INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu both scored 16 points, both grabbed nine rebounds and both made key plays in overtime to give No. 3 Illinois a 91-88 victory over No. 9 Ohio State on Sunday for its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2005.
Cockburn made the go-ahead free throw with 1:39 to play, Dosunmu made a 15-footer with 50 seconds to go and the Illini (23-6) sealed it at the free-throw line. Illinois has won seven straight overall, six in a row over top-10 foes and 14 of its last 15 overall to claim the conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
At times, Illinois appeared to be in complete control, but Ohio State (21-9) refused to give in to the weariness of playing four games in four days. Instead, the Buckeyes constantly fought back.
Duane Washington Jr. had a career-high 32 points and Justice Sueing added 22 for the Buckeyes.
NO. 6 ALABAMA 80, LSU 79
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Herbert Jones drove for a go-ahead layup with 19.5 seconds remaining and Alabama won the Southeastern Conference Tournament for the first time since 1991, holding off a late flurry by LSU.
Coach Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide added to their regular-season title with a victory that should help Alabama at least match its highest seed in the NCAA Tournament — it was No. 2 in both 1987 and 2002.
Alabama, the reigning national champion in football, won its seventh tournament title overall, second in the SEC only to Kentucky’s 31. The Crimson Tide (24-6) hadn’t even reached this game since 2002.
Jones, both the SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Jaden Shackelford led Alabama with 21 points.
LSU (18-9) hadn’t won this tournament since 1980, and this was the Tigers’ first time in the final since 1993. Trendon Watford finished with a career-high 30 points for LSU.
NO. 7 HOUSTON 91, CINCINNATI 54
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Quentin Grimes scored 21 points with five 3-pointers, Marcus Sasser had 16 points and Houston beat Cincinnati in the third consecutive American Athletic Conference Tournament championship game between the two teams.
The Cougars (24-3) were a lock for their 22nd NCAA Tournament berth even before leading the entire game to win their first conference tournament title since 2010, when they were still in Conference USA.
DeJon Jarreau, two days after a triple-double in the quarterfinal round, hit a 3-pointer for the first basket of the game to put to Cougars ahead to stay. He finished with 10 points.
Jeremiah Davenport had 11 points, all in the first half, and Mamoudou Diarra 10 for Cincinnati (12-11), which will have its NCAA Tournament steak end at nine appearances in a row.
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