VALPARAISO, Ind. – Texas Southern ended its season in an opening-round game of the NIT at Valparaiso Tuesday night 84-73 from the ARC .
Chris Thomas recorded 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Tigers (18-15). Derrick Griffin added 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting while Malcolm Riley added 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
Alec Peters scored a game high 28 points to lead Valpo, who is one of four No. 1 seeds in the NIT.
Keith Carter added 17 points and Darien Walker had 14 for the Crusaders (27-6), who got their first NIT win in their third appearance. Vashil Fernandez matched his career high with eight blocks.
TSU stayed with the Crusaders as the second half opened, making 8 of 12 shots. Then the Tigers went 1 of 10 from the field and fell behind by 11.
Peters had 17 points in the first half when Valparaiso made 6 of 9 3-pointers and shot 50 percent for a 41-35 lead.
The lead reached double figures when Riley received a technical for arguing a non-call on his missed 3-pointer. Peters made both free throws and on the ensuing possession, Darien Walker cut backdoor to throw down Shane Hammink's lob for a 66-55 lead with 9:56 to play.
Prior to Tuesday night, Texas Southern had never participated in the NIT. The last school to do so was Jackson State (2010). JSU was also the last SWAC school to earn a win in the annual invitational.
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