Mountaineers win NIT championship

Friday, March 30, 2007

NEW YORK -- Frank Young and the West Virginia Mountaineers shot past Clemson to their first NIT title in 65 years.

Young scored 24 points, including six 3-pointers, and De'Sean Butler added 20 points to help West Virginia beat Clemson 78-73 in the NIT championship Thursday night. Young was named the tournament's most outstanding player.

Young has stepped up in March. He averaged over 20 points in the Big East tournament. The senior followed that with a stellar NIT to cap off his college career, averaging 22.3 points in five games.

It was the Mountaineers' first NIT title since 1942 when Rudy Baric led West Virginia over Western Kentucky.

West Virginia (27-9) had advanced to the championship game by edging Mississippi State 63-62 on Darris Nichols' buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Nichols finished with 13 points and nine assists in the championship game.

The Mountaineers, who came from 14 down in the second half in the semifinal, didn't need a late-game rally this time, using a 12-2 run at the end of the first half to take control. The Tigers (25-11) trailed by double digits for the entire second half before a late spurt cut it to five with 3 seconds left.

-- The Associated Press

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