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NIT Tournament 2012, Middle Tennessee Vs. Minnesota: Golden Gophers Hold On To Win, 78-72

Playing for a spot in the NIT semifinals in Madison Square Garden, the Middle Tenn. St. Blue Raiders, a No. 4 seed, played host to the sixth-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers. The two teams kept it as tight as imaginable, but the Golden Gophers won 78-72, and will face the Washington Huskies in the semis.

Minnesota's Rodney Williams was huge all night until he began to undergo severe cramping in his right calf, forcing him to exit in the game's final minute. Ultimately, Williams' exit didn't matter, as a crucial technical foul on the Blue Raiders with 7.2 seconds remaining salted this game away.

Williams missed just three shots all game, finishing with 24 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. His teammate, Andre Hollins, wasn't as efficient, shooting 7-of-18 from the field, but was equally important, scoring 24 as well with six rebounds and four assists. He received a bloody nose at the end of the game, but was able to finish. Both he and Williams should be good to go for the semis.

The backcourt pairing of Marcos Knight and Raymond Cintron led the Blue Raiders in this one, but came up short. The two combined for 34 points, and Knight, just 6-foot-2, grabbed nine rebounds to go along with four steals. The Blue Raiders' season ends with a 27-7 record.

You can find a full NIT bracket here.

For more on the NIT, be sure to check out our NCAA basketball hub. A full bracket can be found here, and be sure to check out our 2012 NCAA Tournament hub for more on the Big Dance.