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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 15, 2010

Kentucky wins SEC tourney


Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Ohio State's Evan Turner had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead Ohio State past Minnesota, 90-61, for the Big Ten tournament title yesterday.

MICHAEL CONROY | Associated Press

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. John Calipari only had questions once he and his Kentucky Wildcats finished celebrating their Southeastern Conference tournament championship.

"How did we win this game? How did we go to overtime? I don't know," Calipari said.

Freshman John Wall scored seven of his 17 points in overtime, and No. 2 Kentucky overcame a five-point deficit with 2:28 left in regulation to beat Mississippi State, 75-74, yesterday. The Wildcats rewarded their faithful by adding their 26th SEC tournament championship and an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament to their 44th regular season title.

The Wildcats (32-2) came through over the defending tourney champs as freshman DeMarcus Cousins' layup off Wall's missed 3-pointer from the right corner beat the regulation buzzer to give them some extra time.

Wall did miscalculate. He thought the Wildcats had won on Cousins' shot and tackled the 6-foot-11, 270-pound forward to the court near the press table, celebrating a wee bit early.

"I was so excited," Wall said.

Cousins knew he had forced overtime even if his teammates didn't as they followed Wall's lead and swarmed him on the floor.

"So I got kind of beat up at the end thanks to John," Cousins said with a smile.

It was Kentucky's first SEC tournament title since 2004.

Mississippi State (23-11) lost for the second time to the Wildcats this season after leading late in regulation. The Bulldogs blew a seven-point lead on Feb. 16, and lost that game 81-75 in overtime.

Yesterday, Eric Bledsoe's jumper put the Wildcats ahead to stay at 71-69 with 1:20 left, and Wall's lone 3-pointer of the game pushed it to 74-71 with 26 seconds remaining.

No. 4 Duke 65, Georgia Tech 61: Kyle Singler scored 20 points and Jon Scheyer hit a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to help No. 4 Duke win the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament at Greensboro, N.C.

Scheyer finished with 16 points for the top-seeded Blue Devils (29-5), who let an 11-point lead with 6 minutes left slip to one before Scheyer's big shot. Nolan Smith also had 16 points to help Duke earn a league-record 18th tournament title, breaking a tie with rival North Carolina.

The seventh-seeded Yellow Jackets (22-12) were trying to become the first team in tournament history to win four games in four days.

Freshman Derrick Favors had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Georgia Tech.

No. 5 Ohio St. 90, Minnesota 61: Evan Turner had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game at Indianapolis.

Turner hit a 37-foot shot at the buzzer to beat Michigan in the quarterfinals, then scored 12 of his 31 points after regulation in a double-overtime win over Illinois in the semifinals. Yesterday, he set the tournament record for points in a championship game.

Ohio State (27-7) made nine 3-pointers in the second half to pull away after leading by three points at halftime. David Lighty scored 20 points and Jon Diebler added 19 for the Buckeyes, who tied the record for largest victory margin in a Big Ten tournament game.

Lawrence Westbrook scored 17 points and Devoe Joseph added 14 for Minnesota (21-13).

No. 17 Temple 56, Richmond 52: Ryan Brooks hit four free throws over the final 50 seconds and the top-seeded Owls won their third straight Atlantic 10 tournament at Atlantic City, N.J.

Tournament MVP Juan Fernandez scored 18 points, and Brooks and Ramone Moore finished with 12 each for Temple (29-5), which won its ninth conference title.

Third-seeded Richmond (26-8) had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but David Gonzalvez missed a 3-pointer with seven seconds to play.

Kevin Anderson, the conference player of the year, stepped up late for Richmond and scored nine of his 14 points in the final 7:06 to help the Spiders rally from a 12-point deficit.