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College basketball: Kentucky, Michigan and SMU win conference tournament titles

De’Aaron Fox
De’Aaron Fox helped lead Kentucky to the SEC tournament title on Sunday.
(Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

De’Aaron Fox scored 18 points to lead No. 8 Kentucky to its third straight Southeastern Conference tournament championship with an 82-65 victory over Arkansas on Sunday.

The Wildcats (29-5) added their 30th tournament title all-time to their 48 regular-season championships in convincing fashion.

The Razorbacks couldn’t string together points the way they usually do, not with Kentucky answering every big bucket with its own run. The big spurt came as Kentucky scored 13 straight points to end the first half and into the opening minute of the second that turned a three-point lead to a 46-30 edge.

Arkansas (25-9) fell to 1-6 in this championship, having lost to Kentucky for the second time in three years.

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BIG TEN

Michigan 71, No. 24 Wisconsin 56: The Wolverines completed a magical run to its first conference tournament title, using a swarming defense and accurate shooting to beat the Badgers in Washington.

The eighth-seeded Wolverines (24-11) began their journey with a scary skid off the airport runway in Michigan and ended it by overwhelming the second-seeded Badgers, who had won three straight — including the regular season finale against Minnesota — by a total of 55 points. Between the aborted flight and their final unexpected victory, the Wolverines beat Illinois, eliminated top-seed Purdue and sent home No. 4 seed Minnesota. Michigan won the title in 1998 but had it vacated due to NCAA sanctions.

Derrick Walton Jr. scored 22 points, D.J. Wilson added 17 and Zak Irvin had 15 for Michigan, which had lost 17 of its previous 20 games against Wisconsin. The Wolverines shot 56% and were 10 for 23 from beyond the arc. Bronson Koenig scored 15 points, and Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ had 14 apiece for Wisconsin (25-9).

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AAC

No. 12 Southern Methodist 71, No. 15 Cincinnati 56: Sterling Brown scored 18 points to help send the Mustangs streaking into the NCAA tournament by winning the American Athletic Conference tournament in Hartford, Conn.

Tournament MVP Simi Ojeleye added 14 points, Jarrey Foster had 13 and Ben Moore scored 12 for Mustangs (30-4), who won their 16th straight game and second AAC title in three years. The Mustangs took the championship in 2015, but missed last year’s postseason under NCAA sanctions.

Jarron Cumberland had 14 points to lead Cincinnati (29-5), which has not won a conference title since capturing the Conference USA crown in 2004.

ATLANTIC 10

Rhode Island 70, Virginia Commonwealth 63: Jared Terrell finished with 20 points and E.C. Matthews added 19, including a decisive runner with 55 seconds left, as the Rams earned a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999 with the win in Pittsburgh.

Third-seeded Rhode Island (24-9) never trailed and withstood a serious late push by second-seeded VCU (26-8) to capture their first conference tournament title since Lamar Odom led them to the A-10 crown 18 years ago. JeQuan Lewis led VCU with 15 points while Justin Tillman contributed 10 points and 17 rebounds.

IVY

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Princeton 71, Yale 59: Myles Stephens had a career-high 23 points and eight rebounds as the Tigers won the inaugural league tournament in Philadelphia to clinch its first berth in the NCAA tournament since 2011. Princeton (23-6) won its 19th straight game overall and didn’t lose in Ivy play this season. Steven Cook scored 15 points, Devin Cannady added 13 and Ivy League player of the year Spencer Weisz finished with eight assists for the Tigers. Alex Copeland had 14 points and Sam Downey had 12 for third-seeded Yale (18-11), the Ivy champs last season.

SUN BELT

Troy 59, Texas State 53: Jordon Varnado had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Trojans (22-14) to the conference tournament title at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. The sixth-seeded Trojans (22-14) advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003 after winning their third game in three days and fourth in the tournament. The fourth-seeded Bobcats (20-13) were coming off an 83-62 victory over Texas Arlington in the semifinals.


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