Final score: Wichita St. 75 Washington St. 44
WSU won the first NIT Semifinal Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden, but it was the wrong one from the point of view of Pac-10 fans, as Wichita St., the second place team from the Missouri Valley Conference went wire to wire in the 31 point blowout win over Washington St. of the Pac-10.
The Shockers took their first double digit lead less than 10 minutes into the game, and held a 36-19 lead at halftime. The lead grew as large as 35 points late in the second half, as the Cougars never mounted a serious challenge.
Garrett Stutz made 10 of 13 shots from the field, and led everyone in both scoring and rebounding, delivering a 24 point, 13 rebound performance for Wichita St., leading three Shockers in double figures.
There were two main reason that the Cougs Couged it in the Big Apple. Number one was terrible shooting. Washington St. shot only 29% from the field, making just 15 of 52 shots, and not one of their 10 three pointers. Klay Thompson made only 1 of 10 shots, missing 5 three pointers, and finished with just 6 points.
The second problem was rebounding, where Wichita St. held a dominating 51-21 advantage.
Washington St. wound up the season 22-13, often struggling away from Beasley Arena, where they suffered only 4 of their losses.
'Bama Beats Buffs
Wichita St. (28-8) will play Alabama (25-11) Thursday night for the NIT Championship. The Crimson Tide won a 62-61 thriller over Colorado (24-14) in the second semifinal, surviving Alec Burks' shot for the win at the end.
Alabama got a game high 22 points from JaMychal Green, while Burks' last shot would have given him the same total. But by coming up with only 20 points, the Buffaloes, who will next see action as a member of the Pac-12, came up a point short. When Pac-10/12 fans next see Colorado, they will look drastically different though, as their top 3 players, who combined for 47 points, a dozen rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, are all seniors.