MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Tigers bring home the first NIT Championship since 2002 after a 77-64 win over Mississippi State.
After the game, Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway said, “We had to do it for our city, we owed it to them after the way the season started off.”
Memphis got off to a fast start in the game, going on a 13-0 run. Then Mississippi State came back to tie it at 33 going into half.
In the second half, the Tigers shot 67% from the field and outscored the Bulldogs, 44-31.
It was a whirlwind of a season. The Tiger started 5-4. On December 21, Penny Hardaway received a five-year contract extension. On the same night, the Tigers lost to Tulsa. However, after that game, they finished the season winning 15 of 19. The team had two covid pauses and managed to take an Elite 8 team in Houston down to the wire twice.
After nearly missing the NCAA tournament, they won four-straight in the NIT to finish the season with a title. This is Penny Hardaway’s third season as head coach. Each year, his team has won 20 or more games. The Tigers finish the 2020-21 season with a 20-8 record.