Illinois State advances to MVC final; Jacksonville State first to clinch NCAA berth

MiKyle McIntosh scored 15 points and No. 1 seed Illinois State never trailed in a 63-50 win over fourth-seeded Southern Illinois on Saturday to advance to the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final.

Paris Lee added 12 points, including 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, and Phil Fayne grabbed 11 rebounds for the Redbirds, who will play second-seeded Wichita State on Sunday for the championship.

Illinois State (27-5) rolled to a 43-20 halftime lead. A 3-pointer from Tony Wills early in the second half gave the Redbirds their largest advantage of the game, 52-22, before Southern Illinois used a 16-2 run to trim the gap back to 13 late in the game.

Sean Lloyd led Southern Illinois (17-16) with 12 points and Mike Rodriguez had 11.

The victory extended Illinois State's record for most wins in a season.

Jacksonville State 66, UT Martin 55

Greg Tucker scored all 14 of his points in the first half and Jacksonville State upset UT Martin 66-55 Saturday night in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth.

A former Division II program, this was the first time the Gamecocks (20-14) had even reached the OVC Tournament final since joining the league for the 2003-04 season. They upset regular-season champion Belmont in the semifinals and knocked off the West Division winner in the title game for their fourth straight win.

Erik Durham led Jacksonville State with 17 points and Malcolm Drumwright added 13 as the Gamecocks became the first school in the country to earn an automatic NCAA Tournament bid this year.

UT Martin (21-12) had its three-game winning streak snapped and lost in the title game for a second straight year.

Jacolby Mobley led the Skyhawks with 18 points, Matthew Butler had 17 and Javier Martinez 13.

No. 5 North Carolina 90, No. 17 Duke 83

Joel Berry II scored 28 points — including a critical late-game burst of seven straight for his team — to help No. 5 North Carolina hold off No. 17 Duke 90-83 on Saturday night.

Isaiah Hicks added 21 points for the Tar Heels, who battled through a nearly shot-for-shot fight with their fiercest rival to finish unbeaten at home. The game featured 24 lead changes and 14 ties before UNC (26-6, 14-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) finally pushed ahead for good in the final six minutes, with its final margin the biggest lead for either team all night.

Berry shot 9 of 14 and made all five of his 3-pointers to offset a tougher shooting night for leading scorer and ACC player of the year candidate Justin Jackson.

Luke Kennard, another league player of the year contender, finished with 28 points to lead the Blue Devils (23-8, 11-7).

North Carolina shot 51 percent and finished with a 15-5 edge in second-chance points, helping to offset a busy night for Duke at the foul line. The Blue Devils made 28 of 35 free throws but missed four — three by Grayson Allen — in the final 3½ minutes as Berry made his move.

Duke shot 54 percent in the first half but just 37 percent after halftime.

Vanderbilt 73, No. 12 Florida 71 

Riley LaChance's layup with 1:35 left gave Vanderbilt the lead for good, and the Commodores rallied from a 12-point deficit to upset No. 12 Florida 73-71 on Saturday in Nashville, Tenn., and sweep the Gators.

With the win, Vanderbilt (17-14, 10-8 Southeastern Conference) has won five of six overall and polished up its resume for the NCAA Tournament. The Commodores won despite one of their worst shooting days this season outside the arc by the SEC's best 3-point shooters.

Florida (24-7, 14-4) goes into the SEC Tournament having lost two of its last three.

The Gators led 54-42 with 12:06 left, then went cold down the stretch.

The Gators, who lost 68-66 to Vanderbilt in Gainesville in January, had their chances. Kasey Hill's driving layup missed with 6.7 seconds left, and a wild heave by the Gators came nowhere close to the backboard at the buzzer.

Seton Hall 70, No. 13 Butler 64

Desi Rodriguez scored 21 points, and Angel Delgado added 20 points and 16 rebounds Saturday, helping Seton Hall rally from a 10-point, second-half deficit to upset No. 13 Butler 70-64.

