Villanova captures Big East again

NEW YORK — Villanova became the first team to win three consecutive Big East Tournaments, beating Seton Hall 74-72 on Saturday night behind seniors Eric Paschall and Phil Booth and key contributions from freshman Saddiq Bey.

Seton Hall star Myles Powell, guarded closely by Booth, missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds that could have won it. Booth was called for traveling as he tried to corral the rebound, however, and the Pirates got one more chance with 0.4 seconds left. Anthony Nelson’s long inbounds lob bounced off the backboard and was slapped away by the Wildcats, who got to party on the Madison Square Garden floor yet again.

Iowa State wins Big 12

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Something about the Big 12 Tournament brings out the best in Iowa State.

The fifth-seeded Cyclones raced to a big early lead against No. 17 Kansas, then leaned on some balanced scoring and enough stops down the stretch to beat the Jayhawks 78-66 on Saturday night and remain unbeaten in five championship game appearances.

Lindell Wigginton had 17 points, Marial Shayok had 15 and Michael Jacobson 14 for the Cyclones (23-11). They became the lowest-seeded team ever to win the conference tournament and improved to 2-0 against Kansas (25-9) in the finals.

Dedric Lawson had 18 points and Devon Dotson added 17 for the third-seeded Jayhawks.

Houston wins American

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Corey Davis Jr. scored 17 points and No. 11 Houston weathered a late Memphis rally to defeat the Tigers 61-58 in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday.

Jeremiah Martin led Memphis with 23 points, most of them from the free throw line, as he made only 5 of 24 shots, including going 1 of 7 from outside the arc.

Buffalo takes MAC

CLEVELAND — Jeremy Harris scored 31 points, C.J. Massinburg added 17 and No. 18 Buffalo won its fourth Mid-American Conference title in five years — and further stamped itself as a team to fear in the NCAA Tournament — by beating Bowling Green 87-73 on Saturday night.

Utah State wins MW

LAS VEGAS — Sam Merrill scored 24 points, Neemias Queta had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Utah State won its first Mountain West Conference championship with a 64-57 victory over San Diego State on Saturday.

SEC semifinals

No. 8 Tennessee 82, No. 4 Kentucky 78: Lamonte’ Turner ended a shooting slump by sinking a go-ahead 3-pointer with 30 seconds left as No. 8 Tennessee rallied to beat No. 4 Kentucky 82-78 in a Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinal thriller Saturday.

Tennessee (29-4) trailed by eight with less than three minutes left before rallying to move a step closer to its first SEC Tournament title since 1979. The third-seeded Volunteers face No. 22 Auburn (25-9) in today’s championship game.

No. 22 Auburn 65, Florida 62: Jared Harper hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left as No. 22 Auburn held off Florida 65-62 Saturday to reach the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship for the first time since 2000.

Other tournaments

C-USA: Xavier Green scored 14 of his game-high 16 points in the second half to lead Old Dominion to a 62-56 victory over Western Kentucky in the Conference USA Tournament championship game on Saturday night.

SWAC: Gary Blackston and Dennis Jones scored 17 points apiece to lead six Prairie View A&M players in double figures and the Panthers beat Texas Southern 92-86 on Saturday night in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament championship game. Prairie View earned its second NCAA Tournament berth and first since 1998.

Big Sky: Sayeed Pridgett scored 18 points and Montana overcame a 12-point deficit to beat Eastern Washington 68-62 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Sky Tournament title and NCAA bid.

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