WICHITA, Kan. -- As he exited a loud locker room into a jubilant hallway, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall greeted boosters, friends and family by repeating three letters: MSG.
Wichita State clinched a spot in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden by holding off College of Charleston 82-75 on Wednesday night. The Shockers (27-8) were led by seniors, Gabe Blair (16 points) and J.T. Durley (14 points), playing their final home game.
"A lot of emotions right now," Marshall said. "It was wonderful."
There were emotions for Charleston (26-11) as well. The Cougars trailed by 21 midway through the second half but fought back behind Andrew Goudelock, who scored 23 of his 31 points after halftime, including seven 3-point shots.
"We tried," Goudelock said. "We fought hard. When we got down 10, we thought we had a chance to steal one. But we couldn't do it."
After the first 15 minutes resulted in a 19-19 score, Blair scored six straight points and Graham Hatch hit two 3-pointers during an 18-6 run to end the half. Even when the Cougars tried to run down the clock for the final shot, Murry stole the ball from Goudelock near midcourt, then passed ahead to Ragland for a buzzer-beating layup that gave Wichita State a 37-25 lead.
Charleston was 9 of 25 from the floor and had one assist and 10 turnovers in the half.
"Boy, the fans here are something, and we got a little excited to start the game," coach Bobby Cremins said. "We got away from our game, and we dug ourselves a hole."
The Cougars tried to climb back during the second half. Goudelock's 3-pointer -- his second from beyond 26 feet in four minutes -- cut Wichita State's lead to 43-36 with 16:21 remaining.
Durley answered with a turnaround jumper on the other end, starting a 15-1 Wichita State run. Blair scored four of those points, and David Kyles hit a 3-pointer that sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy. Wichita State made nine of its first 10 shots after halftime, extending its lead to 58-37 on Aaron Ellis' baby hook with 12:30 remaining.
That's when Goudelock told his team, "Don't get blown out."
Instead, Goudelock started hitting 3-pointers from everywhere, and his teammates joined in as the Cougars went 11 of 20 from beyond the arc in the second half.
"You don't see a performance like that very often," Marshall said. "That's a special, special talent."
Goudelock hit a deep 3-pointer, then Antwaine Wiggins hit another to cut Wichita State's lead to 67-57 with 5:20 remaining. Less than two minutes later, Donavan Monroe scored five straight points to make it 69-62 with 3:33 to play.
"It was one of those deals where the three zeros [on the clock] could not get there fast enough," Durley said.
A three-point play by Hatch and clutch free-throw shooting -- Wichita State was 19 of 21 -- helped the Shockers hang on. When Blair dunked in the final minute, the celebration was on.
"Gabe has been playing so well down the stretch," Marshall said. "And Durley was big late, too. My guys made plays."