El Dorado News-Times
Shead leads No. 1 Houston into AAC final, Sasser injured
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Jamal Shead had 16 points and nine assists as top-ranked Houston advanced to its fifth American Athletic Conference championship game in a row with a 69-48 win over Cincinnati on Saturday, even after losing star guard Marcus Sasser to an injury.
The Cougars (31-2) led throughout, getting two second-chance layups from J'Wan Roberts in the opening minute. He finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Sasser, the AAC player of the year, went down with an apparent groin injury with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half and did not return.
Landers Nolley II had 14 points for Cincinnati (21-12), which shot 25.5% from the field.
Houston will play either Memphis or Tulane on Sunday.
NO. 5 PURDUE 80, OHIO STATE 66
CHICAGO (AP) — Zach Edey had 32 points and 14 rebounds in Purdue's win over Ohio State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Boilermakers (28-5) started to take control late in the first half and cruised into the conference final for the second straight year. They will meet Penn State on Sunday.
Brandon Newman scored 15 and Braden Smith added 14 points for the Boilermakers, who won their fourth in a row.
Roddy Gayle Jr. led Ohio State (1619) with a career-high 20 points, 16 in the first half, and Justice Sueing added 15 points. Leading scorer Brice Sensabaugh missed his second game in a row because of a sore knee.
PENN STATE 77, NO. 19 INDIANA 73
CHICAGO (AP) — Jalen Pickett scored 28 points, Seth Lundy had 16 and Penn State beat Indiana to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship against No. 5 Purdue.
Andrew Funk added nine points as 10th-seeded Penn State (22-12) won for the eighth time in nine games. The deep Big Ten run has Penn State in position for its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2011.
Trayce Jackson-Davis had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Indiana (22-11), and Tamar Bates had 14 points. The third-seeded Hoosiers shot 56% in the second half, but they ran out of time after making a frantic comeback in the final minutes.
HOWARD 65, NORFOLK STATE 64
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Jelani Williams scored 20 points including two free throws with 6.1 seconds left to lead Howard to a 65-64 win on Saturday in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament championship game and the Bison's first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 31 years.
This is Howard's first MEAC Tournament title since 1992, which was also the last time the Bison won the regular-season championship until this season. They beat the Spartans twice during the regular season 87-67 and 86-84 but the championship game was a tenacious defensive matchup.
Free throws by Terrance Jones and Joe Bryant gave Norfolk State a 64-60 lead with 23.7 seconds remaining. Marcus Dockery made his first 3-pointer after missing his first five attempts to get Howard within a point with 13.2 to go then Norfolk State threw the inbounds pass out of bounds on a miscommunication.
Williams was fouled on a drive and made two free throws on both sides of a Spartans timeout. Norfolk State called another timeout after going over midcourt then inbounded the ball to Bankston who hit the bottom of the rim with a layup in heavy pressure under the basket.
Williams was the only player for top-seeded Howard (22-12) to score in double figures on 6-of-11 shooting while hitting 7 of 8 free throws.
VERMONT 72, UMASS-LOWELL 59 BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Dylan Penn scored 21 points, Matt Veretto scored 15 and ignited a game-breaking run, leading Vermont to a 72-59 victory over UMass Lowell in the championship game of the America East playoffs on Saturday.
Vermont will be making its ninth NCAA appearance. UMass Lowell, in its sixth year of eligibility, finished as the runner-up for the second time in three years.
Midway through the second half, Veretto scored nine points in three possessions, first hitting three free throws, then adding two 3-pointers as Vermont built a seven-point lead. After a media timeout, Finn Sullivan scored in the lane to give the Catamounts their largest lead up to that time, 55-46.
The River Hawks were in the midst of a nearly four-minute scoring drought and by the time Allin Blunt made two free throws they trailed 57-48 with 4:37 to go. Penn hit a layup and Finn Sullivan's four-point play put the Catamounts in control, 63-50 near the two-minute mark.
Penn made 8 of 12 shots, grabbed four rebounds and added two assists. Sullivan had 14 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Aaron Deloney added 10 points off the bench for Vermont (2310), which has won 15 straight games.
Blunt led UMass Lowell (26-8) with 14 points and Yuri Covington scored 10 off the bench.
The River Hawks made only three field goals in the final eight minutes.