Sports

Virginia, Michigan State and Florida take conference titles

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Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 points and No. 6 Virginia claimed its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title since 1976 by beating No. 7 Duke, 72-63, on Sunday in Greensboro, N.C.

Tournament MVP Joe Harris added 15 points and hit the backbreaking three-pointer with less than two minutes remaining for the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-6).

They shot 45%, harassed the Blue Devils into 38% 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 nine-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 as a team was only 7 of 11 from the line.

Big Ten

INDIANAPOLIS -- Adreian Payne scored 18 points and Gary Harris and Branden Dawson added 15 each to lead No. 22 Michigan State to its second Big Ten tournament title in three years with a 69-55 upset of No. 8 Michigan.

The third-seeded Spartans (26-8) are getting healthy and will have some momentum entering the NCAA tournament with four wins in five games. 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.

It was never really close. Michigan State took control with an early 12-0 run, led 38-29 at halftime and opened the second half with an 8-0 spurt to make it 46-29.
Michigan never got closer than 10 points again.

SEC

ATLANTA -- Top-ranked Florida capped a perfect run through the 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.

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 awaited a sure No. 1 seed when the NCAA pairings are announced Sunday evening. Patric Young and Michael Frazier II led Florida with 14 points apiece, while Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather had 11 each. Kentucky, also headed for the NCAAs, was paced by Aaron Harrison with 16 points.

Atlantic 10

Langston Galloway scored 19 points and hit yet another huge three-pointer, and Saint Joseph's beat No. 23 VCU, 65-61, in New York to win its first tournament title since 1997.

The fourth-seeded Hawks 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 three-pointer, then made that moot by capturing the conference's automatic bid.

The second-seeded Rams have reached the A-10 tourney finals in both years in the league but have lost both times.

Fellow senior Ronald Roberts had 15 points on six-of-six shooting and 11 rebounds for Saint Joseph's. Rob Brandenberg led VCU with 18 points, but Galloway got just enough separation on him to hit a tiebreaking three-pointer with more than two minutes left.

Sun Belt

Xavian Rimmer scored a career-high 27 points and Louisiana Lafayette earned its first NCAA tournament bid since 20025 when it rallied from a nine-point deficit in the last three minutes of regulation to force overtime in an 82-81 victory over Georgia State in the tournament final in New Orleans.

Ryan Harrow scored a career-high 37 points for Georgia State but missed an off-balance, driving bank shot in the final seconds. The top-seeded Panthers (25-7) had won 22 of their last 23 games.

After tying the score on a put-back with 1.4 seconds left in regulation, Lafayette, which grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, took the lead for good, 80-77, with a 6-0 run in overtime that Elfrid Payton capped off with a layup off a Georgia State turnover.

Rimmer hit seven three-pointers to keep Louisiana Lafayette within range until its final comeback.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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