Published March 15, 2015
Tucson, AZ – Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Two championships down, one to go. Kentucky has accomplished its first two goals of the 2014-15 season, first winning the SEC regular-season title and adding the conference tournament crown on Sunday with a 78-63 pounding of Arkansas. Now, it's on to the one that matters most -- the NCAA Tournament. The top-ranked Wildcats (34-0) will enter the tourney as the No. 1 overall seed and will do so with an unblemished record after Sunday's sterling effort. Andrew Harrison scored 15 points and Willie Cauley-Stein contributed 15 with 10 rebounds for Kentucky, which captured its 28th SEC Tournament title. The Wildcats will learn their destination for the NCAA Tournament later Sunday. Michael Qualls led Arkansas (26-8) with 18 points, while SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis scored 13. The 21st-ranked Razorbacks will also await their NCAA Tournament seeding later Sunday.
Final Score: (6) Wisconsin 80, Michigan State 69 (OT)
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Nigel Hayes scored 25 points and No. 6 Wisconsin shut out Michigan State in overtime Sunday to win the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in seven years. The top-seeded Badgers pulled themselves out of an 11-point hole in the second half, scoring 34 of the final 46 points to capture their third Big Ten title. They tied the score with 15 seconds left in regulation on two Bronson Koenig free throws, which came after Josh Gasser dove into the corner to save a ball from going out of bounds. Hayes and Koenig hit consecutive 3s to start overtime and scored all of the Badgers' points in the extra five minutes. Michigan State went scoreless over the last 5:44 of the game after Travis Trice gave them a 69-67 lead late in regulation. The Spartans missed all six of their shots in overtime.
Final Score: (20) SMU 62, Connecticut 54
Hartford, CT (SportsNetwork.com) - In front of a supportive crowd, reigning national-champion Connecticut made one last run in the second half, but No. 20 SMU almost certainly ended the Huskies' hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament. The Mustangs shot 25-of-31 from the free-throw line to put away UConn by a 62-54 score and win the American Athletic Conference Tournament. SMU (27-6) made just two shots from the field in the final 10 minutes but was able to hang on. Markus Kennedy scored 14 of his 15 points in the first half to lead the top-seeded Mustangs. Rodney Purvis scored a career-high 29 points, but it was not enough for the sixth-seeded Huskies (20-14). His teammates combined to shoot just 5-of-27.
Final Score: VCU 71, Dayton 65
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - When Briante Weber was lost for the season with a torn ACL, VCU's future seemed grim. But after losing five of nine following the star point guard's injury, VCU has found its stride. Treveon Graham had 20 points and 13 rebounds and with Weber in street clothes cheering them on from the sidelines, the Rams took down Dayton 71-65 on Sunday to claim the Atlantic 10 title. There were three ties in the final 3:10 before VCU pulled away. Graham darted in for a layup at 1:16 to make it 61-59 and out of a timeout, Doug Brooks intercepted a Scoochie Smith pass and fed JeQuan Lewis for another layup. The Rams shot 8-for-8 from the foul line in the final minute to seal the deal. After the final horn sounded, Weber broke down in tears at midcourt, surrounded by his teammates and head coach Shaka Smart, who was visibly emotional. Lewis netted 15 points and Terry Larrier and Mo Alie-Cox added 13 apiece for the Rams (26-9), who are heading to their fifth straight NCAA Tournament. Smith paced Dayton (25-8) with 16 points in a balanced effort. Jordan Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre each had 14 points, and Kendall Pollard scored 13.
Final Score: Georgia State 38, Georgia Southern 36
New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - R.J. Hunter made two free throws with 21.6 seconds remaining to lift Georgia State to a 38-36 win over Georgia Southern in Sunday's Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game. Hunter, averaging 20.1 points per game, finished with nine in the low-scoring final. Kevin Ware was the only player to reach double figures in points, finishing with 18 for top-seeded Georgia State (24-9), which earned its third NCAA Tournament berth and first since 2001. The Panthers lost in overtime to Louisiana-Lafayette in last year's title game. Trent Wiedeman and Jelani Hewitt each had eight points for the second-seeded Eagles (22-9), who were held to 22.9 percent shooting.