NEW YORK - Mississippi State's long-awaited return to Madison Square Garden did not go as planned Tuesday night.
Playing in the NIT Final Four for the first time since 2007, MSU could never get the offense going into high gear, dropping a 75-60 decision to Penn State in a tournament semifinal game at Madison Square Garden.
For MSU, the season ends at 25-12. That's the most wins in a season since the 2003-04 squad finished 26-4.
The contest got away from MSU during a 24-0 run by Penn State, which ended the first quarter and started the second quarter. The Bulldogs went better than seven minutes without scoring during that run.
Tyson Carter led the Bulldogs with 19 points, while Abdul Ado added 13 points and Aric Holman added 10 points. Ado had a team-high eight rebounds.
The lead switched hands a couple of times over the first seven minutes. After a basket by Ado brought the Bulldogs with 13-11, the Nittany Lions scored the final five points of the first quarter for an 18-11 lead.
From there, Penn State hit five 3-pointers over the first four minutes of the second quarter to help complete the 24-0 run. Ado and Carter scored back-to-back baskets as the Bulldogs reeled off six straight points to close back within 20.
Penn State led 42-23 at halftime.
The NIttany Lions quickly ran the lead back to 27 points over the first four minutes of the third quarter. The Bulldogs, who return all 11 scholarship players next year, kept battling but could not get back inside a 20-point deficit in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs scored the final six points of the game to create the final margin.
"We just struggled offensively making shots," MSU coach Ben Howland said. "But give Penn State a lot of credit. They were great on both ends of the court."
For the contest, MSU hit 21 of 53 shots from the field (39.6 percent), 3 of 15 shots from 3-point range (20.0 percent) and 15 of 21 shots from the foul line (71.4 percent). Penn State hit 29 of 59 shots from the field (49.2 percent), 11 of 20 shots from 3-point range (55.0 percent) and 6 of 10 shots from the foul line (60.0 percent).
MSU held a 35-33 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had seven assists and 11 turnovers, while the Nittany Lions had 18 assists and eight turnovers.
Penn State (25-13) received 21 points from Tony Carr, 18 points from Shep Garner and 17 points from Lamar Stevens. Stevens had a team-high eight rebounds.