College basketball: Alabama wins SEC tournament; Colgate wins Patriot League
Herbert Jones drove for a go-ahead layup with 19.5 seconds and No. 6 Alabama won the Southeastern Conference Tournament for the first time since 1991, holding off a late flurry to edge LSU 80-79 Sunday.
Coach Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide added to their regular-season title with a victory that should help Alabama at least match its highest seed ever in the NCAA Tournament — it was No. 2 in 1987 and 2002.
Alabama, the reigning national champions in football, won its seventh tournament title overall, second in the SEC only to Kentucky’s 31. The Crimson Tide (24-6) hadn’t even reached this game since 2002.
After Jones went a long way down the lane for his shot, Alabama turned to its defense.
Keon Ellis blocked a shot by LSU’s Javonte Smart and the Tigers took a timeout with a little more than seven seconds left to set up the final attempt.
After the inbounds pass went nearly to midcourt, Trendon Watford’s 3 was well short of the rim. Aundre Hyatt’s putback hit the back of the rim and bounced out and LSU couldn’t get another shot off in the scramble before the buzzer.
That set off yet another Alabama celebration — this time on the basketball court.
Hyatt, meanwhile, was on the floor with his head in his hands. Watford was on his knees and slammed the court with a hand.
Jones, both the SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Jaden Shackelford led Alabama with 21 points, and Ellis and Jahvon Quinerly each had 14.
LSU (18-9) hadn’t won this tournament since 1980, and this was the Tigers’ first time in the final since 1993.
Watford finished with a career-high 30 points for LSU. Smart added 21 and Cameron Thomas had 18.
About 20 minutes before tip-off, Alabama and LSU players had to be separated at midcourt. That was just a preview of the taut battle to follow.
Alabama scored the first eight points of the game only to see LSU answer with a 15-5 run of its own to take a 15-13 lead on Thomas’ third 3 of the game. Alabama scored the final seven of the half and took a 40-37 lead into halftime.
Neither team led by more than four in the second half. Alabama was up 56-52 on a free throw by Jones. Smart hit back-to-back 3s with Thomas scoring on a layup, giving LSU a 60-56 lead midway through the half.
Shackelford answered with his own back-to-back 3s before Gary’s layup made it 64-60 with 8:20 left.
Shackelford hit his fifth 3 with 6:54 to go giving Alabama its biggest lead since the opening minutes at 69-63. But LSU, especially Watford or Smart, kept answering to set up the thrilling finish.
Patriot League championship
HAMILTON, N.Y. — Tucker Richardson scored 17 points and Jordan Burns and Jack Ferguson 16 each to lead Colgate to a 85-72 win over Loyola (Maryland) on Sunday for the Patriot League tournament championship.
Colgate (14-1) advances to its fourth NCAA Tournament where it’s never won. Its last appearance came in 2019.
The top-seeded Raiders, in their fourth straight Patriot title game, led the entire way in extending their program-record win streak to 13.
Ryan Moffatt added 11 points and Nelly Cummings 10 for Colgate, which came in averaging more than 86.4 points per game, tied with Baylor second only to Gonzaga.
Loyola (6-11) came into the tournament as the ninth seed and a record of 4-10 after not starting play until mid-January and getting off to a 1-7 start. The Greyhounds trailed only 38-33 at halftime, but an 11-2 run put Colgate up by 17 midway through the second half and the lead remained comfortably in double figures.
Jaylin Andrews scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting for Loyola. Santi Aldama, sixth in the country in scoring at 21.8 ppg, finished with 13 points after scoring 33 in a semifinal win over Army. Isaiah Hart added 11 points. The Greyhounds shot 47% but made only 5 of 22 3-point attempts.
Atlantic 10 championship
DAYTON, Ohio — Kyle Lofton scored 23 points and Osun Osunniyi scored 14 points with 12 rebounds and St. Bonaventure beat VCU 74-65 on Sunday in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament to clinch an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
St. Bonaventure (16-4) entered the A-10 tournament as the conference’s top seed after clinching the regular season crown. The Rams (19-7) were seeded No. 2 and now will have to await its NCAA Tournament fate, hoping for an at-large bid.
The Bonnie’s Alejandro Vasquez buried a 3-pointer with 11:36 before halftime to break a tie at 12 and St. Bonaventure led the rest of the way.
VCU’s Josh Banks made 1 of 2 foul shots to reduce the Bonnies’ lead to 27-22 with 4:33 remaining before the break. Both teams struggled shooting to close the half and St. Bonaventure went to halftime up 32-25.
The game’s turning point occurred when Lofton buried a jump shot and followed with a 3-pointer to make it 46-34 with 12:03 remaining.
Shortly after, a light scrum started between the two squads and VCU’s Hason Ward and the Bonnie’s Dominick Welch each received technical fouls. That followed Adrian Baldwin Jr.’s foul on Lofton’s 3 attempt. When the dust settled, Lofton made five straight free throws for a 51-36 advantage with 11:26 left and the Bonnies stayed in control for the remainder.
VCU closed within seven points on four occasions but couldn’t get closer.
Welch scored 13 points for the Bonnies and Jalen Adaway 10.
Nah’Shon Hyland scored 21 points for VCU, Vince Williams 12 and Banks 10.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Karl Nicholas scored 16 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as Texas Southern placed five in double-figure scoring to upset top-seeded Prairie View A&M 80-61 in the Southwest Athletic Conference championship game Saturday night.
The win punches Texas Southern’s ticket for a ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the first since 2018.
Jordan Gilliam and Justin Hopkins each scored 15 points for the third-seeded Tigers (16-8), Michael Weathers added 13 and John Walker II 10. Texas Southern shot 51% (29 of 57), adding 19 of 27 at the free-throw line.
Gilliam and Hopkins each scored five during the burst in which TSU held Prairie View to 3-of-11 shooting and two turnovers.
Texas Southern expanded its eight-point halftime lead with an 18-8 run to open the second half, making seven of its first dozen shots while Prairie View missed five of its first nine.
Faite Williams led the Panthers (16-5) with 14 points, Jawaun Daniels added 13 before fouling out but was 5-of-16 shooting. Williams scored 18 and 14 to lead the Panthers in scoring in the last two games after scoring 16 combined in the previous three.
Prairie View’s other top scorers were held in check. Cam Mack, who averaged 11.7 points per game, took just three shots and scored two points. Jeremiah Gambrell (10.9) was held to 2-of-11 shooting and five points. Prairie View shot 34% for the game (24 of 71) and had just five assists.
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