Bryce Brown scored 19 points in the first half, and the Auburn Tigers won their first Southeastern Conference tournament championship since 1985 by routing eighth-ranked Tennessee 84-64 on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn.
No. 22 Auburn (26-9) hadn’t played in this game since 2000, and the fifth-seeded Tigers won their fourth game in as many days to capture only the second SEC Tournament title in program history. The Tigers now have won eight straight and 10 of their last 11 heading into the NCAA tournament.
Better yet, Auburn and coach Bruce Pearl have become the nemesis to his old program, beating Tennessee three consecutive times. Auburn ruined Tennessee’s hopes of winning back-to-back SEC regular-season titles for the first time with an 84-80 win to wrap up the season a week ago, and the Tigers also are the last team to beat Tennessee in Knoxville.
Now Pearl has his first SEC tournament title at the expense of the first team he coached in the league.
Tennessee (29-5) likely cost itself any chance at the program’s first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Vols will have to win their first-round game to reach 30 victories for only the second time in school history.
Chuma Okeke scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds for Auburn, and Danjel Purifoy added 10. Junior guard Jared Harper, Auburn’s second-leading scorer, went 1 for 11 and had nine points.
Lamonte’ Turner led Tennessee with 24 points. Grant Williams, the two-time SEC player of the year, was held to 13. Jordan Bone had 11 and Jordan Bowden scored 10. Admiral Schofield had a season-low four points.
Big Ten Conference
Matt McQuaid scored a career-high 27 points, Cassius Winston converted the go-ahead layup in the closing minute, and No. 6 Michigan State rallied to beat No. 10 Michigan 65-60 for its sixth Big Ten tournament championship on Sunday in Chicago.
The top-seeded Spartans (28-6) rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half and scored the game’s final 10 points to capture their first championship since 2016. No other program has won the tournament as many times as Michigan State, and this one was particularly sweet.
After all, the Spartans prevented a championship three-peat by Michigan (28-6) and beat their rivals for the third time this season.
McQuaid nailed a personal-best seven three-pointers. Winston, the Big Ten Player of the Year, had 14 points and 11 assists as Michigan State won for the 10th time in 11 games. The Spartans were awarded a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and will face Bradley in the second round on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Ignas Brazdeikas led Michigan with 19 points. Jordan Poole scored 13. Jon Teske had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Zavier Simpson added 10 assists.
American Athletic Conference
Jarron Cumberland had 33 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 24 Cincinnati past No. 11 Houston 69-57 for the championship of the AAC in Memphis, Tenn..
Cane Broome finished with 15 points and Tre Scott added 12. It was the second straight conference tournament title for the Bearcats (28-6), who defeated Houston in last year’s final. The victory puts Cincinnati into the NCAA Tournament for the ninth straight year.
Armoni Brooks led Houston (31-3) with 17 points and Corey Davis added 12 for the Cougars, who were the tournament’s top seed.
In the second half, Cincinnati put the ball in the hands of Cumberland, voted the tournament’s most valuable player, and he responded with 20 second-half points. That was coupled with a Cincinnati defense that held the Cougars to 27.8 percent shooting after halftime, including Houston converting only 3 of 18 shots from outside the arc.
Atlantic 10 Conference
St. Louis rallied from 15-point, first-half deficit, locking down St. Bonaventure in the second half for a 55-53 victory and an NCAA tournament bid.
The sixth-seeded Billikens (23-12) won four games in four days in New York to earn their first A-10 tournament title since 2013 and get back in the NCAAs for the first time since 2014.
Bonnies guard Nelson Kaputo, who played only the last minute, had a three-pointer from the corner for the win in the final seconds after a scramble, but it bounced off the back of the rim and the Billikens cleared the rebound as time expired.
Jordan Goodwin had 16 points and 14 rebounds for St. Louis and Tramaine Isabell made a key three-pointer, starting a 12-0 run that put the Billikens in the lead to stay. Isabell was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.
Courtney Stockard led the fourth-seeded Bonnies (18-16) with 22 points but fouled out in the final minute.
Alex Copeland scored a season-high 25 points and Yale beat archrival Harvard 97-85 in New Haven, Conn., for the Ivy League title and its second NCAA tournament trip in four seasons.
Yale (22-7), which lost to Harvard (18-11) twice in the regular season, used a 15-0 burst in the second half to take control on its home court. The Bulldogs celebrated with their fans who poured onto the floor when it was over.
The Bulldogs will return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since a memorable run that saw them beat Baylor in 2016. After that opening win, Yale then played Duke tough in a 71-64 loss. Bryce Aiken scored 38 points for Harvard and Noah Kirkwood added 19.
Sun Belt Conference
Malik Benlevi made four three-pointers and finished with 16 points, and Georgia State advanced to a second straight NCAA tournament with a 73-64 victory over Texas-Arlington in New Orleans.
Damon Wilson scored 13, Kane Williams 12, and Jeff Thomas 11 for the top-seeded Panthers (24-9), who will be making their fifth overall NCAA Tournament appearance.
D’Marcus Simonds, who scored 27 in last season’s tournament final, added 10 points to put all five starters in double figures for the balanced Panthers.
Edric Dennis scored 12 points and Brian Warren 11 for Texas-Arlington (17-16), which has now come within one victory of a trip to the NCAA Tournament in two straight seasons, only to fall short against the same foe.