SEC: No. 1 Florida 61, Kentucky 60
Florida capped a perfect run through the Southeastern Conference when Kentucky failed to get off a shot on its final possession, allowing the Gators to escape with a victory in the league-championship game Sunday in Atlanta.
Florida (32-2) built a 16-point lead early in the second half, but Kentucky nearly pulled off an improbable comeback to hand the Gators their first loss since early December. Two missed free throws gave the Wildcats (24-10) a final possession, but James Young slipped trying to drive into the lane.
The ball squirted loose, and the horn sounded while Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin and Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison dived for it. A giddy Wilbekin popped up and sprinted toward the Gators’ bench in celebration. Harrison rolled over with the ball, then put his hands over his face in anguish.
The Gators extended their school-record winning streak to 26 games and awaited a sure No. 1 seed when the NCAA pairings were announced Sunday evening. Patric Young and Michael Frazier II led Florida with 14 points apiece, while Wilbekin and Casey Prather had 11 each.
Kentucky, also headed for the NCAA, was paced by Aaron Harrison with 16 points. Young added 13, while Willie Cauley-Stein had 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
ACC: No. 6 Virginia 72, No. 7 Duke 63
Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 points and Virginia claimed its first Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title since 1976 by beating Duke in Greensboro, N.C.
Tournament MVP Joe Harris added 15 points and hit the backbreaking 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes remaining for the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-6).
They shot 45 percent, pestered the Blue Devils into 38 percent shooting and used a late 12-3 run to pull away and claim the second ACC Tournament title in school history.
Jabari Parker scored 23 points on 9-of-24 shooting for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-8), who were making their 31st appearance in the championship game but were denied their ACC-record 20th title.
Anthony Gill added 12 points and was 10-of-17 from the free-throw line for Virginia. Duke as a team was just 7-of-11 from the line.
The Cavaliers came to Greensboro off of their first outright regular-season title since 1981, and were trying to do something not even Ralph Sampson could do.
It had been a long time — 38 years — since Wally Walker led Virginia to its only previous ACC tournament title. Now that trophy will have some company.
A-10: Saint Joseph’s 65, No. 23 VCU 61
Langston Galloway scored 19 points and hit yet another huge 3-pointer, and Saint Joseph’s beat Virginia Commonwealth to win its first Atlantic 10 Tournament title since 1997.
The fourth-seeded Hawks (24-9) arrived in Brooklyn on the NCAA Tournament bubble. They all but clinched an at-large berth with a win over fellow bubble team Dayton in Friday’s quarterfinals on Galloway’s go-ahead 3, then made that moot by capturing the conference’s automatic bid.
The Rams (26-8) reached the A-10 tourney finals in both years in the league but lost both times.
Fellow senior Ronald Roberts had 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting and 11 rebounds for Saint Joseph’s.
Rob Brandenberg led VCU with 18 points, but Galloway got just enough separation on him to hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with more than two minutes left.
Briante Weber missed a 3 on the other end, and the Hawks broke down the Rams’ pressure for Roberts’ dunk on a pass from DeAndre Bembry for a 59-54 lead.
Bembry, a freshman, had a brilliant defensive game and a horrific offensive outing in Saturday’s semifinals. But against VCU’s “Havoc” full-court press, he kept his poise, scoring 13 points with eight assists and just two turnovers.