The Pirates (20-10, 10-8 Big East) scored the game's final seven points, taking a 65-64 lead on Khadeen Carrington's basket with 1:24 remaining. Myles Powell's 3-pointer with 35.3 seconds left stretched the lead to 68-64.

Carrington, who finished with 17 points, iced it with two free throws with 12 seconds to go, extending the Pirates' winning streak to four.

Butler (23-7, 12-6) got 19 points from Kelan Martin and 13 from Avery Woodson but had its four-game winning streak snapped.

Martin's 3-pointer with 7:01 to play extended the Bulldogs' lead to 57-47. But two free throws by Rodriguez with 4:36 remaining and a 3 by Powell at 3:52 tied it at 59. It was tied at 61 with 3:10 left when Butler called a timeout.

Getting 13 points from Woodson and nine from Martin, Butler scored the first half's final seven points to lead 38-35.

No. 15 Florida State 66, No. 25 Miami 57

Dwayne Bacon scored 23 points, Jarquez Smith added 11 and No. 15 Florida State clinched a double bye in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament with a 66-57 victory over No. 25 Miami on Saturday.

The Seminoles (24-7, 12-6) will be the second seed for the tournament, which begins Tuesday at Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York. It is their highest seeding since they were second in 1993. Florida State, Louisville and Notre Dame are tied for second but the Seminoles have the higher seed based on a better combined record over the Irish and Cardinals.

The win also gives Florida State its first unbeaten home season since 1977-76. It is 18-0 at the Tucker Center and has won 21 straight dating to last season.

Davon Reed led the Hurricanes (20-10, 10-8) with 22 points and Bruce Brown had 10.

The first half saw five ties and nine lead changes as Florida State led 37-34 at halftime.

Reed started the second half with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 37 before FSU went on a 12-3 run to take control. Smith, who was one of two seniors playing his final home game, had five points during the run.

Indiana 96, Ohio State 92

Robert Johnson scored 26 points and James Blackmon Jr. added 22 points and eight rebounds as Indiana used a hot start and held off a second-half Ohio State rally to beat the Buckeyes 96-92 on Saturday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio.

Down by 14 at the half, Ohio State came out with a 13-3 run to start the second half and tied the game at 64 on a Jae'Sean Tate layup with just under nine minutes left.

But Indiana (17-14, 7-11 Big Ten) put together a 10-1 run, went up by seven when Ohio State called a timeout with 6:07 left, and held off the Buckeyes down the stretch.

A C.J. Jackson 3-pointer got Ohio State to within two points, 94-92, with three seconds remaining. But Marc Loving had to foul Blackmon, and he hit a pair of foul shots to put it out of reach.

Josh Newkirk finished with 18 points and Thomas Bryant added 16 for the Hoosiers, who finished a disappointing regular season on a high note heading into next week's Big Ten Tournament.

Tate led Ohio State with 20 points, and Trevor Thompson had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Ohio State (17-14, 7-11) lost for the first time in three games.

Ohio State missed its first four shots of the game as Indiana drained three straight 3-pointers and quickly went up 11-0. After that, Ohio State couldn't get to within less than eight points.

The Hoosiers shot 65 percent in the first half, led by as many as 18 and went up 54-40 at the intermission. Johnson had 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the floor, and Bryant, Newkirk and Blackmon also were in double figures at the half.

Maryland 63, Michigan State 60

Melo Trimble drilled a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left, and Maryland clinched a second-place tie in the Big Ten and a double-bye in the conference tournament by outlasting Michigan State 63-60 Saturday.

After the Spartans committed a turnover under their own basket with 6 seconds to go, Justin Jackson received the inbounds pass and immediately passed it to Trimble, who dribbled up the left side and hit nothing but net with his shot from well beyond the top of the arc.

Michigan State had enough time left for Miles Bridges to take a long shot just past midcourt. After it bounced off the rim, the Terrapins gathered at midcourt to celebrate the victory.

