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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NATIONAL ROUNDUP : This Time, Minutemen Get It Done Early

March 11, 1994|From Associated Press

Massachusetts didn't wait until the final seconds to beat Temple this time.

The ninth-ranked Minutemen opened the Atlantic 10 Conference championship game at Amherst, Mass., with a 24-3 run and then held off a couple of second-half bursts by No. 12 Temple on the way to a 70-59 victory Thursday night and their third consecutive conference tournament title.

The first two times the teams met this season, Massachusetts (27-6) came away with one-point victories, both on baskets by Mike Williams. One was a 10-foot jump shot with three seconds left at Massachusetts. The other was a 25-foot banker with eight seconds to play at Temple.

This time, Williams got the Minutemen going with a three-point basket eight seconds into the game. The junior guard also had an answer when the Owls opened the second half with an 11-0 run to get to within three, making consecutive three-point shots to make it 41-32 with 15:39 left.

After Temple (22-7) closed to within 41-36, it was Williams' three-point play that capped a 5-0 run to make the score 46-36.

"We did what we had to do to win," Massachusetts Coach John Calipari said. "Champions step up in a game like this. This is what you live for."

Said Williams, who finished with 21 points: "Somebody had to step up. I was saying before the game I didn't want any last-second shots. I had enough of those."

The Minutemen earned the Atlantic 10's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and are expected to be seeded second or third when the pairings are announced Sunday. Temple will receive an at-large bid and should be seeded fourth or fifth.

"We'll have to wait and see what happens in the games this weekend," Calipari said. "I don't know, though, how many teams are better than we were tonight."

No. 21 St. Louis 80, Dayton 46--The Billikens ended Jim O'Brien's coaching career with one of his worst defeats.

In a first-round game in the Great Midwest Conference tournament at Cincinnati, St. Louis (23-4) led at halftime, 49-16. The Flyers had more turnovers (18) than points or shots attempted (17) at the intermission.

Dayton fired O'Brien on March 2, but he stayed on for the rest of the season. The Flyers (6-21) lost their last three games, leaving O'Brien's record at 61-87.

The 34-point loss was the Flyers' second-worst this season. They lost to Cincinnati by 39.

Memphis State 91, No. 22 Alabama Birmingham 86--The Tigers played perhaps their best game in their first losing season in 13 years as they upset the Blazers in the first round of the Great Midwest tournament.

Five players scored in double figures for Memphis State (12-15). The Tigers outrebounded the Blazers, 39-29, and kept Alabama Birmingham (22-7) from getting into an offensive flow.

No. 25 Texas 96, Texas Christian 75--The Longhorns used their pressure defense to rout the Horned Frogs in the first round of the Southwest Conference tournament at Dallas.

Texas (23-7), the regular-season conference champion, had 22 steals, including seven by Terrence Rencher. The quicker Longhorns, who also had a much deeper bench, forced the Horned Frogs (7-20) into numerous mistakes.

OTHER GAMES Carl Ray Harris scored 29 points and made five of Fresno State's Western Athletic Conference tournament-record 13 three-point baskets as the Bulldogs eliminated Texas El Paso, 88-66, in the quarterfinals at Salt Lake City. Harris made five of seven three-point shots. In all, the Bulldogs (19-9) were 13 of 21. Fresno State bettered the record of 11 set by Wyoming in 1989 and matched by New Mexico last season. . . . Russell Larson scored 28 points and Randy Reid 26 as Brigham Young coasted to a 96-65 victory over Utah in another WAC tournament game. Larson made 12 of 14 shots as the third-seeded Cougars (20-8) eliminated Utah (14-14). Reid made seven of 10 shots. . . . San Diego State made only 16 of 60 shots and lost to regular-season WAC champion New Mexico, 61-45.

St. John's (12-16) ended a six-game losing streak with an 80-72 victory over Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden in the first round of the Big East tournament. The defeat was the ninth in a row for the Panthers, who finished the season 13-14 under Paul Evans. He was fired last week, but stayed on to finish the season.

Wesley Person scored 28 points to help Auburn upset Vanderbilt, 81-56, in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament at Memphis. Auburn (11-16), seeded sixth in the SEC West, eliminated Vanderbilt (16-11), which was seeded third in the East. The Tigers outrebounded the Commodores, 41-30. . . . In another SEC game, Georgia (14-15) advanced to today's quarterfinals against top-ranked Arkansas by defeating Louisiana State, 83-70. The Tigers (11-16) had their first losing season in 17 years. LSU Coach Dale Brown was hit with two technical fouls in 14 seconds and was ejected with 7:29 to play in the first half.

Cincinnati made it six in a row over DePaul by beating the Blue Demons, 95-86, in a first-round Great Midwest Conference tournament game. There were 64 fouls, including technicals on both coaches. Cincinnati (20-9) made 11 of its last 12 free throws to clinch the victory.

Invitation Only

A look at the teams that have secured automatic berths in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The field of 64 teams will be announced Sunday.

Team: Conference

Central Florida: Trans America AC

Drexel: North Atlantic

James Madison: Colonial

Liberty: Big South

Loyola Maryland: Metro Atlantic

Massachusetts: Atlantic 10

Pennsylvania: Ivy

Pepperdine: West Coast

Rider: Northeast

Southern Illinois: Missouri Valley

Southwest Texas St.: Southland

Southwest Louisiana: Sun Belt

Tennessee Chattanooga: Southern

Tennessee St.: Ohio Valley

Wisconsin Green Bay: Mid-Continent

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