7:00 PM ET, March 31, 2011
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
NEW YORK -- The players flooded off the Wichita State bench, jumping together near the corner of the floor. Gregg Marshall smiled and pumped his fist. A few thousand fans dressed in yellow stood on their feet, cheering for a championship.Good luck convincing any of them that they didn't deserve it.Or that they didn't belong in a more prestigious postseason tournament.J.T. Durley and Graham Hatch scored 12 points each to lead a balanced offense, and the fourth-seeded Shockers simply overwhelmed top-seeded Alabama 66-57 on Thursday night to win the NIT championship at Madison Square Garden.Hatch was 4 for 4 from beyond the arc, including back-to-back shots in the closing minutes, as Wichita State (29-8) finished up a remarkable postseason run in style."We obviously, as a team, have gone through a roller coaster," Hatch said. "We came back from those disappointments, we pulled together, and it's just magical. It's unbelievable."
• After earning its first NIT win at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Wichita State earned its first NIT championship by beating Alabama Thursday.
• The win gave the Shockers their 29th win of the season, which is a school record.
• With the loss, Alabama ties New York University and Notre Dame for the most NIT semifinal or final appearances without winning a championship with six.
• J.T. Durley and Graham Hatch each had 12 points to lead Wichita State.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||23-46 (.500)||21-56 (.375)|
|3P Made-Attempted||7-15 (.467)||2-14 (.143)|
|FT Made-Attempted||13-17 (.765)||13-15 (.867)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|
|» Mar 31, 2011||WICH 66, @ALA 57||Recap|
Wichita State hit 50.0 percent of its shots from 10 or more feet in is win against Alabama. The Tide struggled from the same distance making only 33.3 percent of their shots, including 15.4 percent in the second half.[+]
Shooting From 10+ Feet
Despite the storied basketball histories of Kansas and Kansas State, Wichita State is the 1st school from the state of Kansas ever to win the postseason NIT. The only other NIT finalist from the state was Kansas in 1968, when the Jayhawks lost to Dayton.
Recent history isn't too optimistic about how the Wichita State-Alabama winner will fare next season. Neither of the last 2 winners have reached the Big Dance the following year, and the most recent NIT champ to win an NCAA Tournament game the next season was West Virginia, which reached the Sweet 16 in 2007.[+]
Last 5 NIT Champions
ESPN Stats & Information