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March 9, 2008

Sunday's Top 25 roundup

Chris Lofton scored 28 points, including six 3-pointers, and Tennessee routed South Carolina in Knoxville, Tenn.

JaJuan Smith fouled out with 17 points and four 3s, receiving a hearty standing ovation from the crowd on his and Lofton's final home games as Volunteers.

The Vols' fans engaged in a delayed celebration of Tennessee's first outright SEC championship since 1967, which the team won last week with a win over Florida.

A new championship banner was unveiled in Thompson-Boling Arena while orange and white streamers dropped from the ceiling and the players cut down the nets.

No. 9 Texas 62, Oklahoma St. 57

D.J. Augustin scored 20 points and Texas won a share of the Big 12 regular-season championship with a win over Oklahoma State in Austin, Texas.

The win also clinches the No. 1 seed for Texas in the league tournament because the Longhorns (26-5, 13-3) beat co-champion Kansas in February.

Damion James added 13 points and 18 rebounds for the Longhorns, making four free throws in the final 36 seconds to help maintain the lead. After the game, Texas players hoisted the championship trophy at midcourt. Texas has won a share of the conference title two of the last three seasons and three overall in 10 years.

Byron Eaton and Terrel Harris each scored 12 points for the Cowboys (16-14, 7-9).

No. 13 Connecticut 96, Cincinnati 51

Stanley Robinson scored 18 points and had eight rebounds in Storrs, Conn., as Connecticut swept the regular-season series, in a game postponed a day because of a Midwest snowstorm.

The Huskies (24-7, 13-5 Big East) didn't seem to mind the delay and put it away with a 30-0 run in the first half. UConn held the Bearcats (13-17, 8-10) scoreless for nearly 11 minutes.

Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien combined for 13 rebounds. Thabeet, the conference leader in blocked shots, finished with eight blocks and 15 points.

The Huskies shot 57 percent from the floor and made 25-of-30 from the foul line.

No. 15 Purdue 72, Michigan 58

E'Twaun Moore and Keaton Grant each scored 17 points, helping Purdue put together a run at the right time to put away Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Boilermakers (24-7, 15-3 Big Ten) earned sole possession of second place in the final conference game of the regular season.

They outscored the Wolverines 21-4 after trailing midway through the second half, breaking open what was a close game for 30 minutes.

Robbie Hummel had 11 points for Purdue, which had its best season in a decade by winning 14 of the last 16 games.

DeShawn Sims scored 19 for the Wolverines (9-21, 5-13), Ekpe Udoh had 13 points and Manny Harris added 10 despite being benched for much of the first half.

Ohio St. 63, No. 17 Michigan St. 54

Senior Jamar Butler said goodbye to the home crowd with 20 points and Ohio State beat Michigan State, closing out the game with a 15-2 run to enhance its prospects of landing an NCAA tournament berth.

There won't be a big turnaround to the rematch. The teams meet in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals on Friday.

Othello Hunter added 13 points, including a pivotal one-handed jam of a rebound in the closing minutes, David Lighty scored 12 and Kosta Koufos 11 for the Buckeyes (19-12, 10-8).

Raymar Morgan had 19 points for Michigan State (24-7, 12-6), which was frazzled by Ohio State's defense down the stretch, missing its last six shots from the field with three turnovers.

Ohio State's NCAA hopes were considered dead after it lost four in a row before pulling off two upsets in the final week of the regular season. The Buckeyes beat No. 15 Purdue 80-77 in overtime on Tuesday night.

Penn St. 68, No. 18 Indiana 64

David Jackson tied the game in regulation with a 3-point play and hit a decisive bucket in overtime to help Penn State overcome Eric Gordon's 26 points in State College, Pa.

Stanley Pringle hit one of two foul shots to put Penn State up 67-64 with 15 seconds left in overtime, and Indiana's D.J. White secured the rebound. Armon Bassett missed an open 3 from the wing, and Pringle lunged out of bounds to try to save the ball but ended up throwing it to Gordon.

The Indiana freshman, known for his 3-point shooting ability, missed a 3 to tie with about 3 seconds left. Talor Battle added a free throw with 0.5 seconds remaining to send the Hoosiers to their second straight road loss.

Fans rushed the court after Penn State (15-15, 7-11 Big Ten) won its fifth straight home game and secured seventh place in the Big Ten. Indiana (25-6, 14-4) missed an opportunity to clinch the second seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

No. 20 Drake 79, Illinois St. 49

Adam Emmenecker wound up a dazzling weekend with 16 points and six assists and Jonathan Cox had 20 points, leading Drake to its first Missouri Valley Conference tournament title with a rout of Illinois State in St. Louis.

Klayton Korver added 10 points for Drake (28-4), which shot 55.6 percent and became the first school to sweep the regular-season and tournament titles since co-champ Creighton in 2002. The title game matched rookie head coaches from programs picked to finish near the bottom of the conference and coming off a combined 32-31 showing in 2006-07, and Drake is the first top seed to win the tournament in 11 seasons.

No. 22 Gonzaga 52, Santa Clara 48

Josh Heytvelt scored 15 points and No. 22 Gonzaga advanced to its 11th straight West Coast Conference tournament title game with a sluggish win over Santa Clara in San Diego.

Gonzaga (25-6) has won four consecutive WCC tournament titles, eight of nine and nine of the last 13. The Bulldogs made only five baskets in the second half, but survived by going 13-for-16 from the foul line.

No. 24 Clemson 70, Virginia Tech 69

Demontez Stitt hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds left to lift Clemson past Virginia Tech in Clemson, S.C.

The Tigers (22-8, 10-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) held on despite making just three field goals in the final 12:20.

Clemson locked up a third-place finish in the ACC, its best spot in more than 20 years and probably enough to put it in the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade. Virginia Tech fell to fourth in the league, and its NCAA hopes are murky at best.

The Hokies (18-12, 9-7) led 69-68 after Deron Washington tipped in A.D. Vassallo's miss with 9 seconds left. But Stitt drove and was fouled by Vassallo with 3.8 seconds to go. The Tigers shoot just 62.7 percent from the line but Stitt, the team's second-best foul shooter, made them both.

No. 25 Davidson 82, UNC Greensboro 52

Stephen Curry had 26 points and the Wildcats won their 21st straight game to reach the Southern Conference tournament championship in North Charleston, S.C.

Davidson (25-6) own the country's longest win streak and have taken their past 35 games against SoCon opponents, including this year's 20-0 romp through the regular season.

The Wildcats will try for their fourth crown since 2002 and fifth under Bob McKillop.

Kendall Toney led UNC Greensboro (19-12) with 12 points.



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