Manning has Tulsa dancing

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EL PASO, Texas -- Danny Manning is taking Tulsa back to the NCAA tournament.

James Woodard scored 27 points to lead the Golden Hurricane to its first NCAA berth since 2003 with a 69-60 victory Saturday against Louisiana Tech in the Conference USA tournament final.

"It's an indescribable feeling," said Woodard, who is from Tulsa. "Growing up as a kid, you can't wait for March Madness. To be a part of that, this time around, and for us being so young as a team, it's definitely a dream come true."

Woodard, who scored 18 points in the second half, made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch to help Tulsa hold off the Bulldogs.

Tulsa (21-12), which was the No. 2 seed, will carry an 11-game win streak into the tournament. Top-seeded Louisiana Tech came up short, extending an NCAA tournament drought dating to 1991.

The Bulldogs (27-7) were led by Kenneth Smith with 16 points and Kenyon McNeail with 15. Alex Hamilton finished with 12.

The Bulldogs led 35-34 at the half in a game with 16 lead changes. Neither team led by more than five points until Tulsa took control in the final 5 minutes, pushing the advantage to 10 points on a free throw by Woodard with 1:12 left.

"This was a lot of fun," said Tulsa second-year head coach Danny Manning, who won an NCAA title playing for Kansas in 1988. "It was a hard-fought game. Louisiana Tech is a talented team. We have three other teams in our league deserving of a bid."

Louisiana Tech, which made 7 of 10 3-pointers in the first half and shot 45 percent from the field, cooled off in the second half. The Bulldogs, limited by a stingy Tulsa defense, shot 32 percent for the game. They went just 4 of 15 from 3-point range in the second half and 15 of 23 from the free-throw line.

"Right now, I feel bad for the four seniors," Tech's Alex Hamilton said. "I just wish there was more could do. We came out on the short end. I feel bad for the guys."

Meanwhile, Tulsa shot 72 percent from the line (18 of 25), 55 percent from 3-point range (5 of 9) and 43 percent from the field.

PAC-12

UCLA 75, NO. 4 ARIZONA 71

LAS VEGAS -- Kyle Anderson had 21 points and 15 points, Jordan Adams hit a huge 3-pointer in the final minute, and UCLA outlasted No. 4 Arizona 75-71 in a spirited Pac-12 championship game.

The Pac-12's two best teams during the regular season, UCLA (26-8) and Arizona (30-4) put on a show in the tournament final, trading big plays and floor burns.

Offense ruled the first half and defense the second until Adams dropped in his contested 3-pointer to put the Bruins up 71-68 with 45 seconds left.

David Wear and Norman Powell combined to hit four free throws down the stretch, giving UCLA the Pac-12 title in its first year under coach Steve Alford.

Adams finished with 19 points and Powell had 15 for the surging Bruins.

Nick Johnson had 22 points and Kaleb Tarczewski added 12 for Arizona (30-4), which may have lost out on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with the loss.

SEC

NO. 1 FLORIDA 56, TENNESSEE 49

ATLANTA -- Patric Young scored 16 points and No. 1 Florida turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, rallying for a 56-49 victory over Tennessee in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Florida (31-2) extended its school-record winning streak to 25 in a row after trailing by 10 in the first half. The Gators were down 35-28 at the break, but they wore down the Volunteers (21-12) over the final 20 minutes. After shooting 54 percent in the opening period, Tennessee made just 5-of-20 shots and turned the ball over 11 times, leaving its fate in the hands of the NCAA selection committee.

The Gators, improving to 20-0 against SEC opponents, will face Kentucky or Georgia in the championship game Sunday.

Florida's Scottie Wilbekin added 14 points and Casey Prather had 12.

Jordan McRae led Tennessee with 15 points, while Jarnell Stokes had 13 points and eight rebounds.

KENTUCKY 70, GEORGIA 58

ATLANTA -- Aaron Harrison scored 22 points and Kentucky took a methodical 70-58 win over Georgia to advance to another Southeastern Conference tournament championship game.

Kentucky will play No. 1 Florida in Sunday's championship game, creating the attractive matchup of the tournament's two top seeds. Florida beat Tennessee 56-49 in Saturday's first semifinal.

The Wildcats improved their record of dominance in SEC semifinals to 38-2.

AAC

NO. 5 LOUISVILLE 76,

NO. 21 CONNECTICUT 61

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Montrezl Harrell had 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, and fifth-ranked Louisville beat No. 21 Connecticut 71-61 Saturday for the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament title in the Cardinals' lone season in the leage.

The defending national champions clinched their 40th NCAA tournament berth.

The Cardinals (29-5) have won three straight league tournament titles after taking the last two in the Big East, and they added their 19th overall before moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference in July.

Russ Smith had 19 points and five steals for Louisville, and Chris Jones added 11 points.

