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College Basketball

SMU rallies past Clemson 65-59 in NIT semifinals

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell talks to Austin Ajukwa during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against SMU in the semifinals of the NIT Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) Photo: Frank Franklin II

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell talks to Austin Ajukwa during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against SMU in the semifinals of the NIT Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) Markus Kennedy had 21 points, including the clinching three-point play, and SMU rallied from 13 down in the second half to beat Clemson 65-59 Tuesday night, sending Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown into the NIT championship game in his old backyard.

Nic Moore added 13 points and Nick Russell scored 10 for the Mustangs (27-9), who will play Minnesota or Florida State for the title Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Brown, the only head coach to win both an NCAA and NBA championship, now has a chance to add the National Invitation Tournament to his extensive resume.

The 73-year-old Brown, who was born in Brooklyn and grew up in nearby Long Beach, is old enough to remember when the NIT was the premier college basketball tournament around. He has directed quite a turnaround in two seasons at SMU, snubbed by the NCAA tourney on Selection Sunday.

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