Trimble scored 16 on 6-of-15 shooting and freshman Justin Jackson added 15 points for Maryland (24-7, 12-6), which will enter the Big Ten Tournament as the third seed.

Xavier 79, DePaul 65

Trevon Bluiett scored 24 points, added 10 rebounds, and Xavier closed out the regular season with a much-needed 79-65 win over DePaul on Saturday.

Xavier (19-12, 9-9 Big East), once ranked as high as No. 7, had lost six in a row and is in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament altogether.

The Musketeers and Blue Demons will meet again March 8 in the opening round of the Big East Tournament.

Malcolm Bernard added 13 points for Xavier, which hit 10 3-pointers, won the rebounding battle, and finished with just nine turnovers.

Billy Garrett Jr. led DePaul (9-22, 2-16) with 17 points while Eli Cain added 15. The Blue Demons shot just 40 percent and 6 of 21 from long range.

DePaul kept the score close most the game but Xavier pulled away late. A Bluiett 3 gave the Musketeers a 72-61 lead, which they extended to 17 three possessions later.

UMKC 87, Chicago State 82

LaVell Boyd hit five 3-pointers and made four big free throws in the final half-minute, scoring 25 points as UMKC held off a persistent Chicago State 87-82 on Saturday night, and will make the playoffs for the first time.

Kyle Steward added 13 points while Broderick Newbill and Broderick Robinson each had 11 as UMKC (16-15, 8-6 Western Athletic) posted a winning record in the regular season for the first time since the 2010-2011 season. The Kangaroos claimed the No. 3 seed to next week's WAC Tournament in Las Vegas because third-place Grand Canyon is transitioning from Division II and is ineligible.

Fred Sims Jr. poured in 31 points on 13-for-28 shooting as Chicago State (6-25, 1-13) battled to the wire trying to claim a second conference win.

UMKC's largest lead was nine points as Chicago State was able to stay within striking distance. Brian Greene Jr. slashed into the 72-63 lead with a 3-pointer, Sims hit two from the line and Trayvon Palmer scored on a putback to make it 74-70. The Cougars came as close as 83-80 on another Palmer putback with 17 seconds left.

Boyd and Steward closed it out at the line.

WOMEN

No. 1 UConn 105, Tulsa 57

Napheesa Collier scored 24 points to lead top-ranked UConn to a 105-57 rout of Tulsa on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Katie Lou Samuelson added 19 points for the Huskies (30-0), who extended their NCAA-record winning streak to 105 games and reached the 30-win mark for the 12th consecutive season.

Tulsa stayed in the game for the first 5 minutes and was down 8-7 despite making just three of its first 10 shots.

But Gabby Williams hit her first six shots on the way to a 17-point game and the Huskies led 25-12 after the first quarter. UConn scored the first seven points of the second quarter and the rout was on.

Erika Wakefield had 15 points for Tulsa (10-21). The Golden Hurricane beat Memphis 60-55 in the opening round but finished the season with losses in seven of its final eight games.

No. 3 Notre Dame 84, No. 14 Louisville 73

Marina Mabrey scored 26 points to help No. 3 Notre Dame beat 14th-ranked Louisville 84-73 on Saturday in the ACC Tournament semifinals in Conway, S.C.

The Fighting Irish (29-3) advanced to the title game for the fourth straight year. They are looking to become only the second team in conference history to win both the regular season and tournament crowns in four consecutive seasons. Duke did it from 2001-04.

Trailing 35-33 early in the third quarter, the Irish went on an 11-2 run to take a 44-37 advantage. Mabrey had nine of the points, converting two 3-point plays and hitting a 3-pointer.

Asia Durr did her best to keep the Cardinals in the game, scoring 26 points to lead Louisville (27-7), but it wasn't enough.

Notre Dame was up by two heading into the fourth and wouldn't relinquish the advantage.

 

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