Clemson, Minnesota punch tickets to Madison Square Garden for NIT semifinals

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The NCAA tournament isn’t the only college hoops postseason event happening this week. Here’s a roundup of the smaller dances:

Clemson 73, Belmont 68: Since the start of ACC play, the Tigers had played in 15 games decided by single digits. Once again, Clemson found itself in a close one, trailing visiting Belmont by five, 63-58, with a little more than four minutes remaining, For the final time on their home floor this season, the Tigers prevailed, ending the game on a 15-5 run. Demarcus Harrison scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime. K.J. McDaniels finished with 16 points, six boards and three assists. Craig Bradshaw scored a game-high 21 points, missing a double-double by one rebound while dishing out five assists. J.J. Mann ended his college career with a 20 point showing.

Clemson will face the winner of Cal-SMU on April 1 in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Minnesota 81, Southern Miss 73In his last game at the Barn, Austin Hollins had himself another memorable scoring night. The senior guard went for 32 points, off 8-of-14 (6-of-11 from three) shooting, converting on all 10 of his free throws as well. Southern Miss jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first half, but over time it appeared the Golden Eagles were getting worn down. A 12-3 run to start the second half gave the Golden Gophers a double-digit lead. With under three minutes to play, Southern Miss cut the lead to single digits, and even got it to five with 35 seconds remaining. Hollins hit four straight free throws to ice the game. Neil Watson and Daveon Boardingham scored 16 points and 15 points, respectively, for Southern Miss. Joey King added 15 points for Minnesota.

Minnesota will play the winner of Florida State and Louisiana Tech in the other NIT semifinal.

Not CBI or CIT games on Tuesday