Louisville rallies past Syracuse for second straight Big East title
Peyton Siva had 11 points and eight assists to lead No. 4 Louisville to a 78-61 victory over No. 19 Syracuse last night, giving the Cardinals their second straight Big East 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) – along with Georgetown and Marquette the tri-champions of the regular season – won its 10th straight game with its defense, forcing Syracuse 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.
Montrezl Harrell led Louisville with 20 points.
NO. 22 WISCONSIN 68, No. 3 INDIANA 56
Ryan Evans scored 16 points to help No. 22 Wisconsin upset No. 3 Indiana in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament yesterday.
The Badgers allowed only seven points after the top-seeded Hoosiers pulled within one with 9:45 left. They earned their 12th consecutive win against Indiana, tying a record for any school against the powerhouse program, and will play Ohio State in today’s final.
Ben Brust added 12 points for Wisconsin (23-10), which has won three straight and six of eight. Sam Dekker scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, including seven in a row during one impressive burst.
Christian Watford scored 14 points for Indiana (27-6), and Cody Zeller had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
NO. 7 KANSAS 70, NO. 11 KANSAS STATE 54
Jeff Withey had 17 points and nine rebounds, Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe added 12 points each, and Kansas pounded Kansas State to win its ninth Big 12 tournament championship.
The top-seeded Jayhawks (29-5), 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.
The Wildcats (27-7) struggled to match Withey and Ellis in the paint, losing for the third time this season to the Jayhawks and for the 47th time in their last 50 meetings.
Rodney McGruder scored 18 points despite a poor first half, and Angel Rodriguez had 10 for Kansas State, which still has not won a conference tournament in more than 30 years.
NO. 10 OHIO STATE 61, NO. 8 MICHIGAN STATE 58
Aaron Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead Ohio State to the Big Ten tournament final.
Craft keyed a seven-point spurt midway through the second half that stretched the lead to eight at 55-47, and the Buckeyes (25-7) came away with the win after Michigan State (25-8) pulled within one. The victory avenged a loss in last year’s championship game
It was 57-56 after Derrick Nix converted a three-point play for Michigan State with 1:54 remaining, but Craft hit a free throw. Thomas grabbed a huge rebound off a missed 3 by Shannon Scott to keep the possession going and scored in the paint after a timeout to make it a four-point game.
The Buckeyes will go for their third championship in four years when they meet Wisconsin.
NO. 9 MIAMI 81, N.C. STATE 71
Durand Scott scored a career-high 32 points to help Miami earn its first trip to the ACC championship game.
Shane Larkin added 23 for the top-seeded Hurricanes (26-6), who led the entire way and by 19 points late in the first half. Miami shot 46 percent behind Scott, a senior guard who went 12 for 18 from the field and 5 for 8 from 3-point range.
Scott also had a couple of big shots that shut down comeback bids from the fifth-seeded Wolfpack (24-10), who got as close as six after halftime but couldn’t dig out of that big hole.
Now the Hurricanes can turn their attention to adding a tournament title to go with their first regular-season crown.
NO. 13 FLORIDA 61, ALABAMA 51
Kenny Boynton scored 11 straight points during a 15-0 second-half run as Florida rallied from 10 points down to advance to the SEC tournament title game.
The top-seeded Gators (26-6) will face Mississippi . Alabama (21-12), the tournament’s No. 4 seed, will spend today waiting to learn its fate from the NCAA tournament selection committee.
Held scoreless for the first 25 minutes of the game, Boynton finished with a game-high 16 points. Patric Young had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Gators. Mike Rosario added 10 points.
Trevor Releford scored 12 points and Nick Jacobs and Trevor Lacey each added 11 for Alabama.
Alabama led 37-27 with 16:05 remaining before Florida scored 15 straight points over the next five minutes.
NO. 15 NEW MEXICO 63, UNLV 56
Tony Snell scored 13 straight points for New Mexico during a second-half run as the Lobos pulled away late and added the Mountain West tournament title to their regular season crown.
Snell carried New Mexico (29-5) down the stretch, making three 3-pointers and adding a pair of field goals as the Lobos took over in the last 8 minutes of the game to win the conference title.
Snell scored 21 points, but it was a streak beginning with a 3-pointer that put New Mexico up 49-45 with 8:11 left that sealed the game. Conference player of the year Kendall Williams capped it off with a turnaround dunk with 11 seconds left.
Bryce Dejean-Jones led UNLV (25-9) with 19 points, while Anthony Bennett had 15.
NO. 16 SAINT LOUIS 67, BUTLER 56
Dwayne Evans nearly set a career high in points for the second straight game, and Saint Louis’ defense locked down Butler in the second half to advance to its first Atlantic 10 title game.
Evans had 24 points and 11 rebounds a day after going for 25 and nine in the quarterfinals against Charlotte.
Top-seeded Saint Louis beat the Bulldogs for the third time this season. Butler may be the bigger name, but the Billikens have been the class of the A-10 in 2013.
The Billikens (26-6) held Butler without a field goal for almost seven minutes midway through the second half to pull away. Meanwhile, Evans went to work inside, showing off his post moves at 6-foot-5 or earning free throws to put the Bulldogs (26-8) in foul trouble.
NO. 20 MEMPHIS 91, SOUTHERN MISS 79, 2OT
Chris Crawford scored 23 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the second overtime, lifting Memphis to its seventh Conference USA tournament title in the past eight years.
Crawford, the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the top-seeded Tigers (30-4) up 78-76 with 2:44 remaining. He also had a jumper and a pair of free throws in a 9-0 run by Memphis soon after that finally put the game away.
Daveon Boardingham scored 19 points and Jonathan Mills had 15 points and 17 rebounds for second-seeded Southern Miss (25-9), which nearly clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Instead, the Golden Eagles must hope to get their second straight at-large bid today.
NO. 25 VCU 71, UMASS 62
Troy Daniels made six 3-pointers to score 20 points, and VCU advanced to the Atlantic 10 tournament title game in its first season in the conference.
The Rams will face top-seeded Saint Louis today in a matchup of the league’s top two teams during the regular season. The Billikens won 76-62 at home in their one meeting Feb. 19.
VCU (26-7) forced 24 turnovers to hold off a pesky Minutemen team that upset Temple in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Rob Brandenberg’s 3-pointer as the shot clock expired finally gave the Rams some breathing room, putting them up 68-61 with 1½ minutes left. Juvonte Reddic added 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Chaz Williams ended his A-10 tournament run back home in Brooklyn with 62 points in three games for sixth-seeded UMass (21-11). He scored 18 on 7-of-12 shooting yesterday.