Bound for the Big Apple; Gophers head to NIT semifinals

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The Gopher men's basketball team will make their second trip to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in the last three years. The Gophers beat Southern Mississippi 81-73 in the NIT quarterfinals at Williams Arena, Tuesday night.

After a quick start from Southern Miss, which put the Eagles up early 13-9, the Gophers rallied back thanks to Austin Hollins.

Hollins had a huge first half for Minnesota. His play single-handedly helped the Gophers rally back from an early deficit.

Hollins, playing in his final home game at Williams Arena, knocked down five three-pointers in the first half and scored 18 points. He finished with career-high 32 points to lead the Gophers. He was also a perfect 10 of 10 from the free-throw line.

Joey King also was solid for the Gophers. He finished with 15, while Maurice Walker nearly had a double-double. He scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards.

As a team, the Gophers were selfless on Tuesday night. The team set a season-high with 23 assists. They also did a tremendous job from the free-throw line making 19 of 21 from the stripe in the game.

The Gophers (23-13) will play either Florida State or Louisiana Tech who meet in an NIT quarterfinal game Wednesday.

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