New York Syracuse and Mississippi State both struggled in the first half. Hakim Warrick made sure Syracuse had a much better second half.
Warrick scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, and the fifth-ranked Orange beat No. 12 Mississippi State, 71-58, Thursday in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Syracuse (3-0) will play No. 24 Memphis tonight in the championship game at Madison Square Garden.
Syracuse and Mississippi State (2-1) were tied 25-25 at halftime. Syracuse had the better shooting half, hitting 29.4 percent to the Bulldogs' 26.5.
The matchup of preseason All-Americans was even, too, and not good. Warrick had four points on 2-for-5 shooting and Lawrence Roberts of the Bulldogs, playing for the first time this season, had two points and missed all five of his shots.
Warrick had six points in Syracuse's 11-0 run to open the second half. Roberts, the SEC player of the year last season, missed the Bulldogs' opener because of an NCAA suspension over payment to an NBA pre-draft workout. He missed the second recovering from a broken nose in practice last week.
Playing with a face mask, Roberts finished with nine points and 12 rebounds.
No. 2 Wake Forest 81, Va. Commonwealth 67
Winston-Salem, N.C. -- Chris Paul scored 16 points despite taking just three shots from the field to help Wake Forest beat Virginia Commonwealth in the Preseason NIT. Paul hit 14 of 15 free throws and had five assists for the Demon Deacons (2-0), who head to New York for next week's semifinal matchup with Providence.
No. 10 Arizona 83, Wright State 66
Tucson, Ariz. -- Arizona's Salim Stoudamire scored 24 points, including 6-of-9 three-pointers, in the Preseason NIT.
No. 19 N.C. State 71, Elon 45
Raleigh, N.C. -- Julius Hodge scored 21 points , leading North Carolina State in the semifinals of the BCA Invitational. The Wolfpack (2-0) will play the winner of the East Carolina-Oregon State game in the final.
Matt Nowlin had 16 points for Elon (1-1).
No. 24 Memphis 81, Saint Mary's 66
New York -- Rodney Carney scored a career-high 33 points for Memphis (3-0) in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.