No. 1 seed Memphis won the 2021 NIT on Sunday, defeating No. 4 seed Mississippi State 77-65, giving the Tigers their second NIT title, in addition to one won in 2002 under former coach John Calipari. Four Tigers scored in double figures, led by sophomore Boogie Ellis’s game-high 23 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Landers Nolley, who scored 10 points against Mississippi State, earned NIT Most Outstanding Player honors after averaging 16.5 points per game in Memphis’ NIT wins over Dayton, Boise State, Colorado State and Mississippi State.
Memphis shot just 41 percent from 2-point range in the NIT championship but the Tigers made 10-of-22 3-pointers, while out-rebounding Mississippi State 44-36.
The Tigers finish their season with a 20-8 record after finishing in third place in the American Athletic Conference in the regular season in their third season under Memphis great Penny Hardaway, who returned to coach the Tigers.