COLLEGE BASKETBALL ROUNDUP
COLLEGE BASKETBALL ROUNDUP
Davidson 58, No. 25 Rhode Island 57
Peyton Aldridge and Davidson are going dancing. Still looking for its first victory in the NCAA Tournament since a guy by the name of Stephen Curry led the way, Davidson is goin’ dancin’ as the Atlantic 10 champion after beating Rhode Island in the conference final behind Kellan Grady’s 17 points and 13 points and seven rebounds from Aldridge, the LaBrae High School graduate and A-10 co-Player of the Year. Bubble teams across the land could not have been pleased to see Davidson (21-11) pull through, because the Wildcats were not going to get to join in the March Madness fun with a loss Sunday. The top-seeded Rams (25-7), though, will be in the bracket despite being defeated, so they will take a bid from someone. Davidson won despite going nearly 13 minutes in the second half without making a field goal, a 0-for-11 drought that somehow did not prevent it from celebrating at game’s end. The Wildcats haven’t been to the NCAAs since 2015 — and haven’t won a March Madness game since the Curry-led 2008 squad pulled off victories over Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin before bowing out against Kansas in the Elite Eight. E.C. Matthews led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds for Rhode Island, which was trying to win a second consecutive conference tournament title.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
No. 8 Cincinnati 56, No. 21 Houston 55
Gary Clark put Cincinnati ahead for good with a free throw with 4.3 seconds remaining and the Bearcats held on for a victory over Houston. Clark finished with 20 points and the league regular-season champions rescued themselves for the second straight day with a stellar second-half performance, limiting Houston to 20 percent shooting and 18 points after halftime. Cincinnati (30-4) earned the AAC’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament with its first conference tournament championship since the Bearcats won Conference USA in 2004. Houston (26-7), which split a pair of games against Cincinnati during the regular season, lost for just the third time in its last 15 games and is headed to the NCAA Tournament, too. Rob Gray led the Cougars with 17 points but missed a long 3-pointer in the closing seconds, then had a turnover that cost Houston a chance to try to win the game after Clark made one of two free throws after rebounding Gray’s miss. Corey Davis Jr., who had 15 points for Houston, went scoreless after helping the Cougars to a 37-35 halftime lead. Devin Davis added 13, including a jumper and layup that turned a one-point deficit into a 55-52 lead with 1:34 remaining. Kyle Washington’s 3-pointer tied the game for the final time, setting the stage for a suspenseful finish.
Penn 68, Harvard 65
Darnell Foreman scored 19 points, AJ Brodeur had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Penn earned its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2007 with a win over Harvard. Ryan Betley added 17 points for the Quakers (24-8), who will be making their 24th appearance in the NCAAs. Senior Caleb Wood, a junior college transfer, drilled two straight 3-pointers, getting fouled on the second, to put Penn ahead 63-60 with 3:42 remaining. Betley followed with a 3-point play, before Harvard’s Christian Juzang pulled the Crimson to 66-63 with a 3-pointer with 47.6 seconds to go. Harvard trimmed Penn’s lead to 66-65 on two Justin Bassey foul shots with 14.6 seconds left. But after Betley hit two free throws, Bassey and Juzang both missed potentially game-tying threes in the final seconds, and Penn fans stormed the court for a celebration a decade in the making. Chris Lewis led Harvard (18-13) with 16 points, while Bassey had 15 and Seth Towns, the league’s player of the year, finished with 13. Harvard and Penn proved to be the top two teams in the Ivies this year after sharing the regular-season title with 12-2 conference records and then dominating Cornell and Yale, respectively, in Saturday’s Ivy League Tournament semifinal games.
Kentucky 77, No. 13 Tennessee 72
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points to lead Kentucky to its fourth straight SEC Tournament championship. The championship is the 31st in tournament history for the fourth-seeded Wildcats (24-10), who have won seven of their past eight games since a four-game losing streak last month. It’s also their first victory in three tries this season against the No. 2 seed Volunteers (25-8). Gilgeous-Alexander was 10 of 16 from the field and added seven rebounds and a pair of steals, and he hit the clinching free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining. His 29 points were one off his career high of 30. Kevin Knox added 18 points and Quade Green had 10 for the Wildcats. Admiral Schofield had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead Tennessee, which was attempting to win its first tournament championship since 1979. Grant Williams added 15 points, while Jordan Bone had 12 and Lamonte Turner had 10.