Top 25: Wichita State makes it 34-0, wins MVC title
From left, Wichita State’s Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and Cleanthony Early celebrate with the championship trophy after defeating Indiana State in the final of the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
Fred VanVleet scored 22 points, including several key baskets late to lead another strong ensemble effort, and No. 2 Wichita State remained the nation’s lone unbeaten after defeating Indiana State 83-69 Sunday in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final in St. Louis.
Tekele Cotton added 20 points – with four three-pointers – and Ron Baker had 14 points for the Shockers (34-0), who got tested in the second half before putting the title game out of reach with a 13-0 run capped by two three-pointers from VanVleet that put them up by 18 points with 5:38 to go.
Wichita State matched the NCAA record for victories to start the season held by UNLV in 1990-91 with its third straight convincing tournament win after going 18-0 in the conference regular season. The Shockers won their first conference tournament since 1987.
Manny Arop and Justin Gant had 18 points apiece for second-seeded Indiana State (23-10), which has one of the closer calls against Wichita State with a seven-point loss at home in early February. Arop totaled 12 points the first two tourney games.
Maryland 75, No. 5 Virginia 69: Maryland closed out its 61st and final Atlantic Coast Conference regular season in stunning fashion, outlasting No. 5 Virginia 75-69 in overtime to end the Cavaliers’ 13-game winning streak.
After blowing a seemingly secure lead in the closing seconds of regulation, the Terrapins never trailed in the extra session in front of an emotional sellout crowd of 17,950 at the school’s final home basketball game in a conference it joined as a charter member in 1953.
No. 7 Syracuse 74, Florida State 58: C.J. Fair scored 22 points and No. 7 Syracuse closed the regular season with a 74-58 victory at Florida State.
The Orange, who ended a two-game losing streak, had lost 4 of 5 after starting the season 25-0.
No. 17 St. Louis 64, UMass 62: Jordair Jett scored on a driving layup with 3 seconds to play and No. 17 Saint Louis snapped a three-game losing streak with a 64-62 victory over Massachusetts as the Billikens won the Atlantic 10 regular season title outright for the second straight season.
Jett finished with 17 points, including the Billikens’ last six of the game.
Saint Louis (13-3, 16-5) got its final possession on a jump ball call with 36.4 seconds left. Jett dribbled out the clock near midcourt before starting in the game-winning drive.
Ohio State 69, No. 22 Michigan State 67:
LaQuinton Ross scored 22 points and Aaron Craft added 12, including a late free throw, to lead Ohio State past No. 22 Michigan State 69-67.
Keith Appling’s jumper with 2 seconds left was off the mark for the Spartans, who failed to score over the final 4:30 as Ohio State scored the game’s final four points.
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