CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT ROUNDUP : Seton Hall Proves It Is Beast of East

From Associated Press

Seton Hall, proclaimed all season as the best team in the Big East, lived up to that billing Sunday by defeating Syracuse, 103-70, in the conference tournament championship game at New York.

The ninth-ranked Pirates (27-6) won their 11th consecutive game, getting the most points and biggest victory margin in Big East title-game history.

Seton Hall took the Big East's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with superb outside shooting against Syracuse's 2-3 zone defense and with their own trademark man-to-man defense.

"We just had one of those days when it didn't seem to matter what we did," Seton Hall Coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "Everything came up our way. The ball bounced our way, shots went in, a lot of people played extremely well."

It was Seton Hall's second championship in three years. Syracuse (20-9), which was not eligible for the NCAA tournament because of recruiting and other violations, was making its record 10th appearance in a league championship game. The Orangemen have three titles.

It was the worst loss ever for a Jim Boeheim-coached Syracuse team and only the second time one of his teams allowed 100 points.

"I thought we played as well offensively as we could," Boeheim said. "We just couldn't stop them. I've said all along they are as good as any of the top five teams in the country."

Terry Dehere, the conference player of the year and its career leading scorer, capped the season with tournament MVP honors, scoring 17 points in the championship game. Arturas Karnishovas led the Pirates, who won the regular-season race by two games, with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Jerry Walker added 19 points.

Adrian Autry had 19 points for Syracuse.

The game was decided early as Seton Hall had a 20-10 lead eight minutes in. Karnishovas hit two three-pointers against the zone and the Pirates scored six other points on the fast break.


Missouri 68, Kansas State 56--The Tigers, who lost seven of their last eight regular-season games, downed the Wildcats at Kansas City to win the Big Eight tournament and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

Missouri (19-13), the league's worst free-throw shooting team at 60%, made 10 in a row during the last five minutes and committed only two turnovers in the second half.

The Tigers ran off eight consecutive points to build a 58-47 lead on Jevon Crudup's basket with 2:56 remaining. Crudup had two baskets, Reggie Smith one and Lamont Frazier made two free throws during the run.

Chris Heller, the tournament's most valuable player, scored 20 points for Missouri and Mark Atkins added 14.

Vincent Jackson and Askia Jones each had 16 points for Kansas State (19-10).


No. 16 Louisville 90, Virginia Commonwealth 78--Dwayne Morton, limited to 10 points in his previous game, scored 24 to lead the Cardinals past the Rams in the championship game of the Metro Conference tournament at Louisville.

"I was sort of disappointed in myself the last game, so I was determined to come out today and do some good things offensively," said Morton, who had 34 points and 10 rebounds in two games and was named the tournament's most valuable player.

The Cardinals (20-8), who trailed by nine points early in the game, took control with a 17-6 run in the last five minutes of the half.

Morton and James Brewer had four points each during the spurt, while Greg Minor had a three-pointer as Louisville surged to a 35-22 halftime lead.

Sherron Mills had 26 points for Virginia Commonwealth (20-9), which cut an 18-point deficit to 83-75 in the final minute.

Tyron McCoy scored 10 points as the Rams made nine of their first 14 shots to lead, 21-12. But Virginia Commonwealth went just 14 of 39 during a 22-minute span in which Louisville built a 71-53 lead.

The Cardinals earned their 23rd berth in the NCAA tournament, 17 under Coach Denny Crum.


Texas Tech 88, Houston 76--Lance Hughes scored 27 points and Will Flemons added 21 points and 16 rebounds, as the surprising Red Raiders downed the Cougars to win the SWC tournament at Dallas, earning a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Texas Tech (18-11), which won its first SWC title since 1986, finished fifth in the regular-season standings.

Hughes opened the game with consecutive three-pointers and the Red Raiders built a 43-25 lead on Flemons' basket with 2:23 left in the first half. The lead grew to 62-36 with 14:51 left before defending champion Houston (21-8) made a futile run down the stretch.

David Diaz scored 20 points, Anthony Goldwire added 19 and Charles Outlaw had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Cougars.


Southern 101, Jackson State 80--The Jaguars wrapped up the final spot in the NCAA tournament's 64-team field by upsetting the Tigers in the Southwestern tournament final.

Terry Thames scored 33 points and Torrence Williams had 16 points and 19 rebounds for Southern (20-9), which is 0-5 in NCAA tournament games.

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