New York Pat Carroll and John Bryant have won 96 games in four seasons at Saint Joseph's. They want to leave school with a title.
"If we can end with a championship off this year, that would just top off the year," said Carroll, who scored 13 of his 24 points in the second half of Saint Joseph's 70-58 victory over Memphis on Tuesday night in the NIT semifinals.
The Hawks (24-11), who had to win four games just to get to Madison Square Garden, will face South Carolina for the tournament title Thursday.
Saint Joseph's has won five straight Atlantic 10 regular-season titles, but Carroll and Bryant haven't enjoyed a tournament victory.
They got close last year, when Saint Joseph's advanced to the NCAA regional finals behind the star guard duo of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West. Those guys are now in the NBA, and the Hawks are in the NIT.
When they started the season 3-6, it looked as though the postseason would be totally out of reach. But Saint Joseph's is 21-5 since Jan. 1.
"We don't want to just be remembered for last year," Carroll said. "Coach (Phil) Martelli set out to make Saint Joseph's a good program, not just a good team off of 2004. This is more satisfying to us."
Carroll, the Atlantic 10 co-player of the year, was 6-of-9 from three-point range -- including 3-of-4 in the second half, when the Hawks pulled away behind 56.3-percent shooting.
Rodney Carney scored 21 points, and freshman guard Darius Washington Jr. added 14 for Memphis (22-16).
South Carolina 75, Maryland 67
New York -- Carlos Powell scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, leading South Carolina past Maryland in the NIT semifinals. South Carolina grabbed 20 offensive rebounds -- 44 overall.
Josh Gonner scored 11 of his 12 points in the first half, when South Carolina (19-13) turned an early five-point deficit into a 14-point lead.
Travis Garrison, Chris McCray and Mike Jones each scored 15 points for Maryland, which had another of its long-running, positive streaks snapped. The Terrapins (19-13) were looking for their ninth straight 20-win season, but fell a game short.