison Square Garden.
SMU led by seven points with 5:53 to play and it looked like the Mustangs would cruise to victory. But Minnesota stormed back, tying the game less than 90 seconds later. That was part of an 11-1 run for the Gophers late in the game to eventually put the team up three.
Nick Russell answered the Minnesota spurt with a triple for SMU with 1:41 remaining to tie the game at 57, but again Minnesota had an answer. Joey King and Nic Moore traded free throws, but with the game tied at 59-59, Hollins' three put the Gophers up for good.
Hollins had 19 points to lead all scorers, doing his damage on 8-of-12 shooting. SMU had four players in double figures, with Moore leading the way with 17.
With the win, Minnesota finishes its season with 25 wins, its most since making the Final Four in 1997. SMU -- which narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament -- ended the year 27-10, with the core of its team returning next season along with heralded incoming freshman Emmanuel Mudiay.