No. 1-seeded SMU (26-9) will face third-seeded Clemson (23-12) in the 2014 National Invitation Tournament Semifinals Tuesday, April 1 in Madison Square Garden, New York. The game begins at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and will be broadcast by KAAM 770 AM Radio in Dallas.
The Mustangs advanced to the NIT Final Four with a 67-65 win against California after Nic Moore hit a game-winning three-pointer with 6.5 seconds left. They also knocked off LSU (80-67 March 24) and UC Irvine (68-54 March 19) en route to the semifinals. This is the team’s second trip to MSG; last playing in the world-famous venue against St. John’s on Dec. 7, 1950 (L, 76-72).
SMU has 26 wins on the 2013-14 season – the second-most in program history, and the most since recording 28 wins in the 1987-88 season. The Mustangs went 18-1 at home this season, setting a record for home victories, including 12-1 inside Moody Coliseum. SMU also broke its season attendance record, setting the new mark at 107,412 (was 101,296 in 1984-85). The Mustangs sold out nine of 13 games in Moody Coliseum this season, a building record.
The Mustangs are 7th in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (1st in the American), holding opponents to 38.2%. The Mustang defense is allowing just 62.3 points per game, 24th in the NCAA (3rd American). SMU has held 29 of its last 44 (23 of 35 this year) opponents under 40% shooting. SMU has outrebounded 24 of 35 opponents this season.
On offense, SMU is leading the conference in field-goal percentage, shooting 48.4% (18th NCAA). The Mustangs are also shooting 38.2% from beyond the arc, good for second in the conference. SMU is third in the league in assists per game at 15.3 (32nd NCAA), and is averaging 71.4 points per game. Additionally, the Mustangs have outscored 29 of 35 opponents in the paint by an average of 33.7-21.8.
Tonight’s NIT semifinal is the second meeting between the Mustangs and the Tigers. Clemson won the only previous matchup 67-51 on Dec. 18, 1970, in the Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee.