The Minnesota Golden Gophers completed a rather successful overall season on Thursday night by outlasting a great effort from the SMU Mustangs in the final game of the 2014 NIT to capture the championship, 65-63.
From start to finish, the fight between these two talented teams was about as close as you could imagine, with the Gophers taking a slim three-point lead into the half at 30-27.
The final 20 minutes were just as back-and-forth as the first 20, but in the end, Minnesota was able to hold off down the stretch to grab the win over a very stout SMU team that maybe should have made the NCAA Tournament.
Austin Hollins led the way in the championship effort for Minnesota in this one, finishing the night with 19 points and four steals, showing once again how well this team can play on defense under the direction of Richard Pitino.
This win for Minnesota was a huge step in the right direction for this program. They showed some major strides this season in the Big Ten, and they can now carry this momentum into next season.