Cliff Ellis Is Fired as Auburn Coach

From Wire Reports

Auburn Coach Cliff Ellis was fired Thursday after 10 seasons with the Tigers, who were shut out of postseason play for the second time in three years.

Ellis, the second-winningest coach in Auburn basketball history, was with his team longer than any other current coach in the Southeastern Conference.

"I am aware of the many accomplishments of Coach Ellis in his tenure here," said Auburn interim President Ed Richardson, who met briefly with the coach. "I appreciate what he has done with the program. It is simply time for a change."

Ellis had five years remaining on his contract after it was automatically extended by two years for last season's tournament run. Under his contract, Auburn owes him $750,000.

Ellis had sent Richardson a letter outlining his plans to improve the program and reasons why he should be allowed to stay. But Richardson clearly had made up his mind to seek another coach before meeting with him Thursday.

The Tigers were 14-14 and 5-11 in the SEC after being picked to finish second in the Western Division. In February, Auburn appeared before the NCAA over alleged recruiting violations, though Ellis was not named in the accusations.

Ellis had a 186-125 record at Auburn. He led the Tigers to a 29-4 record and the SEC title in 1999, their first in 40 years. He is 612-349 in 32 seasons. He went to Auburn after 10 years at Clemson.

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Luke Jackson scored all but two of Oregon's final 33 points, leading the Ducks to a 77-72 overtime victory over Colorado late Wednesday night in Eugene, Ore., in the first round of the NIT.

Jackson, who finished with 40 points -- including 29 straight -- scored 14 in the last 4:47 of regulation, tying the score at 61-61 on a three-point basket with 20 seconds left. He scored 14 more in overtime, including 11 from the free-throw line.

"You know, you get into a good rhythm and you just go with it," said Jackson, whose career high is 42 points. "I'm just happy we're moving on."

The only other player to score for the Ducks (16-12) in the final 11 minutes was Andre Joseph, who made two free throws late in overtime.

"We've created our own March Madness here in Eugene," Oregon Coach Ernie Kent said. "[Jackson's] performance was the best I've seen anywhere."

David Harrison led the Buffaloes (18-11) with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

NAIA DIVISION I WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT

Golden State Athletic Conference champion Vanguard struggled in the first half of its first-round game against St. Xavier, Ill., at Jackson, Tenn., shooting only 27.3%, but the Lions (30-2) outscored the Cougars, 41-27, in the second half to win, 63-51. Kelly Schmidt led the Lions with 27 points and 16 rebounds.... Westmont (19-11) started the second half with a 10-0 run and beat Cumberland, Tenn., 69-45. The Warriors outscored the Patriots in the second half, 38-18, shooting 65%. Becky Gibb scored 23 points and Katie Hardeman had 22 for the Warriors .... Biola (20-14), the fifth GSAC team in the tournament, couldn't overcome a 28-point halftime deficit and was defeated by Freed-Hardeman, Tenn., 80-64.

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