MEAC: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship

by - Published March 12, 2006 in Newswire

Championship Week 2006

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship: A familiar but unlikely face won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship — No. 6 Hampton. The Pirates advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in six years by upsetting No. 1 Delaware State 60-56. Junior forward Jaz Cowan scored 15 points to lead Hampton, which will likely make an appearance in Tuesday’s play-in game in Dayton, Ohio. [3/11/06]

Atlantic 10: Atlantic 10 Championship

by - Published March 12, 2006 in Newswire

Championship Week 2006
Atlantic 10 Conference Championship: No. 10 Xavier blocked two shots in the final seconds to complete its comeback from a 53-44 second-half deficit in a dramatic 62-61 victory over No. 5 Saint Joseph’s. Xavier (21-10) was still down 59-51 with under five minutes left, when Stanley Burrell (15 points) hit two three-pointers to bring them back, then when trailing 61-60, Justin Doellman made two free throws to provide the final margin. Saint Joseph’s (18-13) got 23 points from Chet Stachitas. Xavier junior Justin Cage, who tied a career high with 19 points and blocked the final shot, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. [3/11/06]

America East: America East Conference Championship

by - Published March 12, 2006 in Newswire

Championship Week 2006

America East Conference Championship: No. 1 Albany controlled the pace of the game, then controlled all of the game to beat No. 6 Vermont 80-67 and win the America East Conference Championship. Junior guard Jamar Wilson torched the Catamounts for 29 points as the Great Danes forced a fast-paced game to foil Vermont’s defensively oriented game plan. Albany raced out to an 18-4 lead and never looked back. The victory gives the Great Danes their first trip to the NCAA Tournament. [3/11/06]

Conference USA: Conference USA Championship

by - Published March 12, 2006 in Newswire

Championship Week 2006

Conference USA Championship: No. 1 Memphis won the Conference USA championship by beating No. 2 Alabama – Birmingham 57-46. The win avenges a loss to the Blazers last week. Freshman forward Shawne Williams finished a solid conference tournament by scoring 18 points. Memphis broke open a six-point game in the second half with a 13-2 run. The championship strengthens Memphis’ case for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Big 12: Big 12 Conference Tournament

by - Published March 11, 2006 in Newswire

Championship Week 2006

Big 12 Conference Tournament: No. 1 Texas avenged a loss to No. 4 Texas A&M 10 days ago by beating the Aggies 74-70 to advance to the Big 12 championship game. Senior forward P.J. Tucker was unstoppable with 26 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, leading the Longhorns in each category. Texas will play No. 2 Kansas in Sunday’s championship game.

No. 2 Kansas whacked No. 6 Nebraska 79-65 in the semifinals to set up a meeting with Texas in the championship game. Freshman guard Mario Chalmers led the Jayhawks with 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds as Kansas jumped all over the Cornhuskers. At one point in the second half, Kansas led by 21 points. Nebraska never pulled closer than 12 the rest of the way. [3/11/06]

Big Ten: Big Ten Conference Tournament

by - Published March 11, 2006 in Newswire

Championship Week 2006

Big Ten Conference Tournament: No. 2 Iowa advanced to the Big Ten Conference championship game with a 53-48 victory against No. 6 Michigan State. Senior guard Jeff Horner led the Hawkeyes with 14 points. Iowa stymied Michigan State’s high-powered offense, holding the Spartans to a season-low 48 points and 28.3 percent shooting from the field.

No. 1 Ohio State escaped from a potential upset against No. 5 Indiana with a 52-51 win. Senior guard J.J.Sullinger led the Buckeyes with 19 points and 13 rebounds, including a critical rebound in the closing seconds to kill any Hoosier hope of tipping in a game-winning shot. The victory sets up a championship game between the top two seeds, Ohio State and Iowa. [3/11/06]

ACC: Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament

by - Published March 11, 2006 in Newswire

Championship Week 2006

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament: For the ninth consecutive season, No. 1 Duke will appear in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game after the Blue Devils beat No. 12 Wake Forest 78-66. Duke got a career-high 18 points from freshman point guard Greg Paulus, who played a more significant scoring role with senior guard J.J. Redick slowed by a knee injury that he suffered in the first half while taking a charge. Wake Forest contended with Duke until late in the game, and the Demon Deacons led 36-34 at halftime. Duke will play No. 3 Boston College in the championship game Sunday.

Boston College beat No. 2 North Carolina 85-82 thanks largely to the dominant play of senior forward Craig Smith. He finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds, proving too much for Tar Heel freshman forward Tyler Hansbrough to handle. The Eagles shot better than 60 percent from the field and held off a late North Carolina run after building a 14-point lead in the second half.

Atlantic 10 Semifinal Notes

by - Published March 11, 2006 in Columns

Atlantic 10 Tournament – Semifinal Notes

by Phil Kasiecki

CINCINNATI – The best-case scenario has happened for the Atlantic 10 as we head into the championship game.

