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Irish take ACC

Notre Dame wins first title in any league

Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant, left, and Zach Auguste smother North Carolina’s J.P. Tokoto during the ACC title game. (Associated Press)
Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant, left, and Zach Auguste smother North Carolina’s J.P. Tokoto during the ACC title game. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

Jerian Grant scored 24 points and No. 11 Notre Dame took over with a 26-3 second-half run to rally past No. 19 North Carolina 90-82 on Saturday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Pat Connaughton added 20 points for the third-seeded Irish (29-5). They went from trailing by nine to up double figures with a stunning burst that seized momentum in what amounted to a road game and sent the program to its first title in any league.

Connaughton came up with a pair of 3s during Notre Dame’s go-ahead run, with the Irish getting into a fast-paced, free-flowing attack set loose by a few ill-timed turnovers by the Tar Heels (24-11).

Big 12 Conference

(13) Iowa State 70, (9) Kansas 66: Iowa State’s unflappable bunch of comeback kids did it one more time.

Georges Niang scored 19 points, Abdel Nader made the go-ahead foul shots with 48 seconds to go, and the No. 13 Cyclones (25-8) rallied from a 17-point second-half hole to beat the ninth-ranked Jayhawks (26-8) in the Big 12 tournament championship in Kansas City, Missouri.

It was the fifth straight game – including all three in the tournament – that the Cyclones rallied from a double-digit deficit.

Big East Conference

(4) Villanova 69, Xavier 52: Josh Hart had 15 points in his latest brilliant performance off the bench, and the top-seeded Wildcats (32-2) turned the Big East championship game into a blowout by beating the sixth-seeded Muskateers (21-13) in New York for its second tournament title.

Looking to lock up a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs, Villanova made an impressive statement much to the delight of a pro-Wildcats crowd and enter the tournament on a 15-game winning streak.

Big Ten Conference

Michigan State 62, (8) Maryland 58: Travis Trice scored 20 points, Branden Dawson added 17 points and eight rebounds and the Spartans (23-10) rallied to beat the No. 8 Terrapins (27-6) in the Big Ten semifinals at Chicago.

Tom Izzo’s team will try to make it two straight titles and three in four years when it takes on Wisconsin today.

(6) Wisconsin 71, Purdue 51: Bronson Koenig scored a career-high 19 points and the Badgers (30-3) beat the Boilermakers (21-12) to advance to the Big Ten tournament championship.

Wisconsin reached 30 wins for the fourth time and can match the school record with a win in today’s final.

Southeastern Conference

(1) Kentucky 91, Auburn 67: Willie Cauley-Stein scored 18 points and Andrew Harrison added 15 for the No. 1 Wildcats, which routed the depleted Tigers (15-20) to reach the Southeastern Conference Tournament final and run its record to 33-0.

(21) Arkansas 60, Georgia 49: Michael Qualls scored 15 points and the second-seeded Razorbacks (26-7) beat the third-seeded Bulldogs (21-11) in the Southeastern Conference semifinals at Nashville, Tennessee.

The second-seeded Razorbacks will play top-ranked Kentucky in their sixth championship game.

American East Conference

Albany 51, Stony Brook 50: Peter Hooley hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key on the final shot of the game, giving the Great Danes (24-8) a stunning victory over the Seawolves (23-11) to win the America East tournament title at Albany, for the third straight year.

The Great Danes are 5-0 in the title game, including a 69-60 win on the road last year over the Seawolves, who remained winless in four tries in the championship game.

Ivy League

Harvard 53, Yale 51: Steve Moundou-Missi hit a 15-foot jumper with 7.2 seconds left, Wesley Saunders scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half and the Crimson (22-7) beat the Bulldogs (22-10) in Philadelphia, in a one-game Ivy League playoff for its fourth straight NCAA tournament berth.

Yale, which missed out on its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1962, and Harvard shared the Ivy League title with 11-3 records to set up the playoff to determine the conference’s automatic NCAA bid. The Ivy is the only Division I league without a conference tournament.

Mountain West Conference

Wyoming 45, San Diego State 41: Josh Adams hit a big 3-pointer with a minute left and the Cowboys (25-9) earned their first trip to the NCAA tournament in 13 years with a victory over the Aztecs (26-8) in the Mountain West Conference championship in Las Vegas.

Western Athletic Conference

New Mexico St. 80, Seattle 61: Remi Barry scored 21 points and Tshilidzi Nephawe added 18 and 10 rebounds as the Aggies (23-10) defeated the Redhawks (16-15) to win the WAC tournament in Las Vegas.

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