NEW YORK (AP) – Tony Carr scored 21 points, Shep Garner added 18 while breaking a school record for career 3-pointers and Penn State routed Mississippi State 75-60 in the National Invitation Tournament semifinals Tuesday night.
The fourth-seeded Nittany Lions (25-13) will play No. 2 seed Utah for the championship Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
After the score was tied 9-all, Penn State ended the first quarter on a 9-2 run. From there, the Nittany Lions opened the second with a 19-0 spurt capped by Garner’s 3 off an assist from Carr to make it 37-11.
Penn State was up 42-23 at halftime and led by as many as 27.
Mississippi State (25-12) wasn’t able to get within 20 until there was 7:56 left in the game. Abdul Ado’s dunk made it 65-47, but that was the closest the fourth-seeded Bulldogs got before the waning moments.
Mississippi State was led by Tyson Carter’s 19 points off the bench. Ado had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Lamar Stevens scored 17 points for Penn State. Carr had six assists and five rebounds.
Penn State: While the Nittany Lions would have preferred to play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011, they made the NIT for the first time under seventh-year coach Pat Chambers. Penn State is back in the NIT title game for the first time since 2009, which it beat Baylor for the crown. The school’s only other appearance in the final was a loss to Minnesota in 1998.
Mississippi State: With just one senior on the roster, the Bulldogs will return most of their team and have something positive to build off as they try to move up the rankings in the rugged SEC next season.
Penn State: Will try to win the second NIT championship in school history. Utah (23-11) beat Western Kentucky 69-64 in the first semifinal.
Mississippi State: Starts preparing for a promising 2018-19 season.
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