Top-rated Florida trips ‘Cats 61-60
ATLANTA — Top-ranked Florida capped a perfect run through the Southeastern Conference when Kentucky failed to get off a shot on its final possession, allowing the Gators to escape with a 61-60 victory in the league championship game Sunday.
Florida (32-2) built a 16-point lead early in the second half, but Kentucky nearly pulled off an improbable comeback to hand the Gators their first loss since early December. Two missed free throws gave the Wildcats (24-10) a final possession, but James Young slipped trying to drive into the lane.
The Gators extended their school-record winning streak to 26 games and was selected as the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Patric Young and Michael Frazier II led Florida with 14 points apiece, while Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather had 11 each.
Kentucky was paced by Aaron Harrison with 16 points. Young added 13, while Willie Cauley-Stein had 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
No. 6 VIRGINIA 72
No. 7 DUKE 63
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 points and Virginia claimed its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title since 1976.
Tournament MVP Joe Harris added 15 points and hit the backbreaking 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes remaining for the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-6).
They shot 45 percent, pestered the Blue Devils into 38 percent shooting and used a late 12-3 run to pull away and claim the second ACC tournament title in school history.
Jabari Parker scored 23 points on 9-of-24 shooting for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-8), who were making their 31st appearance in the championship game but were denied their ACC-record 20th title.
Anthony Gill added 12 points and was 10 of 17 from the free throw line for Virginia. Duke was just 7 of 11 from the line.
No. 22 MICHIGAN ST. 69
No. 8 MICHIGAN 55
INDIANAPOLIS — Adreian Payne scored 18 points and Gary Harris and Branden Dawson added 15 each to lead Michigan State to its second Big Ten tournament title in three years.
The third-seeded Spartans (26-8) have won four of five.
Top-seeded Michigan (25-8) was led by Big Ten player of the year Nik Stauskas with 17 points and Derrick Walton Jr. had 11, but the Big Ten regular season champs had their seven-game winning streak come to an end.
Michigan, who won the two regular season meetings, never got closer than 10 points again.
SAINT JOSEPH’S 65
No. 23 VCU 61
NEW YORK — Langston Galloway scored 19 points and hit yet another huge 3-pointer, and Saint Joseph’s won its first Atlantic 10 tournament title since 1997.
The fourth-seeded Hawks (24-9) arrived in Brooklyn on the NCAA tournament bubble. They all but clinched an at-large berth with a win over fellow bubble team Dayton in Friday’s quarterfinals on Galloway’s go-ahead 3, then made that moot by capturing the conference’s automatic bid.
The second-seeded Rams (26-8) have reached the A-10 tourney finals in both years in the league but lost both times.
Rob Brandenberg led VCU with 18 points, but Galloway got just enough separation on him to hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with more than 2 minutes left.
Halil Kanacevic of Saint Joseph’s won tournament MVP honors after another all-around performance. He had 11 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
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