College Basketball Roundup
The tournament roundup ...
CHICAGO — Aaron Craft dominated down the stretch for Ohio State and just about left his coach speechless in the process.
Even though he had seen it before, Thad Matta struggled for a moment to find the right words to describe his point guard. Once he did, he couldn’t stop himself. Seems appropriate, considering Michigan State couldn’t stop him when it mattered most, either.
Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead No. 10 Ohio State past No. 8 Michigan State, 61-58 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Craft keyed a seven-point spurt midway through the second half that stretched the lead to 55-47, and the Buckeyes (25-7) came away with the win after the Spartans (25-8) pulled within one. The victory avenged a loss in last year’s championship game.
No. 22 WISCONSIN 68, No. 3 INDIANA 56
Ryan Evans scored 16 points in a terrific all-around performance and No. 22 Wisconsin upset No. 3 Indiana 68-56.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The Mississippi Rebels can breathe much easier on the edge of coach Andy Kennedy’s first NCAA tournament berth in his seventh season.
Now they are setting their sights on a Southeastern Conference tournament championship first.
Marshall Henderson scored 23 points as Mississippi beat Vanderbilt 64-52 Saturday in the SEC tournament semifinals, putting the Rebels into the title game for the first time since 2001.
No. 13 FLORIDA 61, ALABAMA 51
Florida finally showed it can win a close game. All it takes is for senior guard Kenny Boynton to answer his coach’s challenge.
Held scoreless for the first 25 minutes, Boynton had 11 straight points during a critical 15-0 run Saturday as No. 13 Florida (26-6) erased a 10-point, second-half deficit to beat Alabama 61-51.
NEW YORK — Rob Brandenberg’s contested 3-pointer from the corner with the shot clock about to expire might go down as the worst shot VCU attempted against UMass on Saturday.
It was also the Rams’ biggest basket.
Brandenberg finally gave No. 25 VCU (26-7) some breathing room against the pesky Minutemen, and the Rams won 71-62 to reach the Atlantic 10 tournament title game in their first season in the conference.
No. 16 ST. LOUIS 67, BUTLER 56
Dwayne Evans nearly set a career high in points for the second straight day, and No. 16 Saint Louis’ defense locked down Butler in the second half for a 67-56 win.
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Albany guard Jacob Iati found his shooting touch against Vermont late in the America East Conference championship game to carry the Great Danes into the NCAA tournament.
In two regular-season losses to the Catamounts, the senior was a combined 1-for-17 shooting and 0 for 11 from 3-point range. That changed Saturday when Iati hit two 3-pointers in the closing minutes to lift the Great Danes to a 53-49 victory and into the NCAA field for the first time since 2007.
Iati took only two shots all game. The first was a 3-pointer from the right wing that gave fourth-seeded Albany a 46-45 lead with 2:36 left. After a Vermont turnover, Iati nailed another long shot that provided the Great Danes enough cushion to deny No. 2 seed Vermont its sixth NCAA berth in 11 years.
CLEVELAND — Demetrius Treadwell scored 13 points and top-seeded Akron, its season nearly wrecked by a player suspension, beat Ohio 65-46 to win the Mid-American Conference championship and the league’s automatic spot in the NCAA tournament.
One week ago, the Zips (26-6) were in danger of seeing a special season crash when point guard Alex Abreu was arrested on drug trafficking charges. But the Zips, playing in their seventh straight MAC title game, are back in the NCAA brackets for the third time in five years.
LAS VEGAS — New Mexico improved to 29-5 with a 63-56 victory over UNLV’s homecourt.
New Mexico added the conference tournament title to its regular season crown, fueled by the late scoring of Tony Snell, who scored 13 of his 21 points in the last eight minutes.
GARLAND, Texas —
Jourdan DeMuynck grabbed a rebound and drove the length of the court with the clock running down. Instead of a game-winning shot, he wound up in a heap on the floor as Southern University held on for a 45-44 victory in the Southwestern Athletic championship game.
TULSA, Okla. — Selection Sunday will still be a nail-biter in Hattiesburg after Southern Miss allowed Chris Crawford to score 20 of his 23 points in the final 13 minutes and No. 20 Memphis beat Southern Miss 91-79 in double overtime in the Conference USA tournament title game.
Kansas defeated Kansas State 70-54.
Louisville defeated Syracuse.