George Washington will not win the conference championship, which assures the conference of two NCAA Tournament bids. Had the Colonials repeated as champions, there would be just one, as teams like Charlotte, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and Temple didn’t have the RPI to get an at-large bid had they come up short of a championship.

Xavier is in the championship game, which means there will be a good hometown crowd for the championship game. The Musketeers are looking to remain the only team to win the tournament by winning four games in four days, having done it in 2004.

Friday Honor Roll

Mardy Collins, Temple: 25 points, 6 rebounds
Chet Stachitas, Saint Joseph’s: 18 points
Abdulai Jalloh, Saint Joseph’s: 18 points, 8 rebounds
Dwayne Lee, Saint Joseph’s: 14 points, 7 assists
Josh Duncan, Xavier: 20 points, 7 rebounds
Bryant Dunston, Fordham: 16 points, 9 rebounds

Hawks Ride Defense Into Title Game

They say defense wins championships, and Saint Joseph’s has made it to the championship game with defense. The Hawks have held their three opponents to below 32 percent shooting in getting to the final on Saturday night.

But that’s not all. The Hawks had four players score in double figures and had 19 assists on 20 made baskets. The latter is a large reason they made eight of their first 14 three-pointers and finished 13-28 in the game. For much of the game and especially in the first half, the Hawks put on an exhibition in ball movement, as they made a number of great passes to set up open shots.

“I’m blown away by 19 assists on 20 baskets. That’s basketball the way it’s meant to be played,” said head coach Phil Martelli.

One unsung hero in the game was sophomore Pat Calathes, who had eight points, six rebounds and five assists off the bench. He also made a number of plays to set up scores that didn’t go down as assists, and gave a big effort when they needed it. They used a short bench, as freshman Ahmad Nivins was out with a badly sprained ankle and is likely out on Saturday as well.

Defensively, they took away Antywane Robinson, who had shot the ball well in the first two games. Robinson was 4-11 from the field and 0-4 from long range.

“We really wanted to take him away,” said Martelli. “We wanted to make him dribble the ball.”

The win was the first in eight tries for the Hawks against Temple in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. It certainly couldn’t have come at a better time for them.

Rams Take Steps Forward

Fordham finished at .500 in Atlantic 10 play for the second year in a row. With their two wins in the tournament, the Rams are at .500 as they hope for the NIT to come calling. If it doesn’t, it will be the first time they would finish at .500 or better overall since joining the Atlantic 10 in 1995.

“Maybe we will get that call,” head coach Dereck Whittenburg said of an NIT bid.

The Rams have a sophomore-oriented lineup, starting four alongside senior Jermaine Anderson. That bodes well for the team’s future, while also partially explaining their relatively up-and-down season. They started the season 1-6, including losses to St. Francis (NY) and Iona in two of the three home games they had in non-conference play. They also had to endure a late four-game losing streak, before winning four in a row including their two wins in Cincinnati.

The NIT might seem like a long shot, but the program certainly has some forward momentum. Last season, they went 8-8 for their first .500 finish in Atlantic 10 play since joining the conference; this year, they repeated that and are at .500 now overall.

More Records

One record is guaranteed to be tied or set on Saturday night: the highest seed ever to win the conference tournament. Xavier was a No. 5 seed in 2004, which Saint Joseph’s is this year. The Musketeers, who are the No. 10 seed, have already set the record for the highest seed to reach the championship game.


SEC: Southeast Conference Tournament

by - Published March 11, 2006 in Newswire

Championship Week 2006

Southeast Conference Tournament: No. 5E South Carolina continued its Cinderella-type run through the Southeast Conference Tournament as the Gamecocks won a close one against No. 3E Kentucky in the first semifinal game of the day. The trio of junior guard Tre’ Kelley, junior swingman Bryce Sheldon, and senior guard Tarence Kinsey combined to score 43 of the Gamecocks’ points in the 65-61 win. They will now be in the championship game Sunday against LSU or Florida for a chance to go to the Big Dance.

No. 2E Florida had a second-half surge to secure a spot in the SEC championship game for the second straight year with an 81-65 win against No. 1W LSU. Sophomore guard Taurean Green led the team in scoring with 18 points, including two straight three-pointers that basically eliminated the chance of LSU making a comeback. Florida will meet South Carolina in the championship game on Sunday. South Carolina won both match ups with Florida in the regular season.  [3/11/06]

VCU: Capel Will Lead Through 2012

by - Published March 11, 2006 in Newswire

Capel Will Lead Through 2012: VCU has extended the contract of head coach Jeff Capel two more years, which will keep him there through 2012. Capel has posted a 79-41 record in four seasons at the school, including a Colonial Athletic Association title, and attendance has soared to record numbers. The Rams finished the CAA Tournament at 19-10 and are hoping for a second consecutive NIT bid. [3/10/06]

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