Davidson, Rhode Island to play for Atlantic 10 tourney crown
Peyton Aldridge scored 24 points and No. 3 seed Davidson snapped second-seeded St. Bonaventure’s streak at 13 games with an 82-70 victory in an Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament semifinal, in Washington. The Wildcats (20-11) advance to their first A-10 tournament title game, on Sunday, and face Rhode Island. The Bonnies are 25-7.
In the other semifinal, Andre Berry scored 18 points and Fatts Russell made two crucial 3-pointers in the final six minutes as No. 25 Rhode Island overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half to beat St. Joseph’s 90-87. The Rams (25-6) are the first No. 1 seed in the Atlantic 10 to reach the conference championship game since St. Louis University did so in 2013. St. Joseph’s, which got 18 points from Shavar Newkirk, is 16-16.
Villanova wins Big East tourney • Mikal Bridges scored 25 points and hit two 3-pointers in overtime to lift No. 2 Villanova to a 76-66 win over Providence in the Big East Tournament championship game in New York. The Wildcats (30-4) won their second straight Big East tourney title and third in four years (losing in the 2016 final). They put the bow on a fantastic season that should have them earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The fifth-seeded Friars (21-13) rallied in the second half from a double-digit hole and Alpha Diallo scored on a driving layup with 40 seconds left for a 60-58 lead. Big East player of the year Jalen Brunson tied it for Villanova with two free throws. Providence missed a last-gasp shot at the buzzer before playing in its third straight overtime game.
Marshall ends 31-year drought • Jon Elmore scored 20 of his 27 points after halftime, including 11 in a row in just over two minutes, to help send Marshall into the NCAA tourney for the first time since 1987 with a 67-66 win over Western Kentucky in the Conference USA title game in Frisco, Texas. The Thundering Herd (24-10) held on after the Hilltoppers (24-10) scored the game’s last 11 points before missing two shots in the final 20 seconds.
The Wildcats should be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats lost on the opening weekend in 2014, 2015 and 2017. In 2016? They won the national championship.
OTHER TOURNEY TITLE GAMES
Mountain West • Trey Kell scored 28 points to lead San Diego State to an 82-75 victory over New Mexico in Las Vegas. The Aztecs (22-10) take a nine-game win streak into the NCAA Tournament. The Lobos (19-15) used a 21-10 run to take a 63-57 lead with 7:35 left. But Kell hit a pair of free throws, Jeremy Hemsley made a 3-pointer and Max Montana completed a four-point play after being fouled to ignite a 15-2 run. Suddenly, San Diego State was back in front, 72-65 and in control with 3:57 left.
Mid-American • Wes Clark, a transfer from Missouri, scored 26 points, Nick Perkins added 16, including a big 3-pointer, and Buffalo won its third MAC tourney title in four years by beating Toledo 76-66 in Cleveland. Toledo was without senior guard Tre’Shaun Fletcher (knee injury), the league’s top player this season, but gave the top-seeded Bulls (26-8) a run. The second-seeded Rockets (23-11) tied it 63-63 on Marreon Jackson’s 3-pointer in the late going. But the Bulls went on a 9-0 run to take over.
America East • Jairus Lyles hit a long 3-pointer with less than a second left, lifting visiting Maryland Baltimore County over top-seeded Vermont 65-62. Second-seeded UMBC (24-10) had lost 23 straight times to the Catamounts over 10 years, but earned its first NCAA Tournament trip since 2008. Vermont (27-7) didn’t make a basket in the final 8:21.
Mid-Eastern Athletic • Pablo Rivas had 22 points and North Carolina Central scored 11 in a row to break a 58-58 tie and beat Hampton 71-63 in Norfolk, Va. The Eagles (19-15), earned an NCAA Tournament slot for the third time in five years. Malique Trent-Street’s 15 points led the Pirates (19-15).
Western Athletic • Zach Lofton scored 23 points to lift the Aggies to a 72-58 victory over Grand Canyon in Las Vegas and into the NCAA tourney. A.J. Harris added 19 points for the Aggies (28-5). Alessandro Lever’s 20 points were tops for the Antelopes (27-6)
Big Sky • Michael Oguine scored 21 points to carry Montana past Eastern Washington 82-65 in Reno, Nev., and back into the NCAA tourney. Ahmaad Rorie added 15 points for the Grizzlies (26-7), who trailed 40-29 at halftime. Jacob Davison’s 16 points led the Eagles (20-14).
Southland • Ty Holyfield had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Stephen F. Austin rallied for a 59-55 win over Southeastern Louisiana in Katy, Texas, to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years. Ivan Canette added 10 points for the Lumberjacks (28-6). Southeastern Louisiana is 22-11.
Southwestern Athletic • Trayvon Reed had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Texas Southern by Arkansas-Pine Bluff 84-69 in Houston. The Tigers (15-19), who lost their first 13 games this season, earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the fourth time in the last five years. Pine Bluff finished at 14-20.