College Basketball: East Tennessee State wins Atlantic Sun
Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 7, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Mike Smith scored 22 points, and East Tennessee State clinched its first NCAA tournament berth since 2004 and their eighth overall by routing Jacksonville 86-58 Saturday night to win the Atlantic Sun tournament.
The Bucs (23-10) had not earned an NCAA berth since winning back-to-back titles in the Southern Conference, but they had to find a new league when the university dropped football. They advanced to this championship by beating Belmont, the A-Sun’s three-time champ that beat the Bucs for the league’s NCAA berth in 2007 and in 2008 in a semifinal with a controversial finish.
With the Lady Bucs having won the women’s title over Jacksonville earlier on the same floor, both are going to the NCAA tournament in the same year for the first time in school history.
Jacksonville (18-13) lost to Belmont a year ago in this game and failed again to make its first NCAA appearance since 1986 when the Dolphins played in the Sun Belt Conference.
ETSU rolled up to a 30-point lead midway through the second half. Kevin Tiggs added 21 points, and Micah Williams had 16 for ETSU.