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Gators escape ‘Cats, cap perfect sec run

ATLANTA » Top-ranked Florida capped a perfect run through the Southeastern Conference when Kentucky failed to get off a shot on its final possession, allowing the Gators to escape with a 61-60 victory in the league championship game Sunday.

Florida (32-2) built a 16-point lead early in the second half, but Kentucky nearly pulled off an improbable comeback to hand the Gators their first loss since early December. Two missed free throws gave the Wildcats (24-10) a final possession, but James Young slipped trying to drive into the lane.

The Gators extended their school-record winning streak to 26 games and were selected as the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Patric Young and Michael Frazier II led Florida with 14 points apiece.

Kentucky was paced by Aaron Harrison with 16 points. Young added 13, while Willie Cauley-Stein had 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.

NO. 6 VIRGINIA 72, NO. 7 DUKE 63

GREENSBORO, N.C. » Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 points and Virginia claimed its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title since 1976.

Tournament MVP Joe Harris added 15 points and hit the backbreaking 3-pointer with just under two minutes remaining for the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-6).

Jabari Parker scored 23 points on 9-for-24 shooting for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-8), who were making their 31st appearance in the championship game.


INDIANAPOLIS » Adreian Payne scored 18 points and Gary Harris and Branden Dawson added 15 each to lead Michigan State to its second Big Ten tournament title in three years.

The third-seeded Spartans (26-8) have won four of five. Top-seeded Michigan (25-8) was led by Big Ten player of the year Nik Stauskas with 17 points, but the Big Ten regular-season champs had their seven-game win streak snapped.


NEW YORK » Langston Galloway scored 19 points and hit yet another huge 3-pointer, and the fourth-seeded Hawks (24-9) won their first Atlantic 10 tournament title since 1997.

The second-seeded Rams (26-8) have reached the A-10 tourney final in both years in the league but lost both times.


NEW ORLEANS » Xavian Rimmer scored a career-high 27 points and the Ragin’ Cajuns (23-11) rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final three minutes of regulation to force overtime and beat the Panthers (25-7) in the Sun Belt Conference championship game.

The third-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns earned an automatic bid to their first NCAA Tournament since 2005.


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