Charlotte, N.C. — Zion Williamson proved he’s back and healthy with a dominating three-game show at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. And that has fifth-ranked Duke celebrating yet another championship in its already-record haul.
Williamson had 21 points to help the Blue Devils beat No. 12 Florida State 73-63 on Saturday night in the championship game, giving Duke its 21st tournament title while sending the Blue Devils charging into the NCAA Tournament.
Williamson was named the tournament’s most valuable player, becoming only the sixth freshman to win the award and the first in a dozen years.
RJ Barrett added 17 points and nine rebounds and the Blue Devils (29-5) took control after halftime, earning Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski his record 15th ACC Tournament championship.
And point guard Tre Jones had his own strong outing with 18 points and six assists, all part of Duke’s closing act that showed the Blue Devils – with Williamson healthy after missing nearly six full games with a knee sprain – are ready for what’s ahead.
It started with a quarterfinal win against Syracuse, with Williamson going for 29 points on 13-for-13 shooting in his first game back. Then came an even bigger performance in the semifinals: 31 points, 11 rebounds and the final-minute tip-in that ultimately helped Duke hold off third-ranked North Carolina in a rivalry classic.
He didn’t need to do as much this time, with Duke putting four players in double figures and shooting 58 percent after the break to a 36-all score into a 14-point lead by midway through the half.
Mfiondu Kabengele scored 14 points for the Seminoles (27-7). They upset No. 2 Virginia in Friday’s semifinals but couldn’t recover after falling behind big, getting no closer than five again.
Iowa State 78, No. 17 Kansas 66: 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 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, whose last chance to win some hardware will be the NCAA Tournament. Their run of 14 consecutive regular-season crowns ended last weekend, and they failed to defend their Big 12 Tournament title.
Meanwhile, the Cyclones made a tremendous about-face during their stay in Kansas City. They arrived having lost five of their last six regular-season games, and looked rudderless in losses to Texas and lowly West Virginia. But beginning with a blowout of Baylor and continuing with a quarterfinal win over regular-season champ Kansas State, the Cyclones found their stride.
No. 8 Tennessee 82, No. 4 Kentucky 78: Lamonte’ Turner hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 30 seconds left and Tennessee rallied to beat Kentucky in a Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinal thriller.
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 will face No. 22 Auburn (25-9) on Sunday.
Tennessee had an 11-2 run to take a 75-74 lead on a Grant Williams 3-pointer from in front of the Vols’ bench with 1:31 left. Kentucky (27-6) went back ahead with 1:06 left on PJ Washington’s putback.
Admiral Schofield missed a 3-pointer on Tennessee’s next possession, but Williams got the rebound and called a timeout with 38.5 seconds left. The Vols worked the ball to Turner for the 3-pointer from behind the top of the key.
Washington missed a shot from right around the basket and then missed a putback attempt in the last 15 seconds left. Tennessee’s Jordan Bone got the rebound, was fouled and made two free throws to put Tennessee ahead 80-76 with 10.9 seconds left. Ashton Hagans made a driving layup to cut the lead to 80-78 with four seconds remaining, but Bone sank two more free throws with 2.4 seconds left.
Schofield scored 21 points, Williams had 20 and Bone added 18 for Tennessee. Washington scored 16 points for Kentucky.
No. 11 Houston 61, Memphis 58: Corey Davis Jr. scored 17 points and Houston weathered a late Memphis rally in the American Athletic Conference semifinals.
Top-seeded Houston will face No. 24 Cincinnati in the title game.
Jeremiah Martin led Memphis (21-13). On Memphis’ final possession, Tyler Harris missed a 3-pointer, then attempted a final one that was blocked by Fabian White as time expired.
No. 18 Buffalo 87, Bowling Green 73: Jeremy Harris scored 31 points, C.J. Massinburg added 17 and Buffalo won its fourth Mid-American Conference title in five years.
Harris went 13 of 20 and was named the tournament’s MVP. Jayvon Graves also added 17 points for the Bulls (31-3), who had to play the final four minutes without center Nick Perkins after he fouled out when he was called for a technical.
Justin Turner and Daeqwon Plowden led Bowling Green (22-12) with 16 points apiece.
No. 22 Auburn 65, Florida 62: Jared Harper hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left and Auburn held off Florida to reach the Southeastern Conference championship game for the first time since 2000.
Harper finished with 20 points, and Bryce Brown scored all 11 of his points in the second half for the Tigers (25-9). Kevarrius Hayes and Jalen Hudson each had 16 points for Florida.
No. 24 Cincinnati 66, Wichita State 63: Nysier Brooks scored 13 points and Cane Broome hit the go-ahead layup with 23.5 seconds left to lift Cincinnati past Wichita State in the American Athletic Conference semifinals.
Tre Scott added 12 points and eight rebounds for Cincinnati (27-6). Jarron Cumberland, the conference player of the year was limited to 11 points on 3-of-16 shooting. Markis McDuffie had 18 for the Shockers (19-14).
No. 25 Villanova 74, Seton Hall 72: Villanova became the first team to win three consecutive Big East Tournaments, beating Seton Hall 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 pass bounced off the backboard and was slapped away by the Wildcats (25-9).
Paschall had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Booth scored 16 points and was selected most outstanding player of the tournament. Bey had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Powell scored 25 points for the Pirates (20-13).