ACC

NO. 6 VIRGINIA 51, PITTSBURGH 48

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Anthony Gill hit two free throws with 8.5 seconds left to help No. 6 Virginia hold off Pittsburgh 51-48 in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

Gill was shooting 63 percent from the line for the Cavaliers (27-6) but calmly made both free throws after James Robinson's hanging layup had brought the Panthers to within 49-48.

NO. 7 DUKE 75,

NORTH CAROLINA STATE 57

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Jabari Parker scored 20 points and No. 7 Duke beat North Carolina State 75-67 in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinal.

Rasheed Sulaimon added 16 points for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-7) while Rodney Hood had 14 points and keyed the defensive effort against ACC player of the year T.J. Warren.

Duke earned its 31st championship game appearance and first since 2011.

The Blue Devils will play No. 6 Virginia on Sunday. Duke's 69-65 win in January stood as the Cavaliers' lone conference loss until Maryland beat them last week.

MOUNTAIN WEST

NO. 20 NEW MEXICO 64,

NO. 8 SAN DIEGO STATE 58

LAS VEGAS -- Cameron Bairstow scored 17 points to lead No. 20 New Mexico to a 64-58 victory over No. 8 San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference championship game Saturday, giving the Lobos the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

Trailing by one with a little more than one minute left in the game, Bairstow scored five of the Lobos' last eight points to help the Lobos win their third consecutive tournament title.

New Mexico (27-6) had its five-point halftime lead disappear when the Aztecs opened the second half on an 8-0 run, to take a 30-27 lead.

A-10

NO. 23 VCU 74,

GEORGE WASHINGTON 55

NEW YORK -- Treveon Graham scored 22 points and No. 23 VCU pressed and pressured its way into another conference tournament championship game, beating George Washington 74-55 in the Atlantic 10 semifinals.

The second-seeded Rams (26-7) will play for the A-10 title for the second year in a row, facing fourth-seeded St. Joseph's on Sunday. Coach Shaka Smart has led the Rams to a conference tournament final in four of his five seasons, first in the Colonial Athletic Association and the past two in the A-10.

Briante Weber added 16 points for the Rams, who lost last year's final to Saint Louis, and Mo Alie-Cox provided muscle and energy off the bench with eight points, seven rebounds and a block.

Isaiah Armwood led third-seeded George Washington (24-8) with 15 points.

VCU will likely have to move on without A-10 sixth man of the year Melvin Johnson, who injured his knee early in the first half.

ST. JOSEPH'S 67,

ST. BONAVENTURE 48

NEW YORK -- Halil Kanacevic had 26 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two steals -- and some speeches in the huddle.

The versatile forward from nearby Staten Island led Saint Joseph's to its first Atlantic 10 tournament final since 2008 with a 67-48 win over St. Bonaventure on Saturday.

The fourth-seeded Hawks trailed by nine points early, but Kanacevic kept assuring his teammates during timeouts that everything would be OK.

The senior was certainly right. Saint Joseph's (23-9) pulled away early in the second half as the Bonnies went more than 8 1/2 minutes without a field goal.

AMERICAN EAST

ALBANY 69, STONY BROOK 60

STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- DJ Evans scored 16 points as Albany defeated Stony Brook 69-60 in the America East championship on Saturday, giving the school their second consecutive NCAA tournament berth.

Peter Hooley added 15 for the Great Danes, including a 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining to put his team up 61-56.

SUN BELT

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 73,

WESTERN KENTUCKY 72

NEW ORLEANS -- Elfrid Payton scored 23 points, including the go-ahead layup with 1:16 left, as third-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette beat No. 2 seed Western Kentucky 73-72 Saturday in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

Payton had a chance to put Louisiana up by three with 11 seconds left, but his runner was short. Western Kentucky's T.J. Price grabbed the rebound and went coast-to-coast but missed the game-winning layup at the buzzer.

Payton was 11 of 15 from the field, grabbed seven rebounds, had nine assists and four steals for Louisiana (22-11). Bryant Mbamalu also had 23 points.

SWAC

TEXAS SOUTHERN 78,

PRAIRIE VIEW A&M 73

HOUSTON -- Aaric Murray had 27 points and 10 rebounds to lead Texas Southern to a 78-73 win in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

The win clinches the Tigers' fifth NCAA tournament bid in school history and first since 2003.

MEAC

N.C. CENTRAL 71, MORGAN STATE 62

NORFOLK, Va. -- Jeremy Ingram scored 29 points and N.C. Central used an 8-1 run to get some separation and held on to beat Morgan State 71-62 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship.

Karamo Jawara added 10 points for the Eagles (28-5), who won their 20th consecutive game and claimed the league's automatic NCAA tournament berth in only their third season at the Division I level.

Ian Chiles scored 26 to lead Morgan State (15-16), appearing in the championship for the sixth time in eight seasons under coach Todd Bozeman and seeking its fourth championship.

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