FRISCO, Texas - Cameron Matthews and Deivon Smith pumped in career-high scoring performances en route to 36 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Mississippi State men's basketball team dropped a 77-64 decision to Memphis during Sunday's NIT Championship Game at the Comerica Center.
Mississippi State (18-15) made its third straight appearance when postseason tournaments have been played and reached the NIT Finals for the first time in program history.
Matthews sparked State's offensive effort and piled up 11 of his career-best 19 points in the first half. He connected on three of his six field goals from three-point territory and was 4-of-6 at the foul line. It marked Matthews' first double-digit scoring output in the Maroon and White. The Olive Branch native also came one shy of his career-high with six rebounds and dished out three assists.
Smith compiled his fifth game of 10-plus points with a 17-point performance. The 17 points were the fifth highest scoring output by a Bulldog off the bench during a NIT game. Smith also tacked on three rebounds and handed out three assists.
Abdul Ado worked his way to eight points and two blocks. The two blocks enabled the Nigeria native to move into a second-place tie with Erick Dampier (1994-95-96) on MSU's all-time block list. Ado also secured 11 rebounds in back-to-back NIT games to become the eighth player in program history to eclipse 800 career rebounds with 806.
Iverson Molinar and D.J. Stewart Jr., who each earned NIT All-Tournament Team recognition, were limited to a combined 10 points and misfired on 14 of their 17 shot attempts. Stewart Jr. also came away with four rebounds and a trio of assists.
More details to follow.