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Top 25 basketball roundup: South Carolina women earn 38th straight victory

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South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston holds up the SEC championship trophy after the Gamecocks beat Tennessee 74-58 on Sunday in Greenville, South Carolina. Mic Smith/Associated Press

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Zia Cooke scored 24 points and Aliyah Boston added 18 as No. 1 South Carolina pulled away in the final two quarters to beat Tennessee 74-58 for the SEC championship on Sunday.

The Gamecocks (32-0) won their seventh league tournament in the past nine seasons and head to the NCAA Tournament as clear-cut favorites for a second straight national crown.

When it was over, South Carolina players came out to hug each other as the large group of fans — the arena is about 90 minutes away from the Gamecocks’ campus – cheered the latest success.

Not that it came easily. Third-seeded Tennessee (23-11), sky high after taking down No. 4 LSU on Saturday night in the semifinals, trailed 39-36 after Rickea Jackson’s 3-pointer early in the second quarter.

The Gamecocks, the SEC regular-season champs, answered with a 16-4 burst powered by Boston and Cooke to open this one up and win their 38th straight dating back to last season’s NCAA Tournament run.

(7) IOWA 105, (14) OHIO STATE 72: Caitlin Clark had 30 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds in her 10th career triple-double for the Hawkeyes (26-6), who built a 37-point halftime lead and beat the Buckeyes (25-7) in Minneapolis to win the Big Ten Tournament for the second straight year.

Monika Czinano scored 26 points on 11-for-12 shooting for the No. 7 Hawkeyes, who entered the conversation about a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with this championship run.

(8) VIRGINIA TECH 75, LOUISVILLE 67: Georgia Amoore scored 25 points to help the Hokies (27-4) beat the Cardinals (23-11) in Greensboro, North Carolina to win itstheirfirst Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title.

Two-time league player of the year Elizabeth Kitley added 20 points for the Hokies, who continued their late-season tear with an 11th straight win. Virginia Tech turned its first trip to the ACC title game into a strong finishing act, pushing to a double-digit lead before halftime and keeping the Cardinals at arm’s distance the rest of the way to cap a tournament where the Hokies rarely trailed in three games.

(9) UCONN 81, MARQUETTE 52: Aaliyah Edwards and Dorka Juhasz each put up double-doubles for the second consecutive game, Nika Muhl added another and the Huskies (28-4) advanced to their 19th straight conference tournament final with a win over the Golden Eagles (21-1) in Uncasville, Connecticut in the Big East Tournament.

Edwards scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Juhasz scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Muhl did it a bit differently, with 11 points and 10 assists.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

(1) HOUSTON 67, MEMPHIS 65: Jamal Shead scored 16 points, including the winning basket as time ran out, and the Cougars (28-2, 17-1 AAC) escaped a second-half rally by the Tigers (23-8, 13-5) to win in Memphis, Tennessee in the regular-season finale.

Shead’s basket from inside the foul lane – about 18 feet from the key – came as the horn sounded. Nine seconds earlier, Memphis’ Kendrick Davis drove to the basket and tied the game at 65. Houston chose not to call time out, and Shead gave the Cougars the win.

(5) PURDUE 76, ILLINOIS 71: Brandon Newman scored 19 points and Zach Edey added 17 as the Boilermakers (26-5, 15-5 Big Ten) held on to beat the Illini (20-11, 11-9) in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Braden Smith added 15 points for the Boilermakers. It is the first time a team has won the league title by three or more games since 2014.

PENN STATE 65, (21) MARYLAND 64: Camren Wynter made a layup with less than a second remaining to lift the Nittany Lions (19-12, 10-10 Big Ten) over the Terrapins (20-11, 11-9) in State College, Pennsylvania.

Jalen Pickett scored 16 points, Andrew Funk had 14 and Myles Dread had 11 for the Nittany Lions, who trailed by as many as 16 late in the first half.

TEXAS TECH: The school suspended Coach Mark Adams on Sunday over “an inappropriate, unacceptable, and racially insensitive comment” he made to a player.

Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt said he was made aware of the incident Friday and issued a written reprimand before deciding to suspend Adams to investigate further.

The incident occurred in a meeting between Adams and a player, who wasn’t identified, the school said in a news release.

“Adams was encouraging the student-athlete to be more receptive to coaching and referenced Bible verses about workers, teachers, parents, and slaves serving their masters,” the statement said. “Adams immediately addressed this with the team and apologized.”


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