Vanderbilt Topples Kentucky; Florida State Beats North Carolina for Title
Also today, Florida State University defeated the fourth- ranked University of North Carolina 85-82 in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship game and Michigan State University downed Ohio State 68-64 to take the Big Ten Conference title for the first time since 2000.
Vanderbilt won on its first appearance in the Southeastern Conference title game since 1951, when the Commodores also beat the Wildcats. Kentucky (32-2) was denied a third straight tournament title and 28th in school history, yet will probably get one of the four No. 1 regional seeds when the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament field is announced later today.
Jeffrey Taylor led Vanderbilt (24-10) with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Festus Ezeli and John Jenkins contributed 17 points each for the Commodores at New Orleans Arena.
Darius Miller led the Wildcats with 16 points. Anthony Davis, who was voted the league’s Player of the Year, scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds.
The 17th-ranked Seminoles (24-9) won the ACC tournament for the first time in school history as the Tar Heels’ P.J. Hairston missed with a 3-point attempt as time expired at Philips Arena in Atlanta. North Carolina (29-5) may still gain a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament field.
Florida State’s win comes almost two months after the Seminoles beat the Tar Heels 90-57 for North Carolina’s biggest loss under coach Roy Williams.
It’s the first time that a team outside of North Carolina has won the tournament since Maryland triumphed in 2004.
At Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Brandon Wood scored a game-high 21 points as eighth-ranked Michigan State (27-7) denied No. 7 Ohio State (27-7) a third straight Big Ten title. After the Spartans won the Big Ten tournament for a second time 12 years ago, they went on to claim their second title at the NCAA tournament.
In the Atlantic 10 tournament final at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, conference Player of the Year Andrew Nicholson had 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots as St. Bonaventure won its first title with a 67-56 victory over Xavier.
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