Men’s conference tournaments: Louisville rallies for Big East crown
Peyton Siva had 11 points and eight assists to lead No. 4 Louisville to a 78-61 victory over No. 19 Syracuse on Saturday night, giving the Cardinals their second straight Big East men’s basketball tournament title.
The Cardinals got their third title by overcoming a 16-point deficit in the second half – almost double the previous record in a championship game – and they kept pouring it on once they got the lead, going ahead by as many as 18 points.
Second-seeded Louisville (29-5) won its 10th straight game with its defense, forcing Syracuse (25-9) into 20 turnovers and keeping the Orange off balance during the 24-3 run that turned the 16-point deficit into a 56-48 lead with 8:51 to play.
(7) Kansas 70, (11) Kansas State 54
Jeff Withey had 17 points and nine rebounds, Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe added 12 points each, and the Jayhawks (29-5) pounded the Wildcats (27-7) to win the tournament championship for the ninth time.
The top-seeded Jayhawks, who shared the regular-season title with their in-state rival, took a 24-16 lead at halftime and then slowly stretched it in the second half.
(10) Ohio State 61, (8) Michigan State 58
Aaron Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead the Buckeyes (25-7) past the Spartans (25-8) in the semifinals in Chicago.
Ryan Evans scored 16 points to help the Badgers (23-10) upset the Hoosiers (27-6) in the other semifinal.
(9) Miami 81, North Carolina St. 71
Durand Scott scored a career-high 32 points to help the Hurricanes (26-6) beat the Wolfpack (24-10) in the semifinals in Greensboro, N.C., earning their first trip to the championship game.
Dexter Strickland and Reggie Bullock scored 15 points apiece and the Tar Heels (24-9) held on to beat the Terrapins (22-12) in the other semifinal game.
(13) Florida 61, Alabama 51
Kenny Boynton scored 11 straight points during a 15-0 second-half run as the Gators (26-6) rallied from a 10-point, second-half deficit to beat the Crimson Tide (21-12) in a semifinal in Nashville, Tenn.
Marshall Henderson scored 23 points as the Rebels (25-8) beat the Commodores (16-17) in the other semifinal, putting Mississippi just one more win away from making sure its NCAA tournament berth is automatic.
The Rebels now have won six of seven to reach the championship game for the first time since 2001. Another win would give coach Andy Kennedy his first NCAA berth and the Rebels’ first since 2002.
(15) New Mexico 63, UNLV 56
Tony Snell scored 13 straight points for the Lobos during a second-half run, and the Lobos (29-5) pulled away late to beat the Rebels (25-9) in Las Vegas and add the tournament title to their regular-season crown.
New Mexico State 63, UT-Arlington 56
Sim Bhullar had 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead the Aggies past the Mavericks in Las Vegas for their second straight tournament championship.
Big West: Reserve Tony Gill scored 19 points and the University of the Pacific held off a second-half surge by UC Irvine to win the championship with a 64-55 victory in Anaheim, Calif.
Mid-American: Demetrius Treadwell scored 13 points and top-seeded Akron beat Ohio 65-46 in Cleveland to win the championship.
MEAC: Adrian Powell scored 14 points, including two critical free throws with 23.4 seconds to play, and then blocked a potential tying 3-pointer in the final seconds as North Carolina A&T beat Morgan State 57-54 in Norfolk, Va., to win the tournament for the first time since 1995.
Southland: Shamir Davis scored 19 points, DeQuan Hicks added 13 points and made the last-second steal that clinched Northwestern State’s 68-66 win over Stephen F. Austin in the championship game in Katy, Texas.
SWAC: Derick Beltran had 13 points with a late steal and breakaway layup, and Southern University beat Prairie View 45-44 in the championship game in Garland, Texas.
America East: Mike Black scored 14 points and Albany came back from an early deficit to beat Vermont 53-49 in the championship game in Burlington, Vt.