EditorsNote: adds new second graf with Friday matchups
Bryce Williams made two free throws with 13.8 seconds remaining in the second half to snap a tie and give Mississippi a come-from-behind 74-72 win Wednesday over Penn State in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center in New York.
The Rebels (5-1) will meet Oklahoma State in the final on Friday, while the Nittany Lions (5-1) will take on Syracuse in the consolation game.
Mississippi stormed back from a 21-point deficit early in the second half. Breein Tyree’s pullup jumper with 26.3 seconds left evened the score at 72, and Williams stole a diagonal pass after Penn State used its final timeout to set up a play.
Williams drew a foul while attempting a layup before calmly swishing both free throws.
Penn State’s last chance to win ended with Myles Dread airballing a corner 3-pointer. The ball went out of bounds to Ole Miss with 2.3 seconds left.
Tyree scored all 18 of his points in the second half for the Rebels, while Blake Hinson added 17. Williams finished with 15 points off the bench, and KJ Buffen stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Lamar Stevens scored a game-high 22 points for Penn State, while Mike Watkins finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Myreon Jones chipped in 12 points.
Penn State controlled the first half. The Nittany Lions opened up a 13-4 lead less than five minutes in on a jumper by Stevens, and steadily expanded the margin, even though Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis used three timeouts.
Two free throws by Stevens put the advantage in double figures for the first time just 7:05 into the game. When Jamari Wheeler converted a transition layup with 6:58 left in the half, Penn State led 29-14 and the Rebels were down to one timeout for the remainder of the game.
The margin reached 20 with 1:03 on Watkins’ foul shot before Ole Miss managed to pull within 43-27 at the half after two free throws by Williams. The Nittany Lions canned 53.3 percent from the field in the first half, while holding the Rebels to 40 percent.
—Field Level Media