Clemson's Brad Brownell
"We didn't get off to great start in the second half, and unfortunately we saw the second side of our team a little bit this year. We struggle offensively at times, and we just didn't shoot the ball very well in the second half.
"Certainly, I'm sure, some of the credit for that goes to SMU and some of it is just us missing shots. I also thought we were not as good on the boards. We were a little bit smaller than our normal lineup with K.J. playing the four and that probably hurt us a little bit, as well.
"But couldn't be more proud of these two guys next to me (K.J. McDaniels and Rod Hall) - tremendous leaders, tremendous young men who had outstanding seasons and really helped me will this team to a surprisingly strong finish in our league and a couple baskets away from playing for an NIT title."
On Clemson's turnaround: "It was an outstanding year. I think the only people that felt like we were going to have a good season this year were the players and coaches. You know, we "grinded" is a term our players use. We talked about it a lot as a team.
"Tonight, you saw the good and the bad a little bit of Clemson basketball this year. The first half we played as well as we can play. Offensively we shot the ball at a high level. I thought we guarded them very well, except for a couple of rough turnovers, we played great. The problem for our team is we are not consistently good offensively to match that sometimes. And then in the second half, you saw the team that sometimes rears its ugly head and we lose some games in that light.
"I thought defensively, we letdown a little bit. Markus Kennedy I thought was the difference in the game; his ability to score some baskets over (Landry) Nnoko around the rim was really the difference. He had two or three baskets, and this is really a two or three basket game.
"We also finally got a couple stops late and had chances to tie and miss some shots. If we make one of those shots, now the momentum has come back to us and I think the pressure shifts back to SMU and we can steal the game back.
"We didn't start the second half well. Kennedy beat us in the second half and offensively we didn't just execute well enough to beat a good team. And this is a good basketball team: They play the ball with great pace; they have got depth; they defend you, and you know, it was a very entertaining game and one we are disappointed in because we controlled it for the first 20 minutes.
SMU's Larry Brown
"Really proud of my team. I think first half, Clemson did about as well as any team that we've played against. They controlled the tempo. They had much more energy than us. They executed great and we didn't have much to say at halftime except that we had to match their energy, possibly play harder than them and I thought best half we played all year; to hold them to 21 after the way they dominated us in the first half was really exciting.
"To be in this environment and playing this championship in this special building with our fans so supportive, that was the most special moment we've all had I think since we've been there."
On being back in Madison Square Garden: "I have a lot of memories. One of my best friends is the coach. I came in here, a lot of people that were great to me and my family, they took me into the Knicks locker room and showed me what they have done. How many guys get to coach the New York Knicks?
"When you grow up in this city and you love the game the way I do, I was thrilled. I'm not happy with the job I did, but every time I've ever been here, it's been a highlight for me, and then to have my kids come in here and play in this environment with SMU people here."
On adding an NIT title to his legacy: "I haven't even thought of that. You know, and I don't mean this in a bad way, but when you coach North Carolina, assistant coach at North Carolina and you're at UCLA and you're at Kansas, they don't look at the NIT like some of the mid major schools.
"But now, I look at the NIT and if you don't win your conference tournament, but you win your conference regular season, you get to go. And then there's a limited number of at large teams that get to go and there's 32 teams instead of 64, so, wow, this is a quality, quality championship.
"We haven't had a lot of nice things happen at SMU for a long, long time, so if we were fortunate enough to win a championship like this, and I was part of it, it would be pretty neat."
Clemson Team Notes
• Clemson finished the 2013-14 season with a 65-59 loss to SMU. The Tigers improved their win total by 10 over the previous season, tied for the biggest win improvement from one season to the next in school history.
Clemson players and coach talk after NIT
• The Tigers lost for only the third time this season when leading at halftime. SMU overcame a 13-point deficit, the largest overcome by a Tiger opponent to gain victory this season.
• Clemson’s 23 wins tied for fifth-most in school history for a single season.
• Clemson finished the season with a .744 free throw percentage, and will lead the ACC in the team statistic for the first time in 61 seasons.
• The Tigers’ .744 free throw mark established a school record, besting the .734 figure compiled by the 1981-82 team.
• The Tigers finished the season with 221 blocked shots, second-most in school history behind the 235 compiled by the 1989-90 team.
• Clemson yielded 58.4 points per game to its opponents this season, a school record in the ACC era (1953-present).
• Clemson held opponents to a .285 figure from three-point range, the best figure for a single season in school history. The previous best was .294 in 2009-10.
Clemson Player Notes
• K.J. McDaniels posted double figures for the 33rd time in 36 games this season. He finished with 11 on Tuesday.
• McDaniels finished the season with 614 points, sixth-most in Clemson history.
• McDaniels blocked three shots, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least one to 18.
• McDaniels finished the season with 100 blocks, only the third different Tiger to reach the century mark for a season. Tree Rollins and Sharone Wright, both centers, were the others.
• With three blocked shots, McDaniels passed Sharrod Ford for seventh on Clemson’s career list with 178.
• McDaniels tallied two dunks and finished the season with 58, third-most in school history for a single season.
• McDaniels played 1,212 minutes this season, second-most in a season in Clemson history. Only Terrell McIntyre played more minutes with 1,250 as a senior in 1998-99.
• McDaniels made 154 free throws in 2013-14, fifth-most in a single season in Clemson history.
• Rod Hall scored a team-high 18 points, his second-best point total of the 2013-14 season.
• Hall hit 3-of-4 from three-point distance. It was a career-high in terms of makes from beyond the arc for the Tiger junior.
• Hall made all seven of his free throw attempts, and finished the season with a .757 figure at the stripe. He entered his junior season with a career .596 figure.
• Hall played 1,194 minutes – fourth-most in a single season in Clemson history.
• Hall’s 143 assists were the most by a Tiger since Cliff Hammonds posted 147 in 2006-07.
• Landry Nnoko blocked multiple shots for the eighth consecutive game. He finished with two on the night and 69 for the season.
• Nnoko scored 10 points Tuesday and reached double figures 10 times as a sophomore.
• Damarcus Harrison registered double figures for the eighth time in the final 12 games of the season, finishing with 10 points Tuesday.
• Harrison made a pair of three-pointers and led Clemson for the season with a .350 figure, given a minimum of 50 attempts.
• Austin Ajukwa made a three-pointer in eight minutes. He finished the season with at least one three in five of Clemson’s last seven games.