College basketball roundup

COLLEGE BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Dawson leads Spartans into Big Ten final

2014-03-15T20:30:00Z 2014-03-16T00:15:08Z COLLEGE BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Dawson leads Spartans into Big Ten finalThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 15, 2014 8:30 pm  • 

Adreian Payne scored 18 points; Branden Dawson, a Lew Wallace graduate, had 14, and No. 22 Michigan State beat No. 12 Wisconsin 83-75 on Saturday to reach the Big Ten tournament championship.

The third-seeded Spartans (25-8) won consecutive games for the first time since winning 11 straight in a stretch over December and January. They will face No. 8 Michigan in the final on Sunday.

The Spartans went on a 16-1 run in the first half and took a 37-16 lead when Gary Harris scored with 5:39 left before halftime.

Frank Kaminsky had 28 points and Sam Dekker added 11 points and seven rebounds for the second-seeded Badgers (26-7), who were outrebounded 32-28 by the Spartans. Michigan State also shot 56 percent in an impressive performance against defense-minded Wisconsin.

Michigan State was swept by Michigan during the regular season, but it has a perfect record in conference title games. The Spartans' last championship came in a win over Ohio State in 2012.

No. 8 Michigan 72, No. 24 Ohio St. 69: After blowing a 12-point second half lead against their most bitter rival, Michigan went on a game-ending 7-1 run and survived a potential tying 3-pointeer in the closing seconds for its first tourney win over Ohio State.

For the Big Ten regular-season champs, it was a monumental moment.

Michigan (25-7) hadn't won a semifinal game since 1998, when it won the inaugural tourney title only to vacate it because of NCAA rules violations. Since then, the Wolverines hadn't even won two straight games in the league tourney and had lost all six times it played the dreaded Buckeyes in Indianapolis or Chicago.

Not this time.

The top-seeded Wolverines started the game with an offensive flurry and ended it with a stout defensive stretch that ended with Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft losing control of the ball as he tried a 3-pointer that could have forced overtime. Instead, the Wolverines came up with the loose ball to seal it.

Big Ten player of the year Nik Stauskas finished with 18 points. Ohio native Caris LeVert had 17 points and seven rebounds, and Glenn Robinson III, a Lake Central graduate, wound up with 11 points including two free throws that gave Michigan the lead for good with 2:55 to play.

A win in today's title game would likely put the Wolverines in position to be considered for a top seed in this week's NCAA tournament.

No. 1 Florida 56, Tennessee 49: Patric Young scored 16 points, and Florida turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, rallying for a victory over Tennessee (21-12) in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Florida (31-2) extended its school-record winning streak to 25 in a row after trailing by 10 in the first half.

The Gators, improving to 20-0 against SEC opponents, will face Kentucky in the championship game today.

UCLA 75, No. 4 Arizona 71: Kyle Anderson had 21 points and 15 points; Jordan Adams hit a huge 3-pointer in the final minute, and UCLA (26-8) outlasted Arizona (30-4) in a spirited Pac-12 championship game.

David Wear and Norman Powell combined to hit four free throws down the stretch, giving UCLA the Pac-12 title in its first year under coach Steve Alford.

Nick Johnson had 22 points and Kaleb Tarczewski added 12 for Arizona (30-4), which may have lost out on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with the loss.

No. 5 Louisville 71, No. 21 UConn 61: Montrezl Harrell had 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, and Louisville beat Connecticut (26-8) for the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament title in the Cardinals' lone season in the league.

The defending national champions clinched their 40th NCAA tournament berth.

The Cardinals (29-5) have won three straight league tournament titles after taking the last two in the Big East, and they added their 19th overall before moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference in July.

No. 6 Virginia 51, Pittsburgh 48: Anthony Gill hit two free throws with 8.5 seconds left to help Virginia hold off Pittsburgh in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

Joe Harris scored 12 points to lead the Cavaliers, who shot 47 percent against the fifth-seeded Panthers (25-9) to earn their first trip to the final since 1994.

No. 7 Duke 75, N.C. State 67: Jabari Parker scored 20 points, and Duke advanced to the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship.

Rasheed Sulaimon added 16 points for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-7), while Rodney Hood had 14 points and keyed the defensive effort against ACC player of the year T.J. Warren.

Duke earned its 31st championship game appearance and first since 2011.

The Blue Devils will play Virginia today. Duke's 69-65 win in January stood as the Cavaliers' lone conference loss until Maryland beat them last week.

No. 20 New Mexico 64, No. 8 San Diego State 58: Cameron Bairstow scored 17 points to lead New Mexico (27-6) to a victory over San Diego State (29-4) in the Mountain West Conference championship game, giving the Lobos the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

Trailing by one with a little more than one minute left in the game, Bairstow scored five of the Lobos' last eight points to help the Lobos win their third consecutive tournament title.

No. 23 VCU 74, George Washington 55: Treveon Graham scored 22 points, and VCU pressed and pressured its way into another conference tournament championship game, beating George Washington (24-8) in the Atlantic 10 semifinals.

The second-seeded Rams (26-7) will play for the A-10 title for the second year in a row, facing fourth-seeded St. Joseph's today. Coach Shaka Smart has led the Rams to a conference tournament final in four of his five seasons, first in the Colonial Athletic Association and the past two in the A-10.

VCU will likely have to move on without A-10 sixth man of the year Melvin Johnson, who injured his knee early in the first half.

Women

Akron 79, Ball State 68: Rachel Tecca scored 30 points and dominated inside, leading Akron to the NCAA tournament for the first time with a 79-68 win over Ball State (18-16) in the Mid-American Conference championship.

Brittany Carter made five 3-pointers in the last eight minutes and led Ball State 23 points.

Tecca, who scored 20 in the first half, added 12 rebounds for the third-seeded Zips (23-9), who started the season 4-4 but have won 16 of 17 and will enter the NCAAs as one of the nation's hottest teams.

With their first MAC title, Akron also tied a school record for wins in the program's 40th year.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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