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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Texas A&M beat Washington St to win NIT title match at MSG

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Quenton Jackson scored 18 points and Texas A&M advanced to the NIT Championship game Tuesday night with a 72-56 loss to Washington State.

Henry Coleman III had 16 points and Manny Obaseki added 14 for the Aggies (27-12) in the second semifinal at Madison Square Garden. They will play for the title on Thursday night against Xavier, an 84-77 winner over St. Louis. Bonaventure in the double-headed opener.

Texas A&M was dropped from the NCAA Tournament despite reaching the SEC Finals, where it lost to Tennessee. It was a surprise blow by the selection committee that drew criticism from Aggies’ coach, Buzz Williams and others.

But the Aggies bounced back from that disappointment and made the most of their opportunity for a consolation prize in the NIT.

“We are locked up,” Jackson said. “We are currently in a big rut as a team. The coaching staff did a great job with the reconnaissance reports and all that, overtime. We are overly prepared for whatever comes next as players. We just have to go there and play with confidence and stick to the script, and we’ll be right. ”

Tyrell Roberts led Washington State (22-15) by 14 points. He was the only Cougars player to score double figures. Efe Abogidi had nine points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes.

“We ran into a better team tonight,” Washington State coach Kyle Smith said. “We have not really played against someone like them this year, but it was good for us to move forward.”

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Texas A&M got the ball inside and outscored Washington State 40-30 in the second half to pull away. Even as the Aggies missed 12 of 14 attempts from 3-point distance, they shot 48.5% (32 for 66) off the field.

“The ball fell,” Jackson said. “We were able to run a bit in transition and get out. But most of all, we played for each other and we played with energy, and the shots happened to fall. Every shot we shoot, we expect to make. ”

Texas A&M kept the Cougars at 34.5% shooting (19 for 55), including 24.1% from behind the arc (7 for 29). Washington State was also just 11 for 20 at the dirt line.

Washington State has 17 turnover to just eight for Texas A&M.

“They just ran,” Roberts said, “and we didn’t take care of the ball.”

Jackson added six assists, four rebounds and two steals. He was 7 of 9 off the floor.

Coleman shot 8 for 12 in 23 minutes and pulled down six rebounds.

FOLLOWING

At the end of a university basketball tradition dating back to 1938, the championship game on Thursday night will be the NIT’s last one at Madison Square Garden for at least a few years.

MSG will not host the semi-finals and finals in 2023 and 2024, the NIT announced Monday, saying it has begun a bidding process to find new sites for those years and an announcement is expected this spring.

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The NCAA bought the rights to the NIT in 2005.

“The NIT has a rich history in New York City and we appreciate the invaluable partnership with Madison Square Garden,” NCAA Senior Vice President Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “It was not an easy decision to make, but it is a mutual one.”

Gavitt added that “2023 and 2024 offer exciting opportunities to host the tournament in a new city and location that will give the teams an excellent experience.”

College basketball’s oldest major post-season tournament – and once its most prestigious – the National Invitation Tournament has crowned 82 champions at Madison Square Garden and played there annually since the event’s inception in 1938.

Last year was an exception, when the entire tournament was played in North Texas with a reduced field due to the coronavirus pandemic which also forced the cancellation of the 2020 edition.

Nothing was determined after 2024.

“The post-season NIT has been a wonderful partner of ours over the years with a dedicated following, and we wish them all the best,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Marquee Events.

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More Associated Press College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com / AP_Top25

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