Late Night Snacks: North Florida, USC Upstate advance to Atlantic Sun title game

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Bucknell 90, Holy Cross 83 (OT)

Holy Cross was one stop away from upsetting the top seed in the Patriot League tournament, but a Chris Hass three-point play with 25 seconds remaining forced overtime. From there it was all Bucknell, as Hass finished with a team-high 32 points and Steven Kaspar came off the bench to play some solid defense down the stretch on Holy Cross’ Malcolm Miller. Miller finished the game with 34 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four blocks for the Crusaders, but he missed a three that would have won the game in the final seconds of regulation.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. USC Upstate 63, FGCU 62

For the second straight year FGCU fell short of its goal of returning to the NCAA tournament, this time falling to the Spartans in the A-Sun semis. Bernard Thompson was fouled on a three-point attempt by Ty Greene with one second remaining and the Eagles trailing by three, but he missed the third attempt after making the first two. Greene, the A-Sun Player of the Year, led the Spartans with 20 points while Thompson scored a game-high 25. Next up for USC Upstate is top-seed North Florida Sunday afternoon, as the Ospreys beat Lipscomb 71-57. And regardless of who wins the title game, the Atlantic Sun’s NCAA tournament representative will be making its first appearance in the Big Dance.

2. No. 6 Wisconsin 76, Minnesota 63

Frank Kaminsky accounted for 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds as the Badgers wrapped up the outright Big Ten regular season title in Minneapolis. Sam Dekker added 20 points and five rebounds, and Nigel Hayes contributed 12 points and nine boards for Wisconsin. Freshman guard Nate Mason paced the Golden Gophers with 15 points, but it’s incredibly tough to beat Wisconsin when they shot 50 percent from the field and 10-for-20 from beyond the arc.

3. Davidson 82, VCU 55

Davidson took another step towards earning an NCAA tournament berth few deemed possible before the season began, as they blew out the Rams to move into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 with Dayton. Bob McKillop’s team led from start to finish in this one, shooting 50 percent from the field and 11-for-26 from beyond the arc. Tyler Kalinoski led four starters in double figures with 22 points and reserve forward Jordan Barham tallied 13 points and 14 rebounds off the bench. VCU, which has struggled offensively in recent games, shot 39.6 percent from the field and 1-for-15 from three.

STARRED

1. Delaware State’s Kendall Gray and Amere May

In the Hornets’ 104-92 win over Coppin State, Gray and May stole the show. While May scored 40 points on 13-for-24 shooting from the field, Gray (the nation’s top rebounder) accounted for 33 points and 30 rebounds.

2. Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky

25 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the field, seven assists and six rebounds in a win at Minnesota.

3. North Florida’s Dallas Moore

Scored 36 points in the Ospreys’ 71-57 win over Lipscomb in an Atlantic Sun semifinal.

STRUGGLED

1. UConn’s Rodney Purvis

One game after scoring a career-high 28 points, Purvis missed all seven of his field goal attempts and scored three-points in a home loss to Memphis.

2. ULM’s Tylor Ongwae

Ongwae made just two of his fourteen field goal attempts, scoring eight points and committing seven turnovers in the Warhawks’ 58-50 loss to Georgia State.

3. VCU’s Treveon Graham

Graham continues to struggle offensively, and in the Rams’ loss at Davidson he score just four points on 2-for-7 shooting from the field.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 18 Arkansas erased an 11-point second half deficit to win 78-74 at South Carolina. Bobby Portis led the Hogs with 24 points and eight rebounds, and Anthlon Bell scored 17 off the bench.
  • No. 5 Arizona rolled to a 99-60 win over California, as Brandon Ashley scored 21 points and five other players scored in double figures for the Wildcats. Arizona wraps up the outright Pac-12 title with the win.
  • Delon Wright tallied 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and No. 13 Utah came back to win 67-59 at Washington State. Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor both made some key shots in the second half as the Runnin’ Utes erased an eight-point deficit.

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

  • Atlantic Sun: USC Upstate and North Florida advanced, setting up Sunday’s title game at UNF.
  • MAAC: Siena advances with a 71-57 win over Niagara, setting up a quarterfinal matchup with top-seed Iona Saturday afternoon. And with the game being played on Siena’s home court, things could get interesting. Saint Peter’s (over Fairfield) and Marist (over Quinnipiac) were the other winners. Saturday’s quarterfinal matchups: Siena vs. Iona, Canisius vs. Monmouth, Saint Peter’s vs. Rider and Marist vs. Manhattan.
  • Missouri Valley: Deion Lavender led three starters in double figures with 12 points as Southern Illinois beat Missouri State 55-48. In the nightcap Bradley beat Drake 52-50 in overtime, with two Tramique Sutherland free throws being the difference. Friday’s quarterfinal matchups: Southern Illinois vs. Wichita State, Evansville vs. Illinois State, Bradley vs. Northern Iowa and Loyola (IL) vs. Indiana State.
  • Ohio Valley: Morehead State won its second straight, moving to the semifinals with a 76-65 win over UT Martin. In the nightcap Belmont blew out Eastern Illinois. Friday’s semifinal matchups: Morehead State vs. Murray State and Belmont vs. Eastern Kentucky.
  • Patriot League: American was the lone road team to win Thursday night, as they won 68-62 at Lehigh. The other winners: top-seed Bucknell (in overtime over Holy Cross), two-seed Colgate (over Navy) and four-seed Lafayette (over Boston University). Sunday’s semifinal matchups: Lafayette at Bucknell and American at Colgate.

NOTABLES

  • Temple took care of business on the road, winning 70-56 at East Carolina. The Owls, who beat Kansas in December, host UConn this weekend.
  • North Carolina Central completed a 16-0 run through the MEAC with a win over North Carolina A&T. LeVelle Moton’s record in regular season conference games over the last three seasons: 46-2.
  • Old Dominion hasn’t been discussed all that often when it comes to bubble teams, but they’re 23-6 after taking care of Marshall. Among their non-conference wins: LSU and VCU, with the latter having Briante Weber and being ranked 14th in the country at the time.
  • Shaq Goodwin’s basket with 8.1 seconds remaining gave Memphis a one-point win at UConn. The win gives Memphis a sweep of the season series after they lost to the Huskies three times a season ago.
  • Stephen F. Austin clinched a share of the Southland regular season title with a 92-66 win over Northwestern State, and they can win it outright with a victory over Sam Houston State on Saturday.
  • Sacramento State lost 69-65 at Southern Utah, and they drop into a three-way tie atop the Big Sky with Eastern Washington and Montana as a result. The top seed in the conference tournament receives the added benefit of hosting the event.
  • Texas Southern, which picked up its seventh straight win Thursday night, clinched the outright SWAC title. Mike Davis’ team has an automatic bid to the NIT if they don’t win the conference tournament.
  • UC Davis wrapped up the outright Big West title with a two-point win over UC Riverside. Jim Les’ team finished last in the conference last season.
  • Stanford’s already slim at-large chances took another hit, as the Cardinal lost at Arizona State. Even with a win at No. 5 Arizona on Saturday, Stanford will likely need to win the Pac-12 tournament if they’re to return to the NCAA